The Players’ Championship is the fourth and final major on the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season and is the crown jewel event of the series.
The event predates the GSOC itself and was first held in Calgary in 1993. The powerhouse team of Russ Howard, Glenn Howard, Wayne Middaugh, and Peter Corner claimed the inaugural Players’ Championship title. It was a dream season for the rink as they also won the Brier and world championships that year.
Middaugh won three of four Players’ Championship tournaments from 1999 to 2002, with a loss to Martin in the 2000 final denying a four-peat.
A women’s division was added in 2006 and was won by Jennifer Jones, who has since skipped her team to a record five Players’ Championship women’s titles.
John Epping, who won the National in 2008 with Middaugh’s team, earned his first Grand Slam title as a skip in 2012, edging Glenn Howard 7-6 in the final and avenging a loss to Team Howard earlier that season in the Masters final. It was also extra special for Epping’s second Scott Howard, who earned his first-ever Grand Slam title in the process by defeating his father Glenn.
The 2013 Players’ Championship women’s final came down to a world championship rematch between Scotland’s Eve Muirhead and Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson. The world champs prevailed again as Muirhead’s rink became the first non-Canadian team to win a Grand Slam of Curling event.
It was an emotional 2014 Players’ Championship with legendary skip Kevin Martin announcing he would retire at the conclusion of the event. Martin reached the final against Brad Jacobs in a matchup between the 2010 Olympic gold medallist (Martin) and the recently crowned 2014 Olympic champion (Jacobs). Martin capped his career on a high note winning 4-3 to earn his record 18th Grand Slam title.
Jacobs was back in the title picture the following year looking to earn his first career Grand Slam title at the 2015 Players’ Championship in Toronto. The Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., skip faced off against Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen, who had already won two GSOC championships during a sensational tour season. Jacobs stole the winning point in the final end to claim not only the Players’ Championship title but also the Rogers Grand Slam Cup.
It was deja vu on the women’s side with Muirhead taking home the Players’ Championship title once again in Toronto. Muirhead stole points in the final two ends to beat Russia’s Anna Sidorova 4-2.
Muirhead then made it three in four years defeating Jones to capture the 2016 Players’ Championship crown. Brad Gushue took the men’s title topping defending champ Jacobs to complete a career Grand Slam.
The Rogers Grand Slam Cup is awarded to the men’s and women’s teams that have accumulated the most bonus points over the course of the season upon conclusion of the Players’ Championship. Points are distributed at the Players’ Championship as per below:
1st place: 25 points
2nd place: 19 points
3rd & 4th place: 15 points
5th – 8th place: 11 points
2 point per win for all other teams
For up-to-date standings and more information on the Rogers Grand Slam Cup, click here.
1992-93: Russ Howard, Glenn Howard, Wayne Middaugh, Peter Corner
1993-94: Kevin Martin, Kevin Park, James Pahl, Don Bartlett
1994-95: Murray McEachern, Rick Schneider, Daryl Nixon, Larry Schneider
1995-96: Wayne Middaugh, Graeme McCarrel, Ian Tetley, Scott Bailey
1996-97: Russ Howard, Glenn Howard, Scott Patterson, Phil Loevenmark
1997-98: Kevin Martin, Don Walchuk, Rudy Ramcharan, Marcel Rocque
1998-99: Wayne Middaugh, Graeme McCarrel, Ian Tetley, Scott Bailey
1999-2000: Kevin Martin, Don Walchuk, Carter Rycroft, Don Bartlett
2000-01: Wayne Middaugh, Graeme McCarrel, Ian Tetley, Scott Bailey