SUMMERSIDE – Adam Casey calls it a “cool opportunity.”
The Seven Mile Bay native is also fully aware of what’s at stake as he enters this week’s Home Hardware Road to the Roar Pre-Trials at Eastlink Arena as the hometown favourite.
Two men and two women’s teams from the seven-day event will earn berths in the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian curling trials that will decide the country’s four-player curling teams for the 2018 Winter Olympics in February.
“Obviously, the magnitude of this event is significant,” said Casey in an interview with the Journal Pioneer. “There’s been a lot of work and effort building up to this point.
“I am feeling good about our positioning to execute on our plan. Hopefully, we will have a great week.”
Casey and his Regina, Sask.-based rink of third stone Brock Montgomery, second stone Shaun Meachem and lead Dustin Kidby will open round-robin play against Halifax’s Jamie Murphy on Tuesday at 4 p.m. Casey says he is pleased with how his team is curling entering the Road to the Roar.
“Our season didn’t get off to a great start,” he admitted in an interview with the Journal Pioneer. “I said to someone the other day that our plan wasn’t to be on fire in September. Our goal was to have a lighter schedule as we were throwing in more practices, and our goal is to be here.”
Casey, a product of the junior curling program at the Silver Fox Entertainment Complex, is well aware a lot of eyes will be on his rink.
“Summerside is a city that gets behind its athletes, and I think if we are doing well you may see a little more buzz start to build,” said Casey. “But our focus is go out there, stick to our plan, stay loose, have fun and try to execute.”
In an effort to eliminate some distractions, Casey and his teammates will stay outside of the city.
“We are kicking my parents (Ron and Debbie Casey) out of their house for the week, and we are going to swap houses,” chuckled Casey, who lives in Winsloe. “We are going to stay there (Seven Mile Bay) where we will each have our own bedroom, be able to have some home-cooked meals and relax like we would for any other event.”
When asked about the men’s field, Casey used the word “interesting” to describe the 14 teams.
“I don’t think there’s a clear-cut favourite in the field,” said Casey, who has the experience of skipping rinks at the last three Tim Hortons Briers. “Teams like (Jason) Gunnlaugson, (Pat) Simmons have had a pretty good year, but then you have some bigger names with some history behind them like (John) Morris and (Glenn) Howard. We’ve been at the Brier the last few years, and there’s a lot of depth.”
Gallant headed to trials
One team that won’t be competing this week in Summerside is the Brad Gushue rink from St. John’s, N.L. The rink, which includes Charlottetown native Brett Gallant, won the world championship to clinch an automatic berth in the Olympic trials in Ottawa.
“I’d love to play in Summerside,” Gallant said earlier this year. “I’d love to have that opportunity, but quite thankful to not be in that stage of the process. We found ourselves in that stage four years ago, and didn’t get out of it.”
Need to know
Home Hardware Road To The Roar
What – Curling championship that will see two men’s and two women’s teams earn berths into the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials.
Where – Credit Union Place, Summerside.
When – Monday to Sunday.
Format – The 14 men’s teams and 14 women’s teams are divided into two pools of seven based on the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS). Teams will play a round-robin format within their pool and the top three rinks from each pool will advance to the playoffs.
John Morris, Vernon, B.C.
Glenn Howard, Toronto
Jason Gunnlaugson, Winnipeg
Adam Casey, Regina
Colton Flasch, Saskatoon
Mark Bice, Sarnia, Ont.
Jamie Murphy, Halifax
Brendan Bottcher, Edmonton
Charley Thomas, Edmonton
Pat Simmons, Winnipeg
Greg Balsdon, Kingston, Ont.
Dayna Deruelle, Brampton, Ont.
William Lyburn, Winnipeg
Jean-Michel Ménard, Saint-Romuald, Que.
Tracy Fleury, Sudbury, Ont.
Julie Tippin, Woodstock, Ont.
Kelsey Rocque, Edmonton
Shannon Kleibrink, Okotoks, Alta.
Nadine Scotland, Calgary
Shannon Birchard, Winnipeg
Theresa Breen, Halifax
Sherry Middaugh, Coldwater, Ont.
Jacqueline Harrison, Mississauga, Ont.
Kerri Einarson, East St. Paul, Man.
Krista McCarville, Thunder Bay, Ont.
Karla Thompson, Kamloops, B.C.
Briane Meilleur, Winnipeg
Darcy Robertson, Winnipeg
Robertson vs. Middaugh
Scotland vs. Rocque
Tippin vs. Birchard
Einarson vs. Thompson
Breen vs. Fleury
Murphy vs. Morris
Bice vs. Howard
Meilleur vs. Harrison