NEWS
09/02/2015 12:20 EDT | Updated 09/02/2016 01:12 EDT

Some new-look teams will take to the ice as new curling season begins

Scott Howard was the first one on the ice to celebrate when his father skipped the Canadian team to a world curling title three years ago in Basel, Switzerland.

At the time, Howard was an alternate. Now he's hoping to return to such heights as a full-time player on the squad.

Howard will serve as lead on a revamped Team Glenn Howard this season. Longtime teammate Wayne Middaugh has returned as third and Richard Hart will play as the second.

"I bring a lot of youth and a lot of energy ... and I guess I bring a new spice to the team," Howard said in a recent interview.

The new-look rink is one of a number of rejigged lineups this season, which kicks off in earnest Thursday at the Stu Sells Ontario Tankard. The triple-knockout event at the Oakville Curling Club boasts a field that includes reigning world champions Niklas Edin of Sweden and Alina Paetz of Switzerland along with 2014 Olympic champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg.

Calgary's Chelsea Carey is set to play with retired skip Heather Nedohin's former team at the event. The new lineup includes veteran curlers Amy Nixon and Laine Peters along with former national junior champ Jocelyn Peterman.

"They have better resumes than I do," said Carey, who was eighth on last season's Canadian Team Ranking System. "So it's exciting because they certainly have been there and done that and know what it takes. And (they) know how to win on the big stage, which is huge."

World junior champ Kelsey Rocque has moved in as skip of the Edmonton team that Carey played on last season. Other rinks in the Oakville women's field include Ottawa's Rachel Homan, Russia's Anna Sidorova, Edmonton's Val Sweeting and Saskatoon's Stefanie Lawton.  

Other top rinks in the men's draw include Winnipeg's Reid Carruthers, Toronto's John Epping, 2006 Olympic champion Brad Gushue of St. John's, Calgary's Kevin Koe and Scotland's David Murdoch.

Howard's rink plans to make its season debut at next week's Grand Slam of Curling in Paradise, N.L. It's the first of seven Slam events on the campaign. 

The team had some disappointing results last season, including a surprise exit in a qualifying event ahead of the provincial playdowns. Scott Howard, meanwhile, represented Ontario at the Tim Hortons Brier with skip Mark Kean.

"I was pretty happy to make it to the Brier this year, it was definitely a goal of mine," Howard said. "But now the next step is to win it."

Glenn Howard, from Penetanguishene, Ont., won his fourth career world title in 2012. 

His first title came in 1987 with brother Russ as skip and they won again six years later. Glenn skipped his side to another victory in 2007. 

Ottawa will host this season's Brier from March 5-13 and the world men's curling championship will return to Basel from Apr. 2-10. The Scotties Tournament of Hearts will be held Feb. 20-28 in Grande Prairie, Alta., and the world women's curling championship is set for March 19-27 in Swift Current, Sask.

Switzerland's Silvana Tirinzoni is the defending women's champion at the Stu Sells Ontario Tankard while Winnipeg's Mike McEwen won the 2014 men's title. The women's purse is $30,400 this year and the men's purse is $27,200. 

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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press