The 2022 editions of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and Tim Hortons Brier will feature expanded 18-team fields if they are able to proceed as scheduled.
The Scotties -- scheduled for Jan. 28-Feb. 6 in Thunder Bay, Ont. -- and Brier -- set to take place from March 4-13 in Lethbridge, Alta., remain in limbo due to evolving provincial health guidelines.
In a statement, Curling Canada CEO Katherine Henderson said the decision was made to level the playing field after a number of provincial qualifying tournaments were cancelled in recent weeks due to rising COVID-19 cases.
“Curling has a time-honoured tradition of teams playing their way into events such as national and world championships. Unfortunately, over the past two years, that’s fallen to the wayside due to the ongoing pandemic,” Henderson said. “Like last season, some playdown events were played, and others were cancelled leading up to the Scotties and Tim Hortons Brier, and the only thing we can do to ensure equity across the playing field is expanding the field once again. Barring any future setbacks related to the pandemic, we fully intend on returning to the traditional 16-team field and Wild Card play-in game in 2023.”
The top three teams on the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) who had not yet earned a spot in the Scotties and Brier fields will be invited to play. For the Scotties, those additions include Team Hollie Duncan representing Ontario, Team Tracy Fleury as Wild Card 1, Team Chelsea Carey as Wild Card 2 and Team Rachel Homan as Wild Card 3 -- although Homan herself will not play after being selected to compete in Mixed Curling at the Winter Olympics.