OTTAWA — Curling Canada is expanding the field for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and Tim Hortons Brier.
The usual 16-team field will have two extra wild-card teams when play begins next month in the so-called bubble at Calgary’s Markin MacPhail Centre.
BREAKING NEWS: The 2021 Tim Hortons Brier and Scotties Tournament of Hearts will have 18-team fields.
— Curling Canada (@CurlingCanada) January 13, 2021
The play-in game was cancelled so there will be three wild-card teams in all, along with the defending champions and 14 provincial representatives for each competition.
The federation says that several high-performance teams were denied the opportunity to qualify this season since several associations cancelled their playdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The final rankings from last season will be used to determine the two teams that would have played in the wild-card game. Instead, they will get automatic entry in the main draw.
— Sandra Prusina (@sprusina) January 12, 2021
A third wild-card entry — bringing the field to 18 — will be granted entry on criteria “to be determined,” which would allow for a balanced draw featuring two pools of nine teams.