At long last, here it is – the draw matchups for The Players’ Championship, the final event in the 2012-13 Grand Slam of Curling series.
Thirty of the top teams – 15 men’s squads and 15 women’s foursomes – will gather in Toronto April 16-21 for a rockfest taking place on hallowed ground: the legendary and historic Maple Leaf Gardens.
As we first revealed back in the fall, the Gardens is now part of Ryerson University, and its Mattamy Athletic Centre. The original Gardens roof/ceiling is intact, and the number of seats has shrunk to a cozy, manageable size – perfect for university sports and, now, the brightest jewel in the World Curling Tour’s crown.
There’s also a stunning display of chocolate and cheese further below the ice surface – somebody might have to put a GPS monitor on the Swiss teams!
Speaking of the teams and their early-round matches, there are a number of highlights in evidence straight away.
Tuesday night kicks off with a bang as both world women’s champion Eve Muirhead of Scotland and world bronze medallist Rachel Homan of Canada are in action – with Homan taking on 2012 world champ Mirjam Ott of Switzerland. In men’s opening night action, it’s a rematch of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic championship final as Canada’s Kevin Martin takes on Norway’s Crazy Pants, aka Thomas Ulsrud and Co.
And as some guy revealed in a recent Sun Media curling column, none other than David Nedohin of Edmonton will be donning The Pants with Team Norway in Toronto. Wowza.
And that’s just for starters. Pore through the draw chart above (click on it to increase the viewing size) and you’ll soon find many, many other matches that cry out for a spotlight.
Television coverage is believed to start on the Thursday on Sportsnet, with two draws (including the Sunday men’s final) taking place on CBC.