The first five legs of the Grand Slam of Curling act as qualifiers for the Champions Cup and the last chance to get into the season finale comes this week at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto (CAN) with the Players Championship.
This is the 27th edition of the Players, which began in 1993, and the first Grand Slam event since January and figures to be hotly contested given the quality of teams, including (listed by skip):
● Brendan Bottcher (CAN) ~ 2019 Meridian Canadian Open winners
● Peter de Cruz (SUI) ~ 2018 Winter Olympic bronze medalist
● Niklas Edin (SWE) ~ Four-time World Champion (including 2019)
● John Epping (CAN) ~ 2019 Masters Champion
● Brad Gushue (CAN) ~ 2017 World Champion
● Glenn Howard (CAN) ~ 2012 World Champion
● Brad Jacobs (CAN) ~ 2014 Olympic Champion
● Kevin Koe ( CAN) ~ 2010 and 2016 World Champion; 2019 runner-up
● Satsuki Fujisawa (JPN) ~ 2018 Winter Olympic bronze medalists
● Anna Hasselborg (SWE) ~ 2018 Winter Olympic gold; 2018-19 Worlds silvers
● Silvana Tirinzoni (SUI) ~ 2019 World Champions
● Rachel Homan (CAN) ~ 2017 World Champions; 2014 Worlds silver
● Jennifer Jones (CAN) ~ 2018 World Champions; 2015 Worlds silver
The Players Championship will also decide the Pinty’s Cup trophy for the top rinks in the series. Gushue leads a very tight men’s race with 34 points, followed by Koe (31), Epping (30), Jacobs (29) and Howard (25). Scoring for the Players is 25-19-15 for the top three places and 11 for the quarterfinalists.
The women’s race looks to belong to Homan (52), followed by Hasselborg and Tirinzoni (30), then Jones (26) and Kerri Einarson (CAN: 19).
By the way, if you haven’t been following ice hockey, then you should know that the Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre was know for decades as … Maple Leaf Gardens. Look for results here.