Jamie Sinclair at the 2015 Tour Challenge in Paradise, N.L. (Photo: Anil Mungal)

Women’s curling stars set for expanded National

November 6, 2015, 11:49 AM

It’s going to be double the action and excitement at the National this season in Oshawa, Ont.

The third event, and second major, on the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling schedule had been a men’s invitational since the inaugural season of the series, but has now expanded to include a women’s division.

This brings the total number of women’s tournaments on the Pinty’s GSOC circuit up to six, double from last season with the addition of the all-new Tour Challenge and Champions Cup events as well.

Team Rachel Homan second Joanne Courtney expressed how awesome it is that the National has now grown to feature both men’s and women’s fields.

“The fact that we have extra Slams this year on the women’s tour is really exciting,” said Courtney, winner of the most recent Pinty’s GSOC event, the Masters. “The high-profile events are always a lot of fun to play in. You’re in an arena, there are all the fans and they’re a lot of fun. They’re great for us to keep getting better. The Scotties are on arena ice too so it’s perfect for us to continue to work on our skills on that surface.”

Team Jennifer Jones lead Dawn McEwen is also keen on competing in the National for the first time.

“When we heard the news we were really excited,” said McEwen, 2014 Olympic gold medallist and a four-time Players’ Championship winner. “It’s always amazing to play in the Slams. It’s such a privilege and we’re looking forward to it.”

Jamie Sinclair guided her squad to the Tier 2 division semifinals at the Tour Challenge in September and now gets the opportunity to face the elite teams for the first time at a Pinty’s GSOC event as a skip as she looks to take another step on the road to achieving her dream of representing the U.S. at the Olympics.

“We’re very excited to be playing in the National,” Sinclair said. “We love playing the bigs teams; we’re learning a lot and getting some really valuable experience. My team and I have been working hard and I’m confident we’ll play well and have a good showing in Oshawa.”

Watch our GSOC Spotlight to learn more about Jamie Sinclair

The National has been held annually since the inaugural GSOC season in 2001-02 and now joins the Masters, Canadian Open and Players’ Championship as majors on tour to feature both men’s and women’s competitions.

The Players’ Championship was the first to double its field to include a women’s division in 2006. The Masters expanded in 2012 and the Canadian Open followed suit last season.

The National runs Nov. 10-15 at the General Motors Centre in Oshawa, Ont. Click here for ticket information.

Can’t make it to Oshawa? Watch the National live starting Nov. 12 at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT on Sportsnet, at Sportsnet.ca/live, on the Sportsnet App, and with Rogers Anyplace TV. Check our TV schedule here.