News Tour Challenge

Gushue outduels Bottcher at HearingLife Tour Challenge

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — Team Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., upended Calgary’s Team Brendan Bottcher 6-5 Wednesday in the HearingLife Tour Challenge.

Gushue, who downed Aaron Sluchinski 8-2 Tuesday, improved to a 2-0 record in the first Grand Slam of Curling event of the season at the Gale Centre.

“I thought we built on our first game,” said third Mark Nichols, who was “Mr. Perfectly Fine” shooting 100 per cent. “We played a little bit better. We put some rocks in some really good spots in terms of draws. The ice was good and hopefully, we can keep building on that and get at least another win, get us into the playoffs.”

It was singles going steady back and forth to start until Gushue scored the game’s first deuce with an open hit in the sixth end to take a 4-3 advantage. Bottcher, who beat Gushue in the Champions Cup final to close out last season, counted a couple right back in the seventh to reclaim the lead.

That gave Gushue the hammer for the final frame, although the 14-time Grand Slam champion didn’t need to throw his last as he already sat two for the win.

“I think we played really well, put some pressure on them, we had Brendan drawing against a couple every time they had a hammer,” Nichols said. “We had couple chances at deuces that didn’t work out. In six, we played a great end. Seven, they played a great end. It was just you know it’s going to be back and forth against those guys. We had hammer in the last end and were just fortunate enough to get two.”

Bottcher dropped to a 1-1 record.

Elsewhere, Sluchinski and his Airdrie, Alta., team earned their first top-tier win in the series with a 7-3 victory over Team Wouter Gösgens of the Netherlands.

“It feels a lot better than being embarrassed last night,” Sluchinski said. “Yeah, no it’s good to get a ‘W’ for sure.”

Sluchinski, who was a finalist in the event’s Tier 2 division last season, now holds a 1-1 record while Gösgens slipped to 0-2.

“It shows we’re making progress,” Sluchinski said. “Our goal was to get into these Slams and into a Brier and stuff and now we’re here.”

Winnipeg’s Team Matt Dunstone gave up a steal in the eighth end to fall 6-5 to Team Yannick Schwaller of Switzerland while Norway’s Team Magnus Ramsfjell fended off Team Korey Dropkin of the United States by an identical score. All four teams hold matching 1-1 records.

HEARINGLIFE TOUR CHALLENGE: Scores/Standings | Draw Schedule | Broadcast Schedule


• Team Madeleine Dupont 5, Team Serena Gray-Withers 3

• Team Eun-Jung Kim 5, Team Isabelle Ladouceur 2

• Team Jolene Campbell 7, Team Nancy Martin 2

• Team Ikue Kitazawa 9, Team Corrie Hürlimann 2


The HearingLife Tour Challenge continues with Draw 8 at 7:30 p.m. local time. Ticket information is available at

Broadcast coverage begins with Draw 10 Thursday at 11:30 a.m. ET / 8:30 a.m. PT on Sportsnet and streaming online at Sportsnet+ (Canada) and Yare (international).


The HearingLife Tour Challenge is the first Grand Slam of Curling event of the season with 32 men’s teams and 32 women’s teams in two tiers of action. Tier 1 features the top teams from around the world while Tier 2 features the next group of teams looking to move up the rankings into the top flight. … Round-robin play runs through to Friday with the top eight teams in each division qualifying for the playoffs. … The quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for Saturday with the finals set for Sunday.