Curling's free agent frenzy wasn't kind to Chelsea Carey. All three members of her rink moved on last March, leaving the two-time national champion without a team entering the most critical season of the quadrennial. Carey makes her way down ice during draw 17 against team Ontario at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw, Sask., Thursday, February 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Two-time Scotties champ Carey may have to focus on mixed doubles to get to Games

Two-time Scotties champ Carey may have to focus on mixed doubles to get to Games

Curling’s free-agent frenzy wasn’t kind to Chelsea Carey.

All three members of her rink moved on last March, leaving the two-time Scotties champion without a team entering the most critical season of the quadrennial.

Carey remains the biggest name available on the market, but her hopes of competing in the Olympic Trials appear slim. Teams have essentially locked in their lineups and barring an unexpected development, Carey will likely find herself on the outside looking in despite being one of the best skips in the country.

“It’s going to be really, really tough for her, to be honest,” said curling commentator Mike Harris, who won Olympic silver in 1998. “So I think the teams that are established have a chance (at qualifying) and then I think you might have to just kind of wait for the next cycle.

“It’s really tough for anyone that’s a free agent right now.”

Curlers are essentially independent contractors, and they’re not afraid to make major lineup changes if they feel it’ll improve their chances of representing Canada at the Winter Games.

The days following the national championships in late winter usually see the most player movement and this year was no exception.

One of the more high-profile moves saw vice-skip Sarah Wilkes leave Carey to join Team Rachel Homan. Carey’s front end of Dana Ferguson and Rachel Brown then moved to Team Kelsey Rocque.

The changes left Carey in an unenviable position where her options were limited to bringing three new players in – a stiff challenge this late in the quadrennial – or hope a vacancy pops up elsewhere.

Making things more challenging is the uncertain nature of the 2020-21 season.

Several events have been cancelled or postponed and the ranking point system is on hold for at least six more weeks. The qualifying process for remaining berths in the Olympic Trials, set to begin Nov. 27, 2021, is under review by Curling Canada.

“It’s hard to do much because we don’t know what the rules are,” Carey said from Calgary. “We don’t know how qualification is going to work for the Trials anymore. If there’s going to be a pre-Trials event, if there isn’t, what the doubles qualification looks like, because we don’t know if we’re going to have the Scotties and (Grand) Slams and things to be able to do that. So it’s hard to plan much.”

Carey declined to discuss specifics on her potential plans for four-player competition.

Her first Scotties title came in 2016 with third Amy Nixon, second Jocelyn Peterman and lead Laine Peters. She won again in 2019 with the team that disbanded last March.

Carey is planning to play some mixed doubles events with Colin Hodgson over the coming weeks. The two-player discipline may be her best bet to get to the Beijing Games.

“My intention is to try to get to the Olympics for doubles regardless,” she said. “And so if that means playing two or three (doubles) events or playing six or seven events, depending on what the rest of my curling (schedule) looks like at that point, I will definitely be making a run at that, hopefully as long as Colin is in for that too.

“It seems to work pretty well for us when we’ve played doubles together.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 14, 2020.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press

curling

Just Posted

Alberta has made a more detailed framework for those looking to acquire an exemption to the mandatory indoor mask bylaw. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Alberta changes requirements for mask exemptions

Masks wearing has been recommended for almost a year and provincially mandated… Continue reading

Alberta’a chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday that there are more than 328,000 vaccine appointments booked over the next seven days. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta surpasses 2 million doses administered of COVID-19 vaccine

Red Deer down to 835 active cases of COVID-19

RCMP file photo (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)
RCMP investigating shooting near Maskwacis

Maskwacis and Wetaskiwin RCMP are seeking public assistance after a shooting has… Continue reading

Rode
Smith among impressive group of RDC soccer Queens recruits

There have been a number of cases where younger girls have developed… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools is projecting a $4-million budget deficit for 2021-22 school year. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools prepares $124-million budget

$1 million COVID recovery plan to assist students

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

Vancouver Canucks' Nils Hoglander, right, is checked by Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom during third-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, May 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, right, drives to the basket against Toronto Raptors center Khem Birch, left, and guard Jalen Harris during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

The Saddledome, home of the Calgary Flames, is shown in Calgary, Thursday, March 12, 2020. The final three games of Canada's Secret Cup women's hockey tournament will be played in Calgary's NHL arena.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Secret Cup women’s tournament final games to be held in Calgary’s Saddledome

Secret Cup women’s tournament final games to be held in Calgary’s Saddledome

FILE - In this Thursday, July 18, 2019 file photo, Ron Francis talks to reporters in Seattle after he was introduced as the first general manager for Seattle's yet-to-be-named NHL hockey expansion team. Four years since George McPhee was a “puppet master” of the NHL leading up to the Vegas expansion draft, general managers approached this trade deadline with Seattle’s upcoming addition to the league in mind. While Kraken GM Ron Francis prepares – and maybe made a handshake deal or two already like McPhee did – Seattle was on his colleagues’ minds.(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Kraken still plan to hire coach before expansion draft

Kraken still plan to hire coach before expansion draft

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney attends a news conference in Calgary on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Simmering internal discontent in his United Conservative caucus has boiled over into an open challenge to his leadership. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Two Alberta UCP members kicked out of caucus after challenging Kenney’s leadership

Two Alberta UCP members kicked out of caucus after challenging Kenney’s leadership

Toronto Blue Jays' Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (13) celebrates in the outfield at the end of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Thursday, May 13, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Bichette, Blue Jays rally again to beat Braves 8-4

Bichette, Blue Jays rally again to beat Braves 8-4

FILE - Jordan Spieth waits his turn to putt during the third round of the Valero Texas Open golf tournament in San Antonio, in this Saturday, April 3, 2021, file photo. Spieth will try to complete the career Grand Slam next week at the PGA Championship. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas, File)
Momentum for McIlroy, few others going into PGA Championship

Momentum for McIlroy, few others going into PGA Championship

Most Read