Defending champs Einarson, Mouat return to Players’ Championship finals

Kerri Einarson in action during the women's semifinals of the Princess Auto Players' Championship on April 16, 2022, at Toronto's Mattamy Athletic Centre. (Anil Mungal)

TORONTO — History will be made in the Princess Auto Players’ Championship women’s final as Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., clash with Sweden’s Team Anna Hasselborg at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

Einarson earned a return trip to the final with an 8-4 victory over Team Tracy Fleury from East St. Paul, Man., and Hasselborg stole two in the eighth and one in the extra end to shock Ottawa’s Team Rachel Homan 8-7 during Saturday night’s semis.

The double defending champ Einarson could become the first skip to win the prestigious major tournament three consecutive times. In a bit of deja vu, Einarson defeated Hasselborg for the title at the historic venue formerly known as Maple Leaf Gardens in 2019. The event was not held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Einarson edged Homan for the trophy last year in the Calgary bubble.

Hasselborg is a Players’ Championship title away from becoming the first women’s skip to complete the career Grand Slam by winning all four majors at least once. Of Hasselborg’s six Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling titles, she’s captured the Masters once (2019), the National twice (2019 and 2021) and the Open once (2020).

Team Hasselborg are also in the chase for the Pinty’s Cup, awarded to the season champions in the series. Hasselborg currently holds 33 points and can surpass Fleury (36 points) with a win and six more points up for grabs in the final.

Meanwhile, defending men’s champs Team Bruce Mouat from Scotland also made it to another Princess Auto Players’ Championship final following an 8-3 victory over Edmonton’s Team Brendan Bottcher during the semis.

It’ll be a rematch from the Beijing Winter Games gold medal game as Mouat meets reigning Olympic and world champions Team Niklas Edin of Sweden. Edin scored two points in the eighth end to top Team Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., 6-5.

The combination of a Mouat win and a Gushue loss meant the Scottish squad clinched the Pinty’s Cup men’s title. Mouat won the Masters in October and finished runner-up to Gushue at the Boost National in November. Team Mouat earn a $50,000 bonus for finishing first overall in the points.

Remarkably, Team Edin has been playing short-handed this week as lead Christoffer Sundgren is out of the lineup due to a lower-body injury. Second Rasmus Wranå and third Oskar Eriksson have both thrown an additional rock each end and have swept solo for the most part. 

The women’s final is scheduled for Sunday at Noon ET / 9 a.m. PT followed by the men’s final at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT.

Watch both finals on Sportsnet ONE with online streaming available at Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international).

Both of the winning teams in the Princess Auto Players’ Championship receive $35,000 from the $350,000 combined prize purse.

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