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New Brunswick’s Kelly, Alberta’s Skrlik win way into Canadian curling championship

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Alberta's Kayla Skrlik and New Brunswick's Andrea Kelly won their respective provincial women's curling championship finals Sunday to gain entry into the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

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Alberta’s Kayla Skrlik and New Brunswick’s Andrea Kelly won their respective provincial women’s curling championship finals Sunday to gain entry into the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

They join Clancy Grandy (B.C.), Kerry Galusha (Northwest Territories), Laurie St-Georges (Quebec), Nunavut’s Brigitte MacPhail (Nunavut), Hailey Birnie (Yukon) and defending champion Kerri Einarson of Gimli., Man., among teams already qualified for the national championship Feb. 17-26 in Kamloops, B.C.

Kelly doubled Abby Burgess 10-5 in Sunday’s final to go unbeaten in Fredericton.

New Brunswick skip Andrea Crawford releases a rock as they play Team Canada in playoff action at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts at Fort William Gardens in Thunder Bay, Ont. on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. Alberta's Kayla Skrlik and New Brunswick's Andrea Kelly won their respective provincial women's curling championship finals Sunday January 22, 2023, to gain entry into the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Her team includes third Sylvie Quillian, second Jill Brothers and lead Katie Forward.

Kelly will skip New Brunswick in a Canadian women’s championship for the 11th time in her curling career.

She won the bronze medal last year in Thunder Bay, Ont., for a career-best result.

Skrlik edged Casey Scheidegger 9-8 in Wetaskiwin to win Alberta.

Down a point coming home with hammer, Skrlik executed a tricky double takeout to score two for the victory.

Skrlik, vice Geri-Lynn Ramsay, second Brittany Tran and lead Ashton Skrlik from the Calgary Curling Club went undefeated in their provincial championship.

The Skrlik sisters will make their Hearts debuts.

Curling Canada continues the 18-team fields for its men’s and women’s national championship in 2023 after two years of the format.

Wild-card entries increased from one to three starting in 2021, and are determined by the top three non-qualified teams in Curling Canada’s ranking system (CTRS).

The Hearts and Tim Hortons Brier wild cards will be named when provincial and territorial reps are determined.

Einarson, Ontario’s Rachel Homan and six-time national champion Jennifer Jones of Manitoba ranked first to third Sunday in the CTRS, but wild cards will come from deeper in the women’s rankings as Einarson already has automatic entry into the Hearts as defending champion.

Homan and Jones will also compete in their respective provincial championships this week.

Jones’ former third Kaitlyn Lawes ranked fourth Sunday in the CTRS followed by Grandy already qualified and Scheidegger in sixth.

Provincial finals in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Northern Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador are Jan. 29 and Nova Scotia on Jan. 30.

The Hearts winner will represent Canada at the world championship March 18-26 in Sandviken, Sweden.

The field for the national men’s championship March 3-12 in London, Ont., has partially filled with Jacques Gauthier (B.C.), Felix Asselin (Quebec), Thomas Scoffin (Yukon), Jake Higgs (Nunavut) and defending champion Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L.

Ontario, Northern Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador conclude their men’s provincials Jan. 29 and Nova Scotia on Jan. 30.

Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwest Territories and New Brunswick will hold their men’s provincial and territorial championships in February.

Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher, Manitoba’s Matt Dunstone, Gushue, Alberta’s Kevin Koe and Manitoba’s Reid Carruthers ranked first to fifth respectively Sunday in the men’s CTRS standings.

The Brier champion will wear the Maple Leaf in the world men’s championship April 1-9 in Ottawa.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2023.

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