The road to the 2022 Winter Olympics begins for 15 of Canada’s top curling rinks in Estevan on Wednesday morning as the Home Hardware Canada Cup of Curling gets underway at Affinity Place.
Many eyes in the crowd will be on the lone Saskatchewan rink in the field. The Matt Dunstone rink with Braeden Moskowy, Catlin Schneider and Dustin Kidby have had a solid start to the curling season winning a pair of World Curling Tour events and earning enough points to qualify for this event which was one of their goals at the start of the year.
‘We’ve had a lot of success and we are right up to par with our expectations if not a little higher.” Dunstone said. “We had making this event as one of our early goals and we came through so we are coming in with a lot of confidence.”
Dunstone is looking forward to coming to Estevan and being the crowd favourite.
“We are excited.” The 22-year-old skip said. “We all know what playing in front of a Saskatchewan fan-base is like. I expect it to be a lot like the Brier last year which had a tremendous atmosphere so hopefully we can feed off it. We know all eyes will be on us like it was last year in Regina.
Dunstone is on a different rink from last year, but he is familiar with Affinity Place as that is where the Steve Laycock rink won the SaskTel Tankard last year to earn the Saskatchewan jacket at the Brier as he threw the fourth stones for the Saskatoon rink after coming off a junior career that saw him win two Canadian junior titles for his native Manitoba.
“It’s nice to have that familiarity as would Dustin since he was in the provincials last year as well.” Dunstone said. “I know what to expect going in. The ice last year at the provincials was probably the best ice I’ve ever played on so I’m confident it will be good this week as well.”
The winning rink on each side will not only take a share of the $140,000 purse, but they will receive many other things as well including the first spot available for the 2021 Tim Horton Roar of the Rings Olympic pre-trials which is the final qualifier for the Olympic curling trials which will determine who represents Canada at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing in the four-player event.
The first draw goes Wednesday morning at 9 am with Dunstone taking on Brad Gushue. The finals in both go Sunday with all action on TSN.