News Champions Cup

Homan hangs on to fend off Fleury at Champions Cup

OLDS, Alta. — Rachel Homan and her Ottawa-based club opened their title defence in the KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup with a 6-4 victory Tuesday night over Team Tracy Fleury of East St. Paul, Man., at the Olds Sportsplex.

Homan captured her record-extending 11th Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling women’s title at the event a year ago in the Calgary bubble.

Things are different this time around as it’s the end of the Olympic cycle with several clubs, including Team Homan, retooling their rosters for next season. Lead Joanne Courtney is stepping back from the sport and the KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup is her last dance with the group.

“We’re trying to win as much as we can for her and send her off with a good end-of-season win,” Homan said. “We’re just enjoying the week and enjoying our last few games together.”

Coincidentally, Fleury will be joining Team Homan next season playing in the back-end with Homan while third Emma Miskew and second Sarah Wilkes will handle the front-end positions. Before they become teammates, however, they met their opening games here.

After giving up a steal to start, Fleury recovered to draw for a deuce in the second end and the back-and-forth chase was on. Homan tapped for two points in the third to jump back ahead. Fleury missed a double attempt in the fourth but sat shot rock and scored a single to tie it 3-3 heading into the halftime break.

Homan wrecked on a guard with the final rock of the fifth end to settle for a single as well and misfired her last in the sixth to leave Fleury with a chance for two. It was an opportunity lost for Fleury as she came up way light and just counted one point to knot it back up 4-4.

Facing four counters, Homan hit for the go-ahead point in seven and hung on without the hammer in eight. Fleury was unable to make the short raise for the equalizer that would have forced an extra end and Homan bookended the match with another stolen point.

“It’s great to start off with a win,” Homan said. “It’s lots of games here, you’ve got to get as many wins as you can, five (round-robin games) coming up here. We’re excited to pull off the win to start.”

Taylor McDonald filled in for lead Kristin MacCuish on Team Fleury.

Meanwhile, Anna Hasselborg and her Swedish squad continued their winning ways with a 9-6 extra-end victory over Team Tabitha Peterson of the United States. Hasselborg just needed to connect with an open hit to seal the game in overtime.

The seven-time Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title winner Hasselborg made history two weeks ago by capturing the Princess Auto Players’ Championship to become the first women’s skip to win all four of the major titles in the series.

Team Niklas Edin of Sweden stole in the extra end to stop Winnipeg’s Team Jason Gunnlaugson 7-6 and Team Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., topped Toronto’s Team John Epping 7-4 in men’s action.

Lead Christoffer Sundgren is back in the lineup for Team Edin after missing the Princess Auto Players’ Championship due to a lower-body injury.

Epping, third Ryan Fry and lead Brent Laing are playing as a trio as second Mat Camm is not feeling well.


The KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup resumes with Draw 4 Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. local time.

Pool play runs through to Friday with the quarterfinals and semifinals scheduled for Saturday and both finals set for Sunday.


Live coverage of the KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup begins Thursday at 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT on Sportsnet, Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international).


The KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup is the fourth and final Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event of the 2021-22 season featuring 12 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams who have won top tour titles in order to qualify. … Both divisions are split into two groups of six for pool play. The best six teams overall qualify for the playoffs with the top two receiving byes to the semifinals. … A combined $210,000 prize purse is up for grabs with the winning teams earning $25,000 plus berths to next year’s KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup.