British Columbia’s Karen Lepine from the Langley-Port Alberni-Vernon Curling Club and the Northwest Territories’ Ann McKellar Gillis from the Yellowknife Curling Club qualified on the women’s side.
Men’s rinks advancing to the main draw, which begins Saturday morning, are Nova Scotia’s Alan O’Leary rink from the CFB Halifax Curling Club and the Northwest Territories’ foursome, skipped by Glen Hudy, from the Yellowknife Curling Club.
“It’s going to be a good field and some good curling,” said P.E.I. men’s skip Rod MacDonald of Summerside.
A total of 12 men and 12 women’s teams will compete at The Fox from March 16 to 24 for the right to represent Canada at the world senior curling championships.
“I don’t know a lot of the (men’s) teams from west and Ontario, but I certainly know the teams east,” said MacDonald. “Geoff Cunningham from Newfoundland got runner-up at the Canadian (seniors) last year. Glenn Goss is skipping that team and Geoff is throwing skip rocks. They are certainly a good team as they showed last year.
“Alan O’Leary from Nova Scotia, I know he has to go through relegation, but I would be surprised if he did not make it through that. I’ve played Alan a few times over the last few years, and he and his rink have always been solid.
“New Brunswick is a really good team, (skip) Wayne Tallon, (third stone) Mike Kennedy. I played against Mike quite a few times this year actually with a different squad of course.
“It’s going to be a good field and some good curling." - P.E.I. men’s skip Rod MacDonald
“Mike Flannery at the front end plays second stone, and Wade Blanchard, who skipped in ’06 at the Brier when I was there, is playing lead for that team. The Atlantic teams are certainly going to be well represented, and they are all strong teams.”
With this the third time the Canadian seniors have been held at The Fox since 2006, there are some familiar names back on the women’s side.
Colleen Pinkney, who won the 2009 Canadian senior women’s championship in Summerside, is back representing Nova Scotia with her Truro Curling Club rink.
Lois Fowler and her Manitoba rink from the Brandon Curling Club, along with New Brunswick’s Heidi Hanlon from the Thistle St. Andrew Curling Club and Alberta’s Deb Santos from the St. Albert Curling also highlight the women’s field.
Fowler won the bronze medal here in 2009 while Hanlon, who competed in the 2006 senior nationals in Summerside, has appeared in 11 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, and won New Brunswick’s first Canadian senior women’s championship in 2011. Santos has represented Alberta in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts four times.