Free agency action has started early in curling due to the coronavirus outbreak, in a March 16, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canadian curling’s free agency underway early with teams making moves

A shortened curling season has meant an earlier start to what’s become free agency in the sport.

With April’s two Grand Slam tournaments cancelled because of COVID-19, Canada’s top teams have already begun jettisoning and adding players to load up for next season.

The Chelsea Carey team that won a Canadian women’s title in 2019 has completely disbanded with Monday’s announcement that second Dana Ferguson and lead Rachel Brown were departing.

Carey’s third Sarah Wilkes announced late last week she would also leave the team.

The Calgary rink went 5-6 at this year’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw, Sask., and did not reach the playoffs.

“While I don’t know what next season holds yet, I do know my competitive fire burns as hot and bright as it ever has,” Carey said on her team’s Facebook page.

Kevin Koe announced Monday his split with second Colton Flasch.

Flasch won a Canadian title and world championship silver medal with Koe in 2019.

Koe was eliminated from this year’s national championship in Kingston, Ont., in a tiebreaker game.

Flasch, a 27-year-old from Biggar, Sask., joined Koe’s Calgary-based foursome in 2018.

He previously played second for Saskatchewan’s Steve Laycock.

“Colton Flasch has made great memories with us and ones we won’t forget, including a Brier win and world silver medal,” the Koe team said in a statement on its social media accounts.

“He wore the Alberta colours and Maple Leaf with pride.

“Team Koe will be making a change at the second position going forward for next season.”

Saskatchewan skip Robyn Silvernagle said Monday on Twitter that she and second Jessie Hunkin will curl with Krista Streifel and Dayna Demers next season.

Silvernagle’s vice Stephanie Lawton is taking a break from competitive curling. Silvernagle also parted company with lead Kara Thevenot.

World and Canadian champion Rachel Homan announced last week her team has cut ties with all-star lead Lisa Weagle.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 16, 2020.

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