Stratford to Host first Edition of New-look Expanded Field at 2022 Canadian U-21 Championships
The Canadian Under-21 Junior Curling Championships are heading back to Stratford, Ont., it was announced today by Curling Canada.
The 2022 Canadian Under-21 Canadian Junior Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships will be played from March 25-April 1 at the Stratford Rotary Complex in Stratford, Ont. The event will feature an expanded 18-team field next year that will be permanent from now on.
“Expanding the field at the Canadian Under-21 Juniors is a positive step forward because it provides more young athletes with the invaluable experience of competing at a national curling championship,” said Mitch Minken, Chair of Curling Canada’s Board of Governors. “The Stratford Rotary Complex is an excellent facility for hosting national curling championships and we are looking forward to watching this event unfold with more junior teams competing than ever before.”
The field will include the standard 14 Member Associations, one host team from Ontario, and additional berths provided to the teams that earned gold, silver and bronze medals at the 2020 Canadian Juniors. For the women, the teams are Manitoba, Alberta and Nova Scotia. The men’s side will feature Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan.
“The City of Stratford is proud to have been selected to host some of the finest young curlers from across the country at the 2022 Canadian Under-21 Men’s and Women’s Junior Curling Championships. We look forward to welcoming the players and their families to the Stratford Rotary Complex for some spirited competition, as well as our community’s warmest hospitality,” said Stratford Mayor Dan Mathieson.
The event will have modified eligibility requirements next year. Eligible athletes must be 20 years of age or less on June 30, 2022 (as per World Curling Federation Rules to qualify for the 2023 World Juniors). However, teams may have one overage athlete (21 years of age or less on June 30, 2022).
Winning teams will represent Canada at the 2023 World Junior Curling Championships. If the winning team includes an overage athlete who is not eligible to compete at the 2023 World Juniors, Curling Canada will work with the winning team to determine a replacement player.
It is the second national junior curling championship to be hosted in Stratford, Ont. The Stratford Rotary Complex hosted the 2016 event on the ice surfaces of RBC Arena and Molson Arena – the very first time in the history of the event that every game was played on arena ice – and won by Manitoba’s Matt Dunstone and Nova Scotia’s Mary Fay.
“The host committee, along with volunteers of the Stratford Country Club, are proud to co-host with the City of Stratford, the 2022 Canadian Under-21 Men’s and Women’s Junior Curling Championships. We are thrilled to work with Curling Canada to welcome athletes from across Canada and build on our success of hosting our third national championship in six years. We look forward to welcoming everyone to Stratford in March of 2022,” said event co-chair Rob Douglas, who is working with fellow chair Jessie Jacob to run the event.
The city hosted the 2018 Everest Canadian Senior Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships, won by Saskatchewan’s Sherry Anderson and Ontario’s Bryan Cochrane.
The Canadian Junior Men’s Championship has been hosted since the first event in 1950 at Quebec City. The first Canadian Junior Women’s Championship has been hosted since 1971 at Vancouver. The men’s and women’s events were combined in 1987 at Prince Albert, Sask.
“We’re thrilled to see the Canadian Juniors return to Ontario and look forward to watching the best young up-and-coming athletes take centre stage in Stratford,” said CurlOn Executive Director Stephen Chenier. “Stratford has proven time and time again it can provide a first-rate experience for curlers and next year will be no exception.”
The junior men’s event has been won a leading 16 times by Alberta, with the most recent edition won by Manitoba’s Jacques Gauthier. On the junior women’s side, Saskatchewan leads the way with 11 titles to its name. Manitoba is close behind with 10 total championships, including the most recent Canadian title won by Manitoba’s Mackenzie Zacharias.
The winners of the 2022 Canadian Juniors will represent Canada at the 2023 World Junior Curling Championships (dates, location, TBA by World Curling Federation).
Canada has won a leading 21 world junior men’s titles since 1975 and 13 women’s crowns since 1988. Canada’s Gauthier and Zacharias both won gold at the 2020 World Junior Curling Championships in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
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