Rachel Homan headlines Canadian mixed doubles event

Rachel Homan will attempt to keep her streak alive, though this time she won't be able to lean on her world champion teammates.

This week, the Ottawa skip will be paired with three-time Brier champion John Morris of Winnipeg at the Canadian mixed doubles curling championship in Saskatoon, starting Wednesday.

Homan is fresh off her first world title, an 8-3 victory over Russia on March 26 with her teammates Emma Miskew (vice-skip), second Joanne Courtney and lead Lisa Weagle.

Homan won all 13 matches in Beijing after posting a 12-2 record to win her third Canadian (Scotties) championship. Her most recent loss came against Manitoba's Michelle Englot in a Page playoff game at the Scotties event in late February in St. Catharines, Ont.

Courtney and Weagle will also be competing at the Nutana Curling Club, partnered with Reid Carruthers and John Epping, respectively.

For the first time, CBC Sports will offer live streaming of the weekend games, beginning Saturday at 10:30 a.m. ET with round robin play at CBCSports.ca or via the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android. That will be followed by the round of 12 (10 p.m.), quarter-finals (Sunday, 11 a.m.), semifinals (2 p.m.) and final at 5 p.m.

Thirty two teams, including Olympic gold medallists and world champions, have been seeded and will play a round robin within their pool. The winner from each of the four pools will receive a bye to the quarter-finals along with the best eight squads, based on win-loss record and regardless of pool.

Different format

Viewers will notice this week's format, which will be used when mixed doubles makes its debut as a medal sport at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang next February, differs from the regular four-member teams in mixed curling.

The mixed doubles format is played over eight ends rather than the usual 10 and each team has only six stones, not eight as in the established four-person game, with one pre-positioned in or near the house before each end of play.

The player delivering a team's first stone must also throw the last stone of that end while the other player will deliver the second, third and fourth stones. The two players may change roles from one end to the next and both are allowed to sweep.

Homan and her teammates will have home-ice advantage at the Roar of the Rings Olympic qualifying tournament from Dec. 2-10 in Ottawa, but first will try to deepen their pockets as this week's winner will take home $5,100. The winning pair will also represent Canada at the world mixed doubles championship April 22-29 in Lethbridge, Alta.

The top three teams gain entry to next year's Canadian Olympic mixed doubles curling trials Jan. 2-7 at a site to be announced.

Should Homan gain an Olympic berth with the women's team and mixed doubles, she would only be able to play one of the disciplines, according to Curling Canada director of communication and media relations Al Cameron.

Last year's winner and runner-up, Brett Gallant (with Jocelyn Peterman) and Geoff Walker (with Laura Crocker) won't be in Saskatoon this week as they are currently in Edmonton competing at the world men's championship with Canadian skip Brad Gushue.

Mixed doubles teams

Pool A: Rachel Homan and John Morris; Marliese Kasner and Dustin Kalthoff; Kim and Wayne Tuck; Jill Officer and Pat Simmons.

Pool B: Joanne Courtney and Reid Carruthers; Kaitlyn Lawes and Ryan Fry; Brendan Bottcher and Dana Ferguson; Mark Dacey and Jennifer Baxter.

Pool C: Lisa Weagle and John Epping; Chelsea Carey and Colin Hodgson; Jim Cotter and daughter Jaelyn.

Pool D: Jennifer Jones and Brent Laing (husband and wife); Dawn McEwen and Mike McEwen (husband and wife); Kalynn Virtue and Charley Thomas; Robert Desjardins with daughter Emilie.