Homan, Lawes earn 1st-round victories at PointsBet Invitational

Rachel Homan jumped out to an early five-point lead and rolled to a comfortable 8-4 victory over Suzanne Birt on Thursday afternoon at the PointsBet Invitational.

Homan, who throws fourth on a team now skipped by third Tracy Fleury, threw 89 per cent in the first-round victory at Willie O’Ree Place.

  • CBC Sports’ That Curling Show, hosted by Devin Heroux and Colleen Jones, returns Thursday at 9 p.m. ET live on the CBC Sports YouTube channel and CBC Olympics’ Facebook and Twitter feeds. Jennifer Jones joins as the crew discusses all the new Canadian rinks as well as the inaugural mixed doubles curling series.

Kaitlyn Lawes outscored Emily Deschenes 10-8 and Kristie Moore, filling in for absent skip Casey Scheidegger, edged Kerry Galusha 8-7.

Penny Barker scored three points in the 10th end for a 10-9 win over Hollie Duncan in the lone early upset.

First-round men’s play was scheduled for Thursday night at the single-knockout competition.

Play continues through Sunday.

‘Name game’ 

The name game was played before Thursday’s opening draw at the PointsBet Invitational as the Team Fleury name was iced in favour of Team Homan.

The team asked event organizers to make the switch and Curling Canada agreed to the change for this event, a federation spokesman said in an email.

Fleury joined the powerhouse rink in the off-season and is serving as skip while throwing third stones. Homan, who skipped the team last season, still throws last rock on a rink that includes second Emma Miskew and lead Sarah Wilkes.

Curling teams are traditionally named after the skip’s surname.

However, making things confusing for curling fans was that the Ottawa-based team was called Team Fleury in the lead-up to the Season of Champions event in Fredericton.

World curling rankings also use Team Fleury, as does event sponsor PointsBet Canada.

Rights-holder TSN has used both names in its preview content and television graphics. The network used Team Homan for the third-seeded team’s 8-4 victory over No. 14 Birt on Thursday afternoon.

Team Homan was the name of choice for the squad’s season-opening bonspiel earlier this month at the Saville Shootout in Edmonton. The Grand Slam of Curling Series circuit is also using Team Homan.

If the team qualifies for the national championship – the Feb. 17-26 Scotties Tournament of Hearts — it will be called Team Fleury, a Curling Canada spokesman said.

It wasn’t the only name game wrinkle at the inaugural PointsBet Invitational.

Some of the 32 teams in the field are sponsored by competing sportsbooks and are not referring to the event by its actual name.

Team Homan, which has CoolBet has a sponsor, calls the competition the Curling Canada Invitational on its website.

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