Curling's Canadian Open up for grabs
A different Grand Slam of Curling champion could be crowned for the third time this season as the more balanced-looking circuit stops in Oshawa, Ont., for this week's BDO Canadian Open.
The tournament begins Wednesday night at the General Motors Centre, where 18 of the world's best skips are gathered for the third leg of the 2010-11 grand slam calendar.
At stake is a $100,000 total purse, along with points toward the season-ending Capital One Cup and the Canadian ream ranking system, which determines the qualifiers for the Olympic trials.
BDO Canadian Open on CBC
The quarter-finals of the season's third Grand Slam of Curling event can be seen live Saturday at 3 p.m. ET on CBC-TV and CBCSports.ca, followed by the semifinals at 7 p.m. on Bold and CBCSports.ca.
The championship final is Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBC-TV and CBCSports.ca.
The slam circuit has seemed more wide open this season. Six different skips reached the semifinals in the first two tournaments, including unheralded Rob Fowler, and Mike McEwen won the first title of his career.
Glenn Howard of Coldwater, Ont., and Winnipeg's Jeff Stoughton are the only two skips to appear in the semis more than once. Stoughton beat Howard both times, only to lose in the final.
Kevin Martin, the Olympic gold medallist from Edmonton, won the most recent event, taking the Swiss Chalet National in Vernon, B.C., last month for the 16th grand slam title of his career.
McEwen, a 29-year-old from Winnipeg, joined the relatively exclusive club of slam winners when he captured the season-opening Grey Power World Cup of Curling in Windsor, Ont., in November.
McEwen's rink, surprisingly, leads the World Curling Tour money list with nearly $90,000 in winnings this season and ranks third on the Order of Merit behind Martin and Howard, both former world champions.
Toronto's Wayne Middaugh, who lost to eventual champion Martin in the semifinals of the Swiss Chalet National, might normally have an advantage playing close to home this week. But Middaugh is wearing a cast as a result of a snowboarding injury, and his squad was eliminated from the Ontario provincial playdowns earlier this week.
Big money will also be on the line in Oshawa for the semifinalists in the Capital One Million Dollar button contest, who will compete for the chance to throw one rock to the centre of the button for a $1 million prize during the mid-game break of Sunday's championship final (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 1 p.m. ET).