Trips to the 2017 Winter Universiade in Almaty, Kazakhstan, will be on the line when Canada’s best university curling teams gather in Kelowna for the 2016 CIS/Curling Canada Canadian University Curling Championships.
The championships, beginning Sunday, will be staged March 20 to 23 at the Kelowna Curling Club, it was announced jointly today by Curling Canada and Canadian Interuniversity Sport.
The winning teams will represent Canada at the 2017 Winter Universiade, scheduled for Jan. 28 to Feb. 8 in Almaty.
“We’re thrilled to see the CIS/Curling Canada championships return to British Columbia for the second time in four years,” said Graham Brown, who was named earlier this month the new chief executive officer of CIS.
“The City of Kelowna has a long tradition of curling excellence and there is no doubt the organizing committee will offer our CIS student-athletes an unforgettable experience, especially with this year’s championship teams earning the opportunity to represent Canada at the 2017 Winter Universiade.”
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.
It will be the ninth edition of the CIS/Curling Canada university nationals, and it will be the first time the event has been staged in Kelowna. It’s the second time the championships have been decided in B.C. after Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops hosted in 2013.
“We’re thrilled that the next generation of Canadian curling stars will be coming to Kelowna for the CIS/Curling Canada nationals,” said Peter Ellison, president of the Kelowna Curling Club.
“We have a world-class facility that will allow these athletes to put on a great show, and the enthusiastic curling community of Kelowna will be in for a treat.”
At the 2015 CIS/Curling Canada championships in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., the University of Alberta became just the second school to sweep both the men’s and women’s gold medals.
The Golden Bears men’s team, skipped by Thomas Scoffin, along with the Pandas women’s team, with two-time world junior champ Kelsey Rocque calling the shots, went home with gold medals.
Wilfrid Laurier University has won four women’s gold medals at the CIS/Curling Canada nationals, with the University of Alberta, Carleton University, University of Manitoba and the University of Regina all having won once apiece.
On the men’s side, the University of Alberta leads the way with two gold medals, while the University of Manitoba, University of Waterloo, Memorial University, Queen’s University, Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Regina all have a single victory.
“University curling has continued to grow in Canada and we’re excited to see this event move to the Okanagan Valley,” said Pat Ray, Acting Chief Executive Officer for Curling Canada. “Considering what’s at stake in Kelowna, we’re expecting a wonderful display of curling from Canada’s best university players.”