Homan, Koe headline 62-team field for GSOC Tour Challenge

Rachel Homan shoots a stone during the Tour Challenge Tier 1 women's final on Nov. 11, 2018, in Thunder Bay, Ont. (Anil Mungal)

The Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling announced Wednesday the field for the 2019 KIOTI Tractor Tour Challenge taking place Nov. 5-10 at the Pictou County Wellness Centre in Pictou County, N.S.

Featuring 62 — that’s right, 62! — teams in action, the KIOTI Tractor Tour Challenge is the largest event in the series with two tiers and plenty of stakes on the line.

The Tier 1 divisions, taking place in the Sobeys Arena, include the top 15 men’s and 15 women’s teams from around the world including No. 1 ranked Rachel Homan, whose Ottawa-based club is also the defending women’s champion. World No. 1 Kevin Koe and his Calgary club lead the way on the men’s side. Brad Jacobs’s crew from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., is the reigning men’s Tier 1 champion and also aims to repeat. Tier 1 winners clinch spots in the season-ending 2020 Humpty’s Champions Cup running April 29 to May 3 in Olds, Alta.

The Tier 2 divisions, taking place in the adjacent Bell Aliant Arena, features 16 teams each including the next-ranked teams looking to rise up the charts plus a handful of local contenders such as reigning Nova Scotia provincial champions Team Stuart Thompson and Team Jill Brothers. Winners of the Tier 2 divisions receive promotions to compete among the top flight at the 2020 Meridian Canadian Open, Jan. 14-19 in Yorkton, Sask.

All divisions will be split up into three pools of five teams for round-robin play with the top eight overall qualifying for the playoffs. A full draw schedule of matches will be released in the near future.

Can’t make it to Pictou County, N.S.? Broadcast coverage begins Nov. 7 on Sportsnet with online streaming available via Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international).

Tier 1 men’s division

Team Hometown
Team Brendan Bottcher Edmonton, AB
Team Peter de Cruz Geneva, SUI
Team Matt Dunstone Regina, SK
Team Niklas Edin Karlstad, SWE
Team John Epping Toronto, ON
Team Jason Gunnlaugson Winnipeg, MB
Team Brad Gushue St. John’s, NL
Team Glenn Howard Penetanguishene, ON
Team Brad Jacobs Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Team Kevin Koe Calgary, AB
Team Scott McDonald Kingston, ON
Team Mike McEwen Winnipeg, MB
Team Bruce Mouat Edinburgh, SCO
Team Yannick Schwaller Bern, SUI
Team John Shuster Duluth, USA

Tier 1 women’s division

Team Hometown
Team Chelsea Carey Calgary, AB
Team Kerri Einarson Gimli, MB
Team Tracy Fleury East St. Paul, MB
Team Satsuki Fujisawa Kitami, JPN
Team Anna Hasselborg Sundbyberg, SWE
Team Rachel Homan Ottawa, ON
Team Jennifer Jones Winnipeg, MB
Team Kelsey Rocque Edmonton, AB
Team Nina Roth McFarland, USA
Team Casey Scheidegger Lethbridge, AB
Team Robyn Silvernagle North Battleford, SK
Team Elena Stern Oberwallis, SUI
Team Silvana Tirinzoni Aarau, SUI
Team Isabella Wrana Stockholm, SWE
Team Sayaka Yoshimura Sapporo, JPN

Tier 2 men’s division

Team Hometown
Team Cameron Bryce Stirling, SCO
Team Braden Calvert Winnipeg, MB
Team Korey Dropkin Chaska, USA
Team Michael Fournier Montreal, QC
Team James Grattan Oromocto, NB
Team Tanner Horgan Winnipeg Beach, MB
Team Scott Jones Moncton, NB
Team James Murphy Halifax, NS
Team Kirk Muyres Saskatoon, SK
Team Rich Ruohonen Minneapolis, USA
Team Greg Smith St. John’s, NL
Team Karsten Sturmay Edmonton, AB
Team Kendal Thompson Halifax, NS
Team Stuart Thompson Dartmouth, NS
Team Jaap van Dorp Zoetermeer, NED

Tier 2 women’s division

Team Hometown
Team Mary-Anne Arsenault Dartmouth, NS
Team Megan Balsdon London, ON
Team Suzanne Birt Charlottetown, PEI
Team Jill Brothers Halifax, NS
Team Corryn Brown Kamloops, BC
Team Andrea Crawford Fredericton, NB
Team Hollie Duncan Toronto, ON
Team Binia Feltscher Langenthal, SUI
Team Mackenzie Glynn St. John’s, NL
Team Tanya Hilliard Halifax, NS
Team Daniela Jentsch Füssen, GER
Team Min-Ji Kim Chuncheon, KOR
Team Jestyn Murphy Mississauga, ON
Team Beth Peterson Winnipeg, MB
Team Laurie St-Georges Laval, QC
Team Laura Walker Edmonton, AB

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