Canadian curling will make history this week.
With TSN deciding to televise every draw of this week's Canada Cup of Curling from Moose Jaw, the Canadian Curling Association's marquee cash spiel will for the first time receive the same blanket TV coverage on a main network as Canadians are used to seeing from national and international curling championships.
While TSN and CBC have always shown selected games from the Canada Cup, primarily the playoff rounds, TSN will take things to a whole new level this week with a broadcast schedule that begins with this morning's opening draw at 9 and continues uninterrupted through the men's and women's finals on Sunday.
That's a huge step forward for an event that was born a decade ago amid the acrimony of a boycott of provincial and national curling events by a group of elite men's teams seeking to get their own cash circuit, the Grand Slam of Curling, off the ground.
The CCA's response to what proved to be a two-year boycott of the playdowns was to create their own major cash spiel in the Canada Cup and a second Ryder Cup-style event called the Continental Cup.
While the Continental Cup has always been broadcast in its entirety by TSN, the Canada Cup always struggled to garner any national attention during its preliminary rounds.
But with the stakes up for grabs to the winner of the Canada Cup now so valuable, it has become must-see TV.
-- The seven men's and seven women's teams competing in Moose Jaw this week will be chasing a combined purse of $140,000, including $14,000 to each of the two winners.
-- Even more valuable, the two winners in Moose Jaw, provided they're not among the four teams in the event who already have berths, will also receive one of just eight berths into the Olympic curling trials to be held in December 2013 at the MTS Centre, where Canada's men's and women's representatives in curling at the 2014 Sochi Games will be determined.
-- And finally, the winners in Moose Jaw will receive the first two berths into the 2014 Continental Cup, which, with Tuesday's announcement that it will be held in a 5,000-seat Las Vegas arena, becomes an even more sought-after opportunity for curlers.
Manitoba will be well-represented in Moose Jaw, with five of the 14 teams at this year's Canada Cup based in southern Manitoba -- Chelsea Carey, Jennifer Jones (with Kaitlyn Lawes skipping in Jones' absence), Cathy Overton-Clapham, Jeff Stoughton and Mike McEwen.
Of those five, only Jones, who defeated Carey in last year's Canada Cup final, already has her Olympic trials berth.
The format in Moose Jaw calls for teams to play a six-game round-robin over the course of today, Thursday and Friday.
The two first-place teams then advance straight to Sunday's finals, while the second- and third-place teams play in Saturday's semifinals.
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2012 Capital One Canada Cup of Curling, Nov. 28-Dec. 2, Mosaic Place, Moose Jaw
Today9 a.m.Draw # 1 Today2 p.m.Draw # 2Today7 p.m.Draw # 3
Thursday9 a.m.Draw # 4Thursday2 p.m.Draw # 5Thursday7 p.m.Draw # 6
Friday9 a.m.Draw # 7Friday2 p.m.Draw # 8Friday7 p.m.Draw # 9
* All draws on TSN