Image Credit: SLCC Photo Credit: Cèline Stucki

Image Credit: Stockholm Ladies Curling Cup
Photo Credit: Cèline Stucki

Congratulations to Team Homan, winners of the 2015 Stockholm Ladies Curling Cup! This marks the first time a Canadian rink has won the event, and they take home a little less than $16,000 (CDN) for their efforts. Besides the money (and perhaps more importantly), this win awarded significant CTRS points to Team Homan. If you’re not familiar, the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) is a points system used to rank men’s and women’s curling rinks in Canada, with points being awarded based on results in qualifying events. The CTRS determines who qualifies for the Canadian Olympic Trials (Tim Horton’s Roar of the Rings) every four years, so needless to say it’s a big deal. Team Homan entered this event already at the top of the CTRS rankings by almost 50 points, so this win puts them even further into the lead and well onto the way of their goal of qualifying for and ultimately winning in Ottawa in 2017 to represent Canada in the 2018 Olympics. They’ve had a dominant year so far, and if they keep playing the way they have been this could really be a banner year for them.

Image Credit: Stockholm Ladies Curling Cup

Image Credit: Stockholm Ladies Curling Cup

Looking at this event from my perspective as a fan, I was happy with how my favorite teams did. Team Muirhead played well, going 3-1 in the round-robin and defeating Team Paetz and Team Jones in the playoffs to face Team Homan in the final. As my favorite rink I was pulling for them to win, but I am also a fan of Team Homan and I knew objectively that Homan had more to win than Muirhead had to lose.  Team Sidorova bounced back from their disappointing 0-4 run in Paradise and played well to go 3-1 in the round-robin and ultimately qualify for the playoffs, where they lost to Team Homan in the quarterfinals. Alina Kovaleva did not play, as longtime 5th player Kira Ezekh was throwing lead stones. This was expected though, and throughout the season I would not be surprised to see Ezekh and Kovaleva both getting playing time. Team Ahlmarks (Ostlund) is another team that I am a big fan and they went an impressive 4-0 in the round-robin, but ran out of gas and lost to Team Sigfridsson in the quarterfinal. Coming off their dissappointing results in Canada in Oakville and Paradise this was great to see, and I really think this could be a breakout year for them.

In regards to my predictions for the event, I correctly predicted 6 out of the 8 qualifying teams, and was perfect with the final two teams and the winner. Team Fleming played well at times, but went a disappointing 0-4. They’re a young team though, and I think they have some real potential. Team Jones, on the other hand, went undefeated up until their loss to Team Muirhead in the semifinal. They did have some shaky games and were inconsistent at times, and this really cost them in their game against Muirhead where some big misses and mistakes allowed Muirhead to take a 7-2 lead after the 3rd end. On the other hand, facing almost certain defeat in both the Sidorova and Fleming games Jones made an amazing shot to score big and win.  As I predicted, Team Feltscher struggled, managing to only win 1 game. They’re a great team though, and I’m sure that what we’ve seen of them so far this season is just early-season rust. Team Tirinzoni lost in a tiebreaker to Team Hasselborg, after both teams went 3-1 in round-robin play. Keep an eye out for Team Hasselborg, they’ve done really well so far this year especially for such a young team with a new line-up. I see big things in their future.