The Ontario Men’s Curling Championship tournament begins on Monday at the Cornwall Civic Complex.
Nine rinks have qualified for the six-day event, which runs from Jan. 26 to Feb. 2, with the winner advancing to the Tim Hortons Brier at the Leon’s Centre in Kingston, Ont., from Feb. 29 to March 8.
The provincial champions from the Cataraqui Curling Club in Kingston are back to defend their title.
The rink includes Scott McDonald, Jonathan Beuk, Wesley Forget and Scott Chadwick. They won last year’s Ontario Tankard in Elmira, defeating John Epping 8-2 in the championship final.
The team has committed to staying together for the 2019-20 season in hopes of qualifying for the Brier in their hometown.
The Kingston foursome looks forward to making the big shots in Cornwall.
“Were excited to have the opportunity to defend our title,” said Scott Chadwick, the team’s lead.
The Napanee native says the competition next week will be extremely difficult to beat.
“There are some very good teams that qualified,” he said.
“We will face two of the best teams in the world in John Epping and Glen Howard. There’s also some talented new teams to the Tankard that can’t be taken lightly. We’ve got our hands full, but we believe we have the ability and the right chemistry to prevail for the second year in a row.”
The Kingston rink will open the tournament on Monday at 8 p.m. against a team from Ottawa skipped by Jason Camm.
Other rinks hoping to earn a berth in the Brier are skipped by Matthew Hall, Steve Allen, Pat Ferris, Mark Kean and John Willsey.
Nine of the best women’s teams will compete in Cornwall as well.
The winner will represent Ontario at the Scott Tournament of Hearts from Feb. 15 to 23 in Moose Jaw, Sask.
Rachel Homan’s rink from Ottawa is back to defend their title.