Curling teams for Olympic trials announced

Defending Brier champion Kevin Martin leads a trio of Edmonton-based men’s teams that have earned a direct berth into the Canadian Olympic curling trials. The Canadian Curling Association named four men’s and four women’s teams Wednesday that have earned automatic spots in the Olympic trials, which will take place Dec. 6-13 in Edmonton.

OTTAWA — Defending Brier champion Kevin Martin leads a trio of Edmonton-based men’s teams that have earned a direct berth into the Canadian Olympic curling trials.

The Canadian Curling Association named four men’s and four women’s teams Wednesday that have earned automatic spots in the Olympic trials, which will take place Dec. 6-13 in Edmonton.

Martin, who placed second at the world championship in Moncton, N.B., earlier this month, is joined by Randy Ferbey and Kevin Koe. Glenn Howard of Coldwater, Ont., the 2007 world champion, rounded out the top four.

Defending Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion Jennifer Jones earned the top seed in the women’s trials. Her Winnipeg foursome will be joined by Shannon Kleibrink and Cheryl Bernard of Calgary and Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon.

The teams qualified by winning three specific events over a three-season period (2006-2009) or by their cumulative points total on the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) during that time.

A pre-trials event, held Nov. 10-14 in Prince George, B.C., will feature 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams vying for the four remaining spots in the trials.

The men’s field includes reigning Olympic gold medallist Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., former world champions Jeff Stoughton and Kerry Burtnyk of Winnipeg, two-time world champion Wayne Middaugh of Toronto, 2006 Brier winner Jean-Michel Menard of St-Romuald, Que., and 2000 world champion Greg McAulay of Richmond, B.C.

Mike McEwen of Winnipeg, Bob Ursel of Kelowna, B.C., Joel Jordison of Moose Jaw, Sask., Ted Appelman of Edmonton, Pat Simmons of Davidson, Sask., and Jason Gunnlaugson of Winnipeg round out the men’s qualifiers.

On the women’s side, 2007 world champion Kelly Scott of Kelowna, B.C., former Canadian junior champion Marie-France Larouche of St-Romuald, Que., 1998 Canadian champion Cathy King of Edmonton and 2008 Players’ Championship winner Amber Holland of Kronau, Sask., lead the way.

Sherry Anderson of Saskatoon, Rachel Homan of Ottawa, Sherry Middaugh of Coldwater, Ont., Michelle Englot of Regina, Heather Rankin and Crystal Webster of Calgary, Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay, Ont., and Eve Belisle of Montreal complete the women’s pre-trial field.

The winning teams from the trials in Edmonton will represent Canada at the Vancouver Olympics.

The curling competition runs from Feb. 16-27 at the Vancouver Olympic Centre.

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