News Players' Championship

Muirhead steals playoff spot from Homan in Players’ Championship

TORONTO — Eve Muirhead and her Scottish squad secured a berth in the Princess Auto Players’ Championship women’s quarterfinals Friday afternoon with a 9-2 victory over Team Rachel Homan at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

The Beijing Winter Olympic gold medallists qualified through the B-side of the triple knockout preliminary stage with a 3-1 record after sustaining a 6-3 loss Thursday night against three-time reigning world champions Team Silvana Tirinzoni from Switzerland.

“A really good day and a really strong performance there after our loss night,” Team Muirhead third Vicky Wright said. “We regrouped and came out firing, a really clinical performance and came out with the win.”

Thievery was key for the reigning Olympic gold medallists as they stole two points in the second end when Homan’s shooter slid deep on her last and three in the fifth when the skip from Ottawa was short on a draw. Homan shook hands early after Muirhead pirated another pair of points in the sixth.

“We haven’t played since the Olympics so it was nice to get back on the ice and have a really strong team performance,” Wright said. “We’re just enjoying ourselves this week and making the most of it.”

Muirhead has won the Players’ Championship three times in Toronto: 2013, 2015 and 2016.

“There are lots of great memories in this building,” Muirhead said at the start of the tournament. “It’s always nice to come back to Toronto and playing in front of fans makes it even better.”

Wright echoed that last part as they played the Winter Olympic Games in a mostly empty arena.

“It’s been fun,” Wright said. “This is our last week as a team before the end of the season, so we want to be back out here and are really enjoying the crowds.”

Both of Homan’s points came in the third end on a nifty shot that bumped her own stone, and her shooter bounced off of Team Muirhead’s rock to stay for the deuce. 

Homan, who dropped into the C-qualifiers of the triple knockout preliminary stage, has captured a record 11 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling women’s titles and is a Players’ Championship away from becoming the first women’s skip to complete a career Grand Slam.

Japan’s Team Satsuki Fujisawa advanced to the quarterfinals with a 9-2 victory as well defeating Team Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay, Ont. Already up by one, the Olympic silver medallist Fujisawa drew to score four in the fifth end and stole two in the sixth.

Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., also raced into the playoffs with a 10-2 win over Germany’s Team Daniela Jentsch.

Homan faces Team Mackenzie Zacharias from Altona, Man., and Jentsch takes on Sweden’s Team Anna Hasselborg in Friday evening’s C-qualifiers while McCarville meets Team Isabella Wrana of Sweden. Wrana scored a 9-5 win over Regina’s Team Chelsea Carey in the C-semifinals to remain in the mix.

The triple knockout consists of three brackets: A, B and C. Teams must win three games in order to qualify for the playoffs. Each loss drops a team to a lower bracket until they lose three games and are out of the tournament. Two A teams (3-0 records), three B teams (3-1 records) and three C teams (3-2 records) advance to the quarterfinals. 

Switzerland’s Team Silvana Tirinzoni and Team Tracy Fleury of East St. Paul, Man., qualified A-side in the women’s division Thursday night while Scotland’s Team Bruce Mouat and Sweden’s Team Niklas Edin went undefeated 3-0 through the men’s division.


The Princess Auto Players’ Championship continues with Draw 15 at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT on Sportsnet, Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international). The featured game is Team Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., against Calgary’s Team Kevin Koe in a B-qualifier battle.

Tickets are available at the box office and online at


The Princess Auto Players’ Championship is the third event of the 2021-22 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season featuring 16 of the top men’s teams and 16 of the top women’s teams from around the world with a combined $350,000 prize purse. Winning teams earn $35,000. … The Pinty’s Cup will also be awarded to the season champions following the conclusion of the Princess Auto Players’ Championship. Winners of the Pinty’s Cup receive $50,000 bonuses. … The quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for Saturday with both finals set for Sunday.