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HIGH ACHIEVERS WEEKEND WRAP: Team Homan battles from start to finish for record-extending 13th Grand Slam title

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By Martin Cleary

Never give up, whether it’s early and/or late in a major competition.

The opening phase of the KIOTI Tractor Champions Cup in Regina was a nervous, nail-biter for the Ottawa Curling Club rink of Rachel Homan.

But in the end, her rejigged rink nailed it and emerged as Champion Cup champions, which allowed Homan to earn a record-extending 13th Grand Slam of Curling title.

After her first three games in the five-game preliminary round, the Homan rink was in the bottom half of the 12-team draw with a 1-2 record. Only the top six teams qualified for the playoffs.

Homan opened the competition by defeating eventual preliminary-round winner Tabitha Peterson of the United States 7-4 with a big five-pointer in the fifth end. Everything looked good at that point. But the Homan rink plummeted in the standings with sharply contrasting losses – 10-0 (five ends) to Jennifer Jones and 10-8 (extra end) to the Anna Hasselborg rink of Sweden, which was skipped by Agnes Knochenhauer.

If Homan wanted to elevate her rink to playoff status, the team needed to win its final two preliminary matches. Competing in her 21st consecutive season of curling, Homan converted three-point fifth ends in each of her last two matches to spark a 6-3 win over Marianne Roervik of Norway and 7-5 over four-time world champion Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland.

Homan finished in a seven-way tie for second place behind Peterson at 4-1 and was one of five rinks from the deadlocked group to qualify for the playoffs.

Once in the playoffs, Homan produced multiple high-scoring ends to turn back Knochenhauer 7-6 in the quarterfinals (five points in the fourth end) as well as Peterson 9-2 in the semifinals (four in the fourth end, three in the match-ending sixth).

The championship match was a reflection of Homan’s whole competition.

Homan earned the hammer by winning the closest-to-the-button shootout, but it was defending champion Kerri Einarson of Gimli, MB., who stole single points in the first and second ends and two in the third end for a commanding 4-0 advantage.

But Homan stepped up with one in the four and stole one each in the fifth and sixth ends to reduce her deficit to 4-3. Einarson added one in the seventh end and Homan responded with a match-tying two in the eighth using the hammer to force an extra end.

Einarson used the final stone of the ninth end to angle one of her stones into a Homan rock covering the centre of the rings. The Homan stone moved only slightly as it hit another Homan rock immediately behind, swung up to cover the centre pin and edged the Einarson stone by only a few millimetres for a one-point steal and the victory.

The Homan rink won the $25,000 first prize from the total women’s and men’s purse of $210,000.

“Even the way that we won was pretty gritty and never let up,” Homan told reporter Jonathan Brazeau. “Obviously, we struggled with the ice conditions early, but we figured them out and kept making more shots.”

The victory was Homan’s second Grand Slam of Curling championship this season, after capturing the HearingLife Tour Challenge. Homan played in a third Grand Slam final this season, but lost to Einarson at the WRF Masters in Oakville.

“It was just an unreal feeling to win and battle back. Obviously, we have a different lineup this week, so some new challenges with a new lineup and team. It was just a great effort by our team,” she added.

Homan, who announced she is pregnant with her third child, returned to being skip and put aside the sweeping duties she inherited this season to allow Tracy Fleury to serve as skip. Rachelle Brown joined Team Homan for the final two competitions to replace lead Sarah Wilkes, who went on maternity leave in April. Emma Miskew, who has played with Homan for all 21 years, remained at second.

“We had a phenomenal season as a team and it just goes to show you how much work we put in that we were able to perform right away as a new team,” said Homan, whose squad did a lot of team-building exercises with TikTok postings.

Ryan Fry coaches Team Homan and was truly impressed by the squad’s overall performance.

“A team’s true character comes out when they can face adversity head on and never let themselves give up,” he posted on Twitter. “I am so proud of @TeamHoman and everything you give to being the best you can be. Enjoy the win ladies.”


The Ottawa Jr. Senators are off to this week’s Centennial Cup national junior A hockey championship in Portage la Prairie, MB., after winning its fourth consecutive Central Canada Hockey League Bogart Cup.

After losing the first two games to the Smiths Falls Bears, the Jr. Senators won four of the next five, including the seventh game by a decisive 6-2 margin on home ice at the Fred Barrett Arena.

The Jr. Senators scored two goals in each period in the best-of-seven finale. Chase Lammi, who was traded near the end of 2022 to the Jr. Senators after three years with the Kemptville 73s, powered the winners with two goals and two assists.

The Sudbury-born Lammi counted 10 goals and 14 assists in 17 CCHL playoff games for Ottawa. In his 20 regular-season games for the Jr. Senators, he notched 12 goals and added 10 assists.

“I didn’t ask them to try to trade me to a particular team, but I’m very happy it ended up being Ottawa,” Lammi told reporter Warren Rappleyea several weeks ago. “When I got here, I could see right away why this is a first-place team.

“It’s like a pro-level experience. Everything is structured, the competition in practice is crazy tough. We go to the gym every day. This is a team destined to winning.”

Ottawa finished the regular season with the best CCHL regular-season record of 42-8-5 and won the Yzerman Division pennant.

Emile Villiard, Wil Murphy, Andrew Uturo and Owen Protz completed the scoring for the Jr. Senators. Sean James, who was named to the CCHL’s All-Graduate Team, and Riley Thompson scored for Smiths Falls.

The Bears forced a seventh game, when they defeated Ottawa 3-2 in overtime in Game 6. Owen Watson scored the winner at the 56-second mark.

The Jr. Senators will play four preliminary round games at the Centennial Cup over six days – Cobras de Terrebonne (Friday, 12:30 p.m. EST), Brooks Bandits (Saturday, 4:30 p.m.), Yarmouth Mariners (Monday, May 15, 12:30 p.m.) and Timmins Rock (May 17, 12:30 p.m.).


The 80+ Hockey Hall of Fame game took place Saturday at the Bell Sensplex and concluded with the induction of 30 new members from Ottawa, North Bay, Pembroke, Oshawa, Fawcett, AB., and Otonabee, ON.

The hall of fame is strictly for active players who are 80 years old or older and are considered good sportsmen by their peers. There are now 306 inductees in the 80+ Hockey Hall of Fame.

The inducted players received a personalized jersey with their name and favourite hockey number.

Entering the hall from Ottawa were Herb Brennan, Jack Nield, Roy Vankoughnett, Gerald Trottier, Louis Grzela, Clint Matthews, Larry Pickard, Peter Anderson, Jim Fooks, Louis-Philippe Coulombe, Frank Vigneron and Jack Lapointe, all with the Elderskatesmen; Barclay Frost and Ed Ratushny, both with the Octokids; Larry Doshen, Don Puccini, Paul Morin, Joe Derraugh, Richard Lowry, Father Paul Tennyson, Bill Purdy, Norm Rosolen, and Ron Shostal, all with the Silver Foxes; and Ray Donovan, with the Gloucester 98s.


Ottawa Fusion Purple defeated EVP Eagles Green 2-1 in the best-of-three final to capture the Canadian girls’ 14U Tier 5 volleyball championship at Carleton University.

After a combined record of 1-5 in its preliminary and power-pool matches, the Purple were undefeated in its three playoff games.

Outaouais Griffons Blancs were the Tier 6 champion, after a 2-1 decision against Elans Blancs.

The Maverick Raiders earned the Tier 8 silver medals, after defeating EVP Eagles Bodanis 2-1.

At the national boys’ 14U championships, Outaouais Griffons lost the Tier 2 final 2-0 to REACH VertX and claimed the silver medal.


National team players Patrice Dagenais of Embrun, ON., and Benjamin Perkins of North Augusta, ON., helped Ontario Lightning go undefeated in five games and win the Canadian wheelchair rugby championship in Moncton, N.B.

The Lightning defeated Ontario Thunder 61-55 in the final. Earlier, the Lightning outscored Quebec 63-34, British Columbia 59-47, Alberta 63-48 and the Thunder 57-50.


University of British Columbia defensive lineman Lake Korte-Moore was selected third in the first round of the CFL Draft by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He was ranked No. 13 entering the draft.

Jonathan Sutherland, a linebacker with Penn State University, was the No. 5 pick by the Montreal Alouettes.

The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees had five players chosen in the draft: James Peter, linebacker, Ottawa Redblacks, No. 12, round 2; Daniel Oladejo, wide receiver, Ottawa Redblacks, No. 17, round 2; Campbell Fair, kicker, Calgary Stampeders, No. 51, round 6; Amlicar Polk, running back, Ottawa Redblacks, No. 58, round 7; and Mac Charbonneau, linebacker, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, No. 71, round 8.

Queen’s University Gaels’ wide receiver Richard Burton of Ottawa was taken by the Toronto Argonauts No. 47 in round 6.


· Kate Miller of the Nepean-Ottawa Diving Club and Olympian Caeli McKay placed fifth in the women’s 10-metre synchro competition at the World Aquatics Diving World Cup in Montreal. Competing in their first major international meet together, they compiled 286.08 points, which was nine-tenths of a point ahead of sixth-place Japan and only 1.44 points behind fourth-place Ukraine.

· Derek Gee of Osgoode, ON., is in 46th place after the first three stages of the Giro d’Italia. He placed 50th in the opening individual time trial and was 52nd in Monday’s Stage 3 race over 213 kilometres. He is two minutes and 48 seconds behind leader Remco Evenepoel of Soudal-Quick Step.

· Ottawa’s Glenroy Gilbert was selected coach of the year for 2022 and winner of the Dr. Doug Clement Award by Athletics Canada “based on coaching strategy and decisions made for the athletes to perform at their best.” Gilbert was head coach of the national team, which won one gold, two silver and one bronze medals at the 2022 world championships in Eugene, Oregon, including a men’s 4×100-metre relay victory in a Canadian record 37.48 seconds.

· Ottawa Rowing Club athletes and coaches remain on shore and the club is closed for the rest of the week because of high water levels on the Ottawa River. “We are monitoring the situation closely and apologize for the inconvenience,” the club wrote in a Twitter message.

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 50 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at

Martin can be reached by e-mail at and on Twitter @martincleary.

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