Homan foursome looks to continue remarkable run at world curling championship

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It’s been seven years since the last time Rachel Homan represented Canada at the world women’s curling championship and a lot has changed.

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“I’ve got a couple more kids,” the 34-year-old skip of Team Canada said with a laugh on Wednesday.

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“And a bit more experience … I’ve gone through a little bit on the personal side. I’ve been able to figure out what support I need and what that looks like.”

On the ice it’s been a bit of slippery slope for Homan since her team won the world women’s championship in Beijing in 2017.

Homan went to the Olympics in 2018 as the skip of Canada’s women’s entry and in 2022 as part of a mixed doubles team with John Morris.

She didn’t win a medal at either event and struggled with the weight of not meeting her own expectations, nor those of a curling-crazy country.

She also lost the Scotties Tournament of Hearts final three years in a row (2019, 2020, 2021) … you might say the heartbreak was piling up.

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All that turned this season, which has been historically great for the Homan team.

Not only have Homan, third Tracy Fleury, second Emma Miskew and lead Sarah Wilkes won six events, including three Grand Slams and the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, but the foursome has a 47-5 overall record.

We keep having to check that to make sure it’s not a misprint.

It’s hard to even get your head around a team losing only five times in 52 games against many of the best teams on the planet.

“Everyone on our team has put in an amazing amount of work and found the support they need to get their games at the level it needs to be at for us to represent Canada,” said Homan, whose team went 11-0 and beat Jennifer Jones in the Scotties final.

“We feel like we’ve done that this year and we’re excited to get started.”

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The Homan foursome will wear the Maple Leaf and carry the Canadian hopes at the world championships, which start Saturday in Sydney, N.S.

This is a different line-up from the one that won the worlds in 2017 and played in the Olympics in 2022. Gone are front-enders Joanne Courtney and Lisa Weagle, and in are Wilkes at lead and Fleury at third. Miskew has moved from third to second.

But it’s a group that has plenty of experience — all but Fleury have played in the world championship before (Wilkes was third for Chelsea Carey in 2019) — and the kind of skill set that will give them a great shot at winning gold on home soil.

“The record speaks for itself in terms of wins and losses this year,” said David Murdoch, Curling Canada’s High Performance Director.

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“It’s exceptional. The way the team performed at the Scotties was exceptional and you take a lot of confidence from that, I know the team does. It’s a huge amount of preparation this year, they’ve got a great support team around them, and I think that carries on to the ice. We’re super excited to see how the week goes. We’re excited to see what we can do.”

Homan’s team is ranked No. 1 in the world heading into the championship, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Canada is the favourite.

Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni is back again and is seeking an unprecedented fifth straight world title.

Can Homan and Co., actually take the mighty Swiss team down?

They’ve played Tirinzoni three times this year — twice in Grand Slam finals — and won all of the games. Tirinzoni’s record this year is 67-13 so it’s pretty impressive that Homan won all three of the head-to-head meetings.

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Of course, Tirinzoni is not the only obstacle in Canada’s way.

Canada opens with a game against world No. 5 Anna Hasselborg of Sweden and has a date with No. 9 Stefania Constantini of Italy before meeting Switzerland next Tuesday night.

“All year we play against the top-15 or 16 in the world at Slams,” Homan said. “We get to play quite a few international teams and it doesn’t really change.

“The Scotties are a great preparation for worlds. It’s actually shorter than worlds but it’s a good test run. For the most part this is the same tournament, but every country is pouring in all the resources so maybe a little bit harder.”

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Canada has not won a world curling title in men’s and women’s play since 2018 (Jennifer Jones). Homan’s team is surely the best bet to end that streak, considering how well the foursome has played this year.

The team was formed at the beginning of the 2022-23 season and it took a while to gel, but once Fleury and Homan started to get on the same page, things really started humming.

“This is our second year together and our first year was a lot of learning, getting used to each other, adjusting to new roles,” Fleury said. “So we tried not to put too much pressure on ourselves and just kind of get comfortable. Now, in Year 2, I think everyone is settled in and we all have strengths that complement one another and we all have personalities that work well with each other. It’s all just coming together at the right time.”

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While things didn’t work out very well for Canada in 2019 in Silkeborg, Denmark (6-6 record), Wilkes is hopeful her experience playing with Carey that year will make things more comfortable this time around.

“It was the first time for three of us representing Canada and going overseas so it was definitely a steep learning curve,” Wilkes said. “The turnaround time was quite tight between the Scotties and worlds so we will be better prepared for that this time, knowing how it feels, what needs to get done.

“Just the honour that it is to wear the Maple Leaf, it just feels a little different once you get to do it. Having had that experience, having done that, it’s really valuable. To learn from that and not get too overwhelmed by the moment and really embrace it.”

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March 16-24, Sydney Nova Scotia


Canada, Rachel Homan; Denmark, Madeleine Dupont; Estonia, Liisa Turmann; Italy, Stefania Constantini; Japan, Miyu Ueno; Norway, Marianne Roervik; New Zealand, Jessica Smith; Scotland, Rebecca Morrisson; South Korea, Eunji Gim; Sweden, Anna Hasselborg; Switzerland, Silvana Tirinzoni; Turkey, Dilsat Yildiz; United States, Tabitha Peterson.

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