Canada’s best university curling teams will meet in the 2016 CIS-Curling Canada University Championships, presented by Travelers, starting Sunday in Kelowna.
Eight teams of each gender compete in the ninth edition of the four-day event, staged in partnership between Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) and Curling Canada and hosted this year by the Kelowna Curling Club and UBC Okanagan.
The teams play a round robin ending Tuesday evening, with the top four finishers qualifying for the semifinals pitting 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3 on Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m. The winners then advance to their respective finals in the afternoon at 2:30 p.m. local (PT), while the losers meet in bronze-medal games at the same time.
B.C.’s Corryn Brown, winner of the 2013 Canadian Juniors at Fort McMurray, Alberta, returns for a third straight year as the skip of the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack.
She will face the University of Alberta Pandas skip Kelsey Rocque, a two-time Canadian and world junior champion and the defending CIS-Curling Canada champion.
Rocque won gold for Alberta at the 2014 Canadian Juniors at Liverpool, N.S., then took the world junior women’s crown for Canada at Flims, Switzerland. Last year, she successfully defended both titles, winning the Canadian Juniors at Corner Brook, N.L., then going unbeaten at the world juniors at Tallinn, Estonia.
She capped off a remarkable year by capturing her first CIS-CC championship at Waterloo, Ont., beating Brown in the final after being the runner-up in two previous CIS-CC Championships. Rocque and Brown were voted the first and second team all-star skips, respectively.
Topping the men’s lineup is defending champion skip Thomas Scoffin of the University of Alberta Golden Bears. Scoffin, who also appeared in a record seven Canadian Juniors as skip — six for Yukon and one for Alberta, won the gold medal last year at Waterloo, Ont., defeating Aaron Squires of Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks in the final.
Former Ontario junior champion Squires, who was voted first team all-star honours at last year’s CIS-CC championship (Scoffin was the second team all-star skip), will once again represent Waterloo’s Wilfrid Laurier.
Other skips include former provincial junior champions Matthew Manuel of Nova Scotia (Dalhousie University Tigers) and Corey Chester of British Columbia (University of Victoria Vikes). UBC-Okanagan Heat, as co-host, will be skipped by Justin Nillson.
The winning teams will then represent Canada at FISU’s 28th Winter Universiade, Jan. 28-Feb. 8, 2017 at Almaty, Kazakhstan.