Sweeting, Gushue to open GSOC Champions Cup in Calgary

Val Sweeting delivers a stone during the GSOC Players' Championship in Toronto. (Anil Mungal)

It’s a clash of the champions to kick off the closing event of the 2016-17 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season.

Tour Challenge victor Val Sweeting of Edmonton faces Boost National winner Kerri Einarson of Winnipeg in the opening draw of the Humpty’s Champions Cup, which starts next Tuesday at WinSport Arena at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.

The Pinty’s GSOC series announced the draw schedule Tuesday. Scroll down below for the full list of matches.

Sweeting added another trophy to her haul Sunday during the WestJet Players’ Championship by clinching the Rogers Grand Slam Cup as the season champion in the series.

The Humpty’s Champions Cup features 15 men’s teams and 15 women’s teams in one final showdown before the summer. Teams had to win a high-profile event over the course of the season in order to receive an invite.

Reigning world champ Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., is also in action on opening night and goes up against Pacific-Asia winner Yusuke Morozumi of Japan.

Elsewhere, European Championship winner Victoria Moiseeva of Russia makes her Pinty’s GSOC series debut against Meridian Canadian Open champ Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge, Alta.

Shorty Jenkins Classic winner Kevin Koe of Calgary kicks off his hometown tournament taking on Tour Challenge Tier 2 victor Greg Balsdon of Kingston, Ont.

WFG Masters champ Allison Flaxey of Caledon, Ont., meets world junior champion Isabella Wrana of Sweden. The 19-year-old Wrana will be playing in her first Pinty’s GSOC tournament and follows in the footsteps of her older brother Rasmus Wrana, who has won three titles in the series during his rookie season with Team Niklas Edin.

Each team plays four round-robin games with the top eight qualifying for the weekend playoffs. Tiebreaker games may be required to determine the final spot(s).

The Humpty’s Champions Cup is the newest of the seven events in the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling series. The inaugural tournament was held last season in Sherwood Park, Alta. Winnipeg teams reigned with Jennifer Jones defeating Ottawa’s Rachel Homan in a classic showdown for the women’s title and Reid Carruthers claiming the men’s trophy in a thrilling double extra end victory over Toronto’s John Epping.

Both will get the chance to defend their titles, however, Carruthers will not be competing as he’s off to represent Canada at the world mixed doubles championship with Team Homan’s Joanne Courtney. Third Braeden Moskowy will skip Team Carruthers at the Humpty's Champions Cup with second Derek Samagalski and lead Colin Hodgson also moving up in the lineup. Alternate/adviser Craig Savill, a two-time world and 12-time Grand Slam champion, makes his debut with Team Carruthers at lead.

The Humpty's Champions Cup runs April 25-30. If you can’t make it to Calgary, Sportsnet will have you covered starting April 27, click here for the TV schedule. Watch Sportsnet’s broadcast online at Sportsnet NOW (Canada) or gsoc.yaretv.com (international).

HUMPTY'S CHAMPIONS CUP SCHEDULE

  A B C D E
  April 25          
1 7:00 p.m. Sweeting vs.
Einarson
Gushue vs.
Morozumi
Moiseeva vs.
Scheidegger
Koe vs.
Balsdon
Flaxey vs.
Wrana
  April 26          
2 8:30 a.m. Paetz vs.
Muirhead
Brewster vs.
Laycock
De Cruz vs.
Hardie
Hasselborg vs.
Sinclair
Tirinzoni vs.
Wang
3 12:30 p.m. McEwen vs.
Morozumi
Homan vs.
Scheidegger
Edin vs.
Shuster
Jones vs.
Wrana
Einarson vs.
Moiseeva
4 4:00 p.m. Epping vs.
Koe
Carruthers vs.
Hardie
Tirinzoni vs.
Sinclair
Harrison vs.
Wang
Jacobs vs.
Morris
5 7:30 p.m. Balsdon vs.
Shuster
Flaxey vs.
Muirhead
Brewster vs.
McEwen
Gushue vs.
Laycock
Homan vs.
Sweeting
  April 27          
6 8:30 a.m. Sinclair vs.
Wang
Morris vs.
De Cruz
Hasselborg vs.
Harrison
Balsdon vs.
Epping
Paetz vs.
Wrana
7 12:30 p.m. Hardie vs.
Jacobs
Moiseeva vs.
Sweeting
Einarson vs.
Homan
Brewster vs.
Morozumi
Jones vs.
Muirhead
8 4:00 p.m. Carruthers vs.
Morris
Edin vs.
Epping
Koe vs.
Shuster
Paetz vs.
Flaxey
Harrison vs.
Sinclair
9 7:30 p.m. Tirinzoni vs.
Hasselborg
Gushue vs.
McEwen
Sweeting vs.
Scheidegger
Jacobs vs.
De Cruz
Morozumi vs.
Laycock
  April 28          
10 8:30 a.m.   Jones vs.
Paetz
Muirhead vs.
Wrana
   
11 12:30 p.m. Homan vs.
Moiseeva
Carruthers vs.
De Cruz
Gushue vs.
Brewster
Hasselborg vs.
Wang
Edin vs.
Balsdon
12 4:00 p.m. Einarson vs.
Scheidegger
Tirinzoni vs.
Homan
Jones vs.
Flaxey
McEwen vs.
Laycock
Morris vs.
Hardie
13 7:30 p.m.     Carruthers vs.
Jacobs
Koe vs.
Edin
Epping vs.
Shuster
  April 29          
14 8:30 a.m.     Tiebreakers
(if necessary)
   
15 12:30 p.m.     Women's
Quarterfinals
   
16 4:00 p.m.     Men's
Quarterfinals
   
17 7:30 0.m.     Men's & Women's
Semifinals
   
  April 30          
18 10:00 a.m.     Women's Final    
19 2:00 p.m.     Men's Final    

Note: In the event a team won two or more eligible tournaments, the next-ranked WCT/CCT winner based on strength of field was invited. World junior men's champ Ki-jeong Lee and Pacific-Asia women's champ EunJung Kim declined their invites.