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Canadian rinks look to defend world junior curling titles at home


LIVERPOOL, N.S. — The Scotties Tournament of Hearts isn't the only big curling event in Nova Scotia for the next week.

The Queens Place Emera Centre in Liverpool, N.S., will be hosting the world junior championships, while the national women's championship takes place at the same time in Sydney, N.S.

Canada is looking to defend gold in both the women's and men's divisions at the world juniors.

Alberta skip Selena Sturmay looks to guide Canada to the podium for the sixth consecutive year. The Edmonton-based rink also features third Abby Marks, second Kate Goodhelpsen and lead Paige Papley.

Alternate Karlee Burgess helped Kaitlyn Jones's Nova Scotia rink win wold junior gold last year in Aberdeen, Scotland.

B.C.'s Tyler Tardi, meanwhile, is back to represent Canada for the third year in a row after capturing the world junior men's title last season.

Canada is aiming for a 20th world junior men's crown.

Tardi has a new lineup that includes his longtime teammate Sterling Middleton at third, and a new front end of second Matt Hall, who relocated this season from Ontario, and lead Alex Horvath.

Tardi opens play in the first draw on Saturday night against Andrew Stopera of the United States, who won silver in 2017 and finished fourth in 2018.

The Canadian women open Sunday morning against Scotland's Lisa Davie.

Top contenders on the women's side include South Korea's Min Ji Kim, who won gold in the third leg of the Curling World Cup earlier this month in Sweden, as well as Norway's Maia Ramsfjell, who lost the 2018 world junior bronze-medal game to China.

On the men's side, 2018 silver medallist Ross Whyte of Scotland returns.

The top four teams in each 10-team division advance to the playoffs.

The Canadian Press

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