Saskatchewan has become the latest province in a growing list that has cancelled its curling provincials to determine what team will head to the Scotties and Brier in the Calgary curling bubble.
CBC Sports has learned health officials in the province rejected CurlSask’s latest bubble proposal, forcing the provincial governing body to hand pick teams, like many other jurisdictions across the country.
That means last year’s provincial champion and third-place finisher at the Brier, Matt Dunstone, will represent Saskatchewan.
“Obviously very excited to be Team Saskatchewan again especially after last year’s run, having that be the last real curling experience we’ve had. It has given me a lot of time to think about that very event and I have been hungry to improve on that result ever since,” Dunstone told CBC Sports.
Longtime curler Saskatchewan Sherry Anderson is heading to the Scotties for the prairie province. It’ll be her 10th Scotties appearance. She is also the two-time defending women’s world senior curling champion.
Anderson nearly captured an Olympic berth in 2001, losing to Kelley Law in the qualifying championship. A year later, she lost in the championship game at the Scotties to Colleen Jones.
Her last Scotties appearance was 2018.
Unlike many other jurisdictions that picked last year’s provincial champions to go to the Calgary bubble, CurlSask used last year’s results and this year’s results to come up with their selections.
“The objective assessment of teams is based on the performance of teams in a two-season window. This system objectively and fairly assessed the value of teams including those with roster changes,” CurlSask wrote in a release.
Complicated process in Saskatchewan
The process became a little more complicated in Saskatchewan due to there being off-season changes on many of the teams. For example, Robyn Silvernagle’s rink had two players leave. Colton Flasch formed a new men’s team. Dunstone brought on a new player, Kirk Muyres, during the off-season.
Officials then felt they couldn’t simply rely on last year’s provincials to select their representatives. They felt this was the fairest way in determining who would go.
“We appreciate the work CurlSask put into having to make these very difficult decisions. It’s not a fun scenario for any member association to be a part of and hopefully it’s the first and last time they ever have to make a decision like this,” Dustone said.
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Saskatchewan joins B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Northern Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia to cancel their playdowns.
There are six major curling events planned for the Calgary curling bubble starting with the Scotties on Feb. 20. That will then lead into the men’s national championship beginning of March. 5.
Following these two events, the mixed doubles championship will take place all leading to the men’s world curling championship, set to begin in early April.
The final two events held inside the bubble include two Grand Slam of Curling bonspiels.