Canada’s top curlers sweep into Oakville for PointsBet Invitational


Published September 26, 2023 at 11:31 am

PointsBet curling Sixteen Mile Gushue Jones Homan
Team Jennifer Jones is the reigning PointsBet Invitational champion and clocks in at third seed overall at this year's event scheduled to get underway Wednesday (Sept. 27) at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex in Oakville. CANADIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE PHOTO

Canada’s top men’s and women’s curling teams are in the house.

The 2023 PointsBet Invitational returns to Oakville Wednesday (Sept. 27) for a second year as the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex plays host to 32 of the nation’s best teams competing in a single-knockout tournament.

The top-10 ranked men’s and women’s teams on the 2022-23 Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) standings are among 16 men and 16 women’s teams competing.

Also taking the ice at the event are the reigning men’s and women’s champions from numerous 2022-23 national events:

  • 2023 New Holland Canadian U-21 champions: Team Johnson Tao of Alberta (men’s) and Team Myla Plett of Alberta (women’s).
  • 2023 U SPORTS champions: Team Sam Mooibroek of Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo (men’s) and Team Serena Gray-Withers of University of Alberta in Edmonton (women’s).
  • 2023 Canadian Colleges Athletic Association champions: Team Jacob Dobson of Humber College in Toronto (men’s) and Team Josie Zimmerman of University of Alberta – Augustana Campus in Camrose (women’s).
  • 2022 Everest Canadian Curling Club Champions: Team Greg Balsdon of Ontario (men’s) and Team Shaelyn Park of New Brunswick (women’s).
  • 2023 Ontario Scotties and Tankard champions: Team Glenn Howard (men’s) and Team Hollie Duncan* (women’s).

All teams are seeded based on 2022-23 CTRS points earned, except for the U-25 NextGen teams, which were auto-seeded 13th overall.

The top five seedings are unchanged from last year on the men’s side of the bracket.

Reigning two-time Montana’s Brier champion Team Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., is the No. 1 seed in the men’s competition and aims to continue his dominancy this upcoming season. Last year, the top-ranked team made it to the Final 4 at the PointsBet Invitational.

Calgary’s Team Brendan Bottcher is seeded second after bowing out in the Final 4 in its first season. Also unchanged are third-ranked Team Matt Dunstone of Winnipeg and fourth-ranked Team Kevin Koe of Calgary.

Last season, fifth-ranked Team Reid Carruthers of Winnipeg worked its way through the field to win the inaugural event, beating Team Dunstone in the final, and the team will attempt to do so again in 2023.

While Team Carruthers might have hit a peak during last season’s event and did not meet its expectations at the 2023 Brier, the team is looking forward to a chance to bounce back this season with new vice-skip Brad Jacobs entering the lineup.

Carruthers has an opportunity to get into the history books of the PointsBet Invitational by becoming the first skip to win the event twice and back-to-back.

On the women’s side, Team Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg and Altona, Man., is the reigning champion and clocks in at third seed overall. With a victory in Oakville, Jones can become the first-ever two-time winning skip of the event in women’s competition.

Team Jones is coming off a successful first season with the new lineup and capped it off with a silver-medal finish at the 2023 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Only two teams rank higher than Team Jones heading into the PointsBet Invitational. Team Rachel Homan of Ottawa is coming off a highly successful year on tour to raise one spot in the seedings for second overall. Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., maintains the top seed after winning its fourth-straight Scotties title and a bronze medal at the world women’s championship last season.

All 32 competing teams will receive $5,000 to cover travel and accommodation costs. Teams will earn more money for each successive win in the single-knockout tournament — $3,000 for a Sweep 16 win, $6,000 for an Elite 8 win, $12,000 for a Final 4 win and $24,000 for the victorious women’s and men’s teams in the final, meaning the two winning teams will each collect a total of $50,000.

Here’s a look at the Sweep 16 schedule. The event kicks off on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 2 p.m. (all times ET).

Women’s Sweep 16

Wednesday, 2 p.m.

  • #1 Team Kerri Einarson (Gimli, Man.) vs. #16 Team Josie Zimmerman (University of Alberta – Augustana Campus; Camrose, Alta.)
  • #4 Team Kaitlyn Lawes (Winnipeg) vs. #13 Team Abby Marks (Edmonton)
  • #5 Team Clancy Grandy (Vancouver) vs. #12 Team Hollie Duncan (Woodstock, Ont.)
  • #8 Team Kayla Skrlik (Calgary) vs. #9 Team Danielle Inglis (Ottawa)

Thursday, 2 p.m.

  • #2 Team Rachel Homan (Ottawa) vs. #15 Team Shaelyn Park (Moncton, N.B.)
  • #3 Team Jennifer Jones (Winnipeg/Altona, Man.) vs. #14 Team Myla Plett (Sherwood Park/Airdrie, Alta.)
  • #6 Team Christina Black (Dartmouth, N.S.) vs. #11 Team Nancy Martin (Martensville, Sask.)
  • #7 Team Isabelle Ladouceur (Whitby, Ont.) vs. #10 Team Serena Gray-Withers (University of Alberta; Edmonton)

Men’s Sweep 16

Wednesday, 7 p.m.

  • #1 Team Brad Gushue (St. John’s, N.L.) vs. #16 Team Greg Balsdon (Richmond Hill, Ont.)
  • #4 Team Kevin Koe (Calgary) vs. #13 Team Rylan Kleiter (Saskatoon)
  • #5 Team Reid Carruthers (Winnipeg) vs. #12 Team Johnson Tao (Edmonton)
  • #8 Team John Epping (Toronto) vs. #9 Team Ryan Wiebe (Winnipeg)

Thursday, 7 p.m.

  • #2 Team Brendan Bottcher (Calgary) vs. #15 Team Jacob Dobson (Humber College; Toronto)
  • #3 Team Matt Dunstone (Winnipeg) vs. #14 Team Sam Mooibroek (Wilfrid Laurier University; Waterloo, Ont.)
  • #6 Team Karsten Sturmay (St. Albert, Alta.) vs. #11 Team Glenn Howard (Penetanguishene, Ont.)
  • #7 Team Mike McEwen (Saskatoon) vs. #10 Team Aaron Sluchinski (Airdrie, Alta.)

The women’s and men’s finals will be held on Sunday, Oct. 1, at Noon and 5 p.m., respectively.

The Celebrity Invitational event returns Friday night, approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the men’s Elite 8 draw. The celebrities will have a draw-to-the-button contest.

PointsBet is once again awarding up to $1 million for any fan who can predict the perfect PointsBet Invitational bracket, along with plenty of other prizes in its Sweep 16 Bracket Challenge. Fans can receive the full details by clicking here.

Single-draw tickets start at just $25! All youth tickets are $10. Fans can purchase tickets in advance online via Ticketmaster or at Sixteen Mile Sports Complex starting Wednesday.

For more information and to buy tickets today, click here. Customers needing assistance with purchasing can call 289-815-4575.

For the full 2023 PointsBet Invitational schedule, click here.

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