John Morris doesn’t have to worry about missing out on the Humpty’s Champions Cup.
The Vernon, B.C., team of Morris, fourth Jim Cotter, second Tyrel Griffith and lead Rick Sawatsky captured the Princess Auto Elite 10 title to earn a spot in the season-ending Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event, running April 25-30 at WinSport Arena at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.
Morris topped Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., 1-up during Sunday’s final in Port Hawkesbury, N.S.
Teams must win a high-profile event over the course of the season in order to receive an invite. Since eight of the nine other regular tour teams competing in the Princess Auto Elite 10 already had their spots locked up (the special Elite 10 Select squad was ineligible to earn the berth) it was just Morris who was in the hunt looking for a ticket.
“It’s huge,” said Morris, who skips while throwing third stones. “Calgary is where I pretty much base myself out of out west. To be able to have a big curling tournament, to have a Grand Slam there and have my friends and family out there watching I can’t wait. It’s all of the champions of the year. It’s going to be a heck of an event and we’re just glad we were able to qualify for it.”
“It’s big to get into the Champions Cup,” Cotter added. “We’ve been fighting to get in there for a while so it feels good.”
The Princess Auto Elite 10 was their first big win since Morris rejoined the squad at the start of the season. It took a while for them to get the ball rolling on the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling circuit missing the playoffs at the WFG Masters, reaching the quarterfinals at the Tour Challenge and Boost National, and then getting through to the Meridian Canadian Open semifinals. Team Morris also represented B.C. at the Tim Hortons Brier and came close to clinching a playoff spot tied for fifth place. Winning the Princess Auto Elite 10 was just the next level.
“We probably started off a little slow but it’s about climbing that mountain and we’ve been doing that every event,” Cotter said. “It feels like we’re getting better and better. We were pretty good at the Brier and just missed the playoffs by a sliver so it’s really good to come off the Brier and do well here.”
The Humpty’s Champions Cup field is just about set with only the world championships and the WestJet Players’ Championship remain as events with guaranteed spots for teams to qualify. In the event of a double winner, the next-ranked WCT/CCT tournament champ, based on strength of field, will receive an invite to complete the lineup.
Tickets are available for the Humpty’s Champions Cup, visit Ticketmaster.ca or call 1-855-985-5000.
HUMPTY’S CHAMPIONS CUP FIELD
2016 Humpty’s Champions Cup Reid Carruthers
2016 Humpty’s Champions Cup Jennifer Jones
WFG Masters Tour Challenge (Tier 1) European Championship Niklas Edin
WFG Masters Allison Flaxey
Boost National Brad Jacobs
Tour Challenge (Tier 1) Val Sweeting
Meridian Canadian Open Tim Hortons Brier Brad Gushue
Boost National Kerri Einarson
Princess Auto Elite 10 John Morris
Meridian Canadian Open Casey Scheidegger
WestJet Players’ Championship
WestJet Players’ Championship
European Championship Victoria Moiseeva
Pacific-Asia Championship Yusuke Morozumi
U.S. National Championship John Shuster
World Junior Championship Isabella Wranå
WCT/CCT: Shorty Jenkins Classic Kevin Koe
Scotties Tournament of Hearts Rachel Homan
WCT/CCT: Direct Horizontal Drilling Fall Classic Steve Laycock
U.S. National Championship Jamie Sinclair
WCT/CCT: Baden Masters Peter de Cruz
WCT/CCT: Colonial Square Ladies Classic Bingyu Wang
WCT/CCT: Challenge de Curling de Gatineau John Epping
WCT/CCT: Stockholm Ladies Cup Anna Hasselborg
WCT/CCT: Tour Challenge Tier 2 Greg Balsdon
WCT/CCT: Women’s Masters Basel Eve Muirhead
*WCT/CCT: DEKALB Superspiel Mike McEwen
**WCT/CCT: Stu Sells Oakville Tankard Silvana Tirinzoni
* World junior men’s championship winner Ki Jeong Lee declined his invitation, thus opening up a spot for another WCT/CCT winner.
** Pacific-Asia women’s championship winner EunJung Kim declined her invitation, thus opening up a spot for another WCT/CCT winner.