STONEWALL, MAN. — Alberta's Aaron Sluchinski, Manitoba's Reid Carruthers and wild-card Kevin Koe completed the 18-team field for the national men's curling championship Sunday.
Carruthers, whose team is skipped by Brad Jacobs, doubled Braden Calvert 6-3 in Manitoba's men's final in Stonewall.
Jacobs, winner of 11 Northern Ontario championships and an Olympic gold medal in 2014, came out of retirement to join Carruthers' team last year. Carruthers announced in December his shift to throwing third stones to make Jacobs his skip.
Jacobs will wear Manitoba colours March 1-10 at the Montana's Brier in Regina.
"This was an eye-opening experience for me," Jacobs told Curl Manitoba. "I've never played a provincial championship in Manitoba before.
"There's a ton of talent here. There's great young teams and players coming up. Team Calvert, obviously a world-class team. They played awesome today. I feel for them right now. It sucks to lose that final, but I'm sure they'll keep working hard and we have a ton of respect for them."
Jacobs, Carruthers, second Derek Samagalski and Connor Njegovan led 4-3 after eight ends Sunday. Calvert blanked the ninth and gave up a steal of two in the 10th.
Sluchinski upset Koe 6-3 in Alberta's final Sunday. Sluchinski, third Jeremy Harty, second Kerr Drummond and lead Dylan Webster from the Airdrie Curling Club scored two in the first end and stole a point in the seventh to lead 5-1.
After blanking the eighth, Koe scored two to trail by two coming home without hammer. Sluchinski hit against three Koe stones to secure the provincial title in Hinton.
Four-time Brier champion Koe earned the third and final wild-card berth by virtue of this season's highest national rank among non-qualified men's teams at No. 3.
The 2024 Brier will feature three teams from Alberta.
Under new Curling Canada entry criteria, Alberta's Brendan Bottcher and Manitoba's Matt Dunstone pre-qualified for the 2024 Brier last year based on their rankings at the end of the 2022-23 season. Gushue returns to the Brier as defending champion.
Other teams headed to Regina are Saskatchewan's Mike McEwen, B.C.'s Catlin Schneider, Newfoundland and Labrador's Andrew Symonds, New Brunswick's James Grattan, Northern Ontario's Trevor Bonot, Jamie Koe of the Northwest Territories, Ontario's Glenn Howard, Nova Scotia's Matthew Manuel, Nunavut's Shane Latimer, Prince Edward Island's Tyler Smith, Quebec's Julien Tremblay and Yukon's Thomas Scoffin.
The winner represents Canada at the world men's championship March 30 to April 7 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.
The 18-team Canadian women's curling championship starts Friday in Calgary.
Four-time defending Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion Kerri Einarson returns as Team Canada with Ontario's Rachel Homan and Manitoba's Jennifer Jones pre-qualified based on last season's rankings.
The lineup also includes Northern Ontario's Krista McCarville, B.C.'s Clancy Grandy and Corryn Brown, Quebec's Laurie St-Georges, Kerry Galusha of the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia's Heather Smith, Alberta's Selena Sturmay, Manitoba's Kaitlyn Lawes and Kate Cameron, New Brunswick's Melissa Adams, Stacie Curtis of Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario's Danielle Inglis, Jane DiCarlo of Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan's Skylar Ackerman and Yukon's Bayly Scoffin. Nunavut will not enter a team.
The Hearts winner Feb. 25 represents Canada at the women's world curling championship March 16-24 in Sydney, N.S.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 11, 2023.
The Canadian Press
Note to readers: Corrects placeline to Stonewall, Man. An earlier version of this story had the placeline as Stonewall, Miss.