Defending champions Alina Paetz of Zurich, Switzerland, and Josh Heidt of Kerrobert, Sask., are among the contenders in the 2015 Red Deer Curling Classic scheduled for Friday to Monday at the Pidherney Centre.
Other rinks of note in the women’s division are skipped by Shannon Kleibrink and 2012 Classic champ Chelsea Carey, both of Calgary, and Kelsey Rocque of Edmonton. Kleibrink won a bronze medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy and is a former Alberta champion, Carey — formerly of Winnipeg and Edmonton — has a Manitoba title on her resume and Rocque currently occupies sixth place on the World Curling Tour money list with earnings of $14,400.
Joining Paetz as members of the international field are Satsuki Fujisawa of Japan and Jie Mei of China.
Red Deer’s Jocelyn Peterman, a former Canadian junior champ, is throwing second stones for Carey, and Whitney Eckstrand, also of Red Deer, is playing second for the Calgary foursome skipped by Nadine Chyz.
Other former Red Deer curlers set to compete in the Classic are Amy Janko, third for Teryn Hamilton of Calgary, and Brittany Tran, who tosses third rocks for Geri-Lynn Ramsay. Rebecca Konschuh of Sundre is Ramsay’s second.
Jeff Erickson of Red Deer and his supporting cast of Dustin Eckstrand, Shaun Planaden and Scott Cruickshank are the locals entered on the men’s side, which will also feature former Red Deer curler Shaun Meachem, whose Saskatoon-based rink sits 13th on the WCT money list with winnings of $12,500.
Notable men’s rinks are skipped by Kevin Park of Edmonton, Charley Thomas of Calgary, Dean Joanisse of New Westminster, B.C., Jeff Richard of Maple Ridge, B.C., Bruce Korte of Saskatoon and Jamie Koe of Yellowknife, N.W.T.
Giving the men’s division an international flavour are Korean rinks headed by MinWoo Kim, Soo-Hyuk and Se Hyeon Seong, and Brady Clark of Seattle.
The World Curling Tour event features a total purse of $35,000 in each of the women’s and men’s divisions.
The first draw is set for 9:30 a.m. Friday and the triple-knockout Classic will conclude with the championship finals slated for 3:30 p.m. Monday.