Kevin Martin, Jeff Stoughton, Brad Gushue and Mike McEwen were among the skips who picked up victories in the opening draw of the Rogers Masters of Curling in Brantford, Ont., on Wednesday night.
The $200,000 event at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre is the season opener for the men’s Grand Slam of Curling — a series of elite tournaments for the top teams on the World Curling Tour. It’s also the fourth event of the women’s Grand Slam, making for a mammoth 68-team field.
Prior to the opening draw, Sportsnet announced it would award a $1-million bonus to a team if it can win all four of this season’s men’s Grand Slam titles.
“The Slams have always been about the best of the best, being able to entertain on an open field,” said Martin, who did not win a Grand Slam title last season. “They’re about making sure the players are the show, and not the event itself.”
The 2010 Olympic champion was the main attraction Wednesday night as he saw a 6-2 lead evaporate against 2006 Brier champion Jean-Michel Menard. With the score tied 6-6 in the final end, Martin made a runback double-kill to secure an 8-6 victory.
Stoughton defeated Rob Rumfeldt 6-4, Gushue beat Niklas Edin 6-4 and McEwen handled Mark Kean 6-1.
In other games, Brad Jacobs defeated Jim Cotter 6-2, John Epping cruised past Sven Michel 7-2, Thomas Ulsrud clipped Rasmus Stjerne 3-2, and Rob Fowler edged Peter De Cruz 5-3.
CBC will broadcast quarter-final action live on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET, and the championship final on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
The coverage can also be streamed live on CBCSports.ca.