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Sudbury poised to host 2022 U SPORTS, CCAA and Canadian mixed doubles curling championships

Three tournaments taking place at Countryside Sports Complex in March
Curling stock
Photo courtesy Curling Canada

Greater Sudbury will play host to three curling championships in 2022, Curling Canada has announced. 

Sudbury's Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex will set the stage for the 2022 U SPORTS/Curling Canada Curling Championships, Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA)/Curling Canada Championships from March 15-19 and the 2022 Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Championship from March 22-27.

"The Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship is an up-and-coming event that's gaining more notoriety each season,” said Curling Canada CEO Katherine Henderson, in a news release. “The U SPORTS and CCAA championships are important events that develop young athletes while maintaining the balance of competitive spirit and academic success. Sudbury has an incredible resumé when it comes to hosting premiere national curling events, and we're confident in the host committee's ability to provide a memorable experience for all competitors during these three championships."

Sudbury is one of just a handful of cities to play host to all of Curling Canada's longstanding national championships - the Tim Hortons Brier (1953, 1983), the Scotties Tournament of Hearts (2001), the New Holland Canadian Juniors (1990), the Everest Canadian Seniors (1973) and the Canadian Mixed (2012). Sudbury was scheduled to host the 2020 Canadian Under-18 Curling Championships, but it was cancelled due to COVID-19.

"I am tremendously excited to welcome these events to our community," said Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger. "National curling events of this calibre are a huge boost to our local economy and are a sure sign that our lives are beginning to return to normal. On behalf of curling fans across northeastern Ontario, thank you to Curling Canada for awarding these events to Greater Sudbury and to the passionate volunteers of the Coniston, Copper Cliff and Curl Sudbury Curling Clubs for hosting these teams."

The U SPORTS and CCAA championships are being staged together in partnership with Curling Canada for the fourth time. 

Portage la Prairie, Man., last hosted the championships in 2020. The University of Alberta's Pandas team skipped by Selena Sturmay and Wilfrid Laurier University's Golden Hawks skip Matt Hall led their teams to the women's and men's U SPORTS gold medals. Those victories earned the groups the right to represent Canada at the 2021 FISU Winter World University Games in Lucerne, Switzerland, this December. 

The winners of this year's event in Sudbury will represent Canada in men's and women's curling at the 2023 FISU Winter World University Games in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Laurentian University serves as the host school for this event. Its women's team is coming off two gold-medal victories (2017 and 2019) and members of both winning teams represented Northern Ontario at the 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary this past season (skip Krysta Burns [2017]), third Megan Smith [2017, 2019], second Sara Guy [2017] and alternate Kira Brunton [2019]).

"We are excited to bring our Curling Championships back to Northern Ontario," said Lisette Johnson-Stapley, chief sport officer at U SPORTS. "Laurentian and the Greater Sudbury community continues to leave its mark on the national stage, and we are confident the Voyageurs program will serve as a formidable host, as we prepare with our partners at Curling Canada for a safe return to university sport across the country."

It's the fifth U SPORTS curling event hosted in Ontario and second in Northern Ontario after Thunder Bay hosted the event most recently in 2017. 

The Concordia Thunderbirds men's team and the Douglas Royals women's teams are coming off back-to-back championship victories at the CCAA-level after securing gold-medal victories in 2020.

"The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association is looking forward to bringing the top collegiate teams to Sudbury, Ontario," said Sandra Murray-MacDonell, Chief Executive Officer of the CCAA. Building on partnerships and collaboration with the Host Organizing Committee, Curling Canada, and U SPORTS, the CCAA is committed to enriching the student-athlete experience and growing the sport at the post-secondary level."

It will be the fourth CCAA curling event held in Ontario and the second in Northern Ontario after Sault Ste. Marie hosted the event in 2014. 

Both scholastic championships will feature eight men's and eight women's teams.

After U SPORTS and CCAA champions are crowned, the country's best mixed doubles curlers will promptly take centre stage in a community that will be abuzz following the mixed doubles competition at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. 

"We're excited to build on the momentum of mixed doubles curling during what's sure to be an exciting season for our country," said Bobby Ray, executive director of the Northern Ontario Curling Association. "Sudbury's host committee is ready to put on the best event possible and sustain the growth of our sport for Canada's most talented student-athletes and the mixed doubles discipline. We can't wait to welcome everyone to Northern Ontario, and I can't think of a better-suited city in Canada to host this slate of events." 

The winner of the 2022 Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship will represent Canada at the 2022 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship; dates and location for the 2022 Worlds are to be announced at a later date by the World Curling Federation. 

The 2021 championship took place inside WinSport Arena at Canada's Olympic Park in Calgary. It was one of four Season of Champions events Curling Canada hosted inside the Calgary bubble last season. Kerri Einarson of Camp Morton, Man., and Brad Gushue of St. John's, N.L., won the event and finished fourth overall at the 2021 World Mixed Doubles Championship, securing Canada's spot in the mixed doubles competition at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.

"Together, Coniston Curling Club, Copper Cliff Curling and Curl Sudbury are honoured to join forces to welcome the best curlers in Canada as well as our next generation curling stars to Sudbury,” said the host committee, led by Bryna Patman (Coniston Curling Club), Sandra Lahti (Copper Cliff Curling Club) and Kelly Irvine (Curl Sudbury). “We believe the groundbreaking partnership between our three curling clubs will grow curling in Sudbury and will help lay the foundation for our community becoming a sport tourism destination as we come out of the pandemic.”