Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Curling Trials to Determine Canada's Representatives at Pyeongchang Games

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Curling Trials to Determine Canada's Representatives at Pyeongchang Games

Article excerpt

Reigning Olympic champs in field at Trials

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OTTAWA - Brad Gushue has seen some curling teams fold under pressure at Olympic qualification events and watched others rise to the occasion.

The skip from St. John's, N.L., was a surprise winner at the 2005 Trials and went on to win gold at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy. He also watched the action from the bench as an alternate four years ago.

One thing he has learned is teams that change their style under the heightened pressure of the Trials tend to struggle, while those who stay the course are often rewarded.

"We approached it just like any other event," Gushue said of his 2005 victory. "As the week started going on, it looked more and more like we were going to be there at the end."

Gushue was an underdog that year in Halifax. Now the reigning national and world champion is a favourite entering the 2017 Trials at Canadian Tire Centre.

Gushue, who also won the first two Grand Slam events of this season, will look to carry the momentum from his tremendous calendar year into the Dec. 2-10 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings.

"Do what you normally do," he said of his team's plan. "Those routines will generally pay off. There's no guarantee but it will certainly give you the best chance."

There will be 18 teams on the ice in the nation's capital -- nine in the men's draw and nine in the women's draw -- with the winning rinks to represent Canada at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Sochi Games champion Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and 2016 world champion Kevin Koe of Calgary are some of the other men's headliners. Reigning world champion Rachel Homan of Ottawa is a favourite in the women's field along with 2014 Olympic champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg.

The qualification process for the Trials began in the 2014-15 season and was completed a few weeks ago at a Pre-Trials competition in Summerside, P. …

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