Canada starts Curling World Cup event perfect
Rachel Homan, Kevin Koe, mixed doubles team all open with wins
Canadian curlers made a clean sweep on the opening day of the Curling World Cup event in China on Wednesday.
On the women's side, skip Rachel Homan kicked things off with a 6-5 win over Russia.
Homan's team out of Ottawa hasn't made any changes to her team from last year. Emma Miskew, Joanne Courtney and Lisa Weagle are all back from the rink that went 4-5 and missed the playoffs at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Kevin Koe's rink defeated Switzerland 6-4 in the men's draw.
Unlike Homan's team, there are some significant changes to the Koe rink, which finished fourth at the Olympics. Third Marc Kennedy and second Brent Laing left the team in the off-season. B.J. Neufeld, formerly of Mike McEwen's team, steps into the third position while Colton Flasch from Saskatchewan fills the second spot.
The mixed team of Laura Walker and Kirk Muyres also came out a winner in Wednesday's draw, defeating Norway 9-5.
The Curling World Cup is a new initiative from the World Curling Federation and will include four stops, running from this week through May.
How it works
Each Curling World Cup stop will have three separate tournaments — men's, women's and mixed doubles. Each tournament will have eight teams, split into two groups of four. After a double round-robin within each group, the two group winners square off in the final.
Games consists of eight ends. Should a game be tied after the eighth end, a single-rock, closest-to-the-button shootout will determine the winner. Teams get three points for a win in regulation, two for a shootout win, one for a shootout loss and zero for a regulation loss.
The winning men's and women's teams this week in China will each take home $20,000 US, plus an additional $1,500 for every round-robin victory. The winner of the mixed doubles competition gets $10,000 plus an additional $750 for each round-robin win.
All three champions will also earn a berth in the Curling World Cup Grand Final in Beijing in May. That event will feature the winners of each of the three previous legs, host China, the reigning world champions, a team invited by the World Curling Federation and the two highest-ranked remaining teams in the World Cup rankings.
After this week's event in Suzhou, the next World Cup stop is Dec. 5-9 in Omaha, Neb., followed by Jan. 30-Feb. 3 in Jonkoping, Sweden.
With files from Devin Heroux