Kaitlyn Lawes playing third for Rachel Homan, Ben Hebert throwing lead stones for U.S. skip John Shuster, and Sweden's Niklas Edin calling games with Scotland's Jennifer Dodds as his vice all are possible scenarios in this year's Continental Cup of Curling.
The format of the annual Ryder-Cup style competition between North American and international sides starting Thursday in Las Vegas will include a day of “scramble” games, in which skips will play alongside thirds and a front-end player from another team.
The Continental Cup still will include traditional team, mixed doubles, and skins games over four days. But Saturday's scramble draws reduce the number of regular team draws from six to two.
The women will shuffle their lineups Saturday morning, with the men following suit in the afternoon.
A mixed scramble at night—with at least one female skip per side—ups the intrigue with skips playing with an unfamiliar vice of the other gender.
“So you are going to have skips with new thirds, leads with new seconds,” explained Nolan Thiessen, Curling Canada's manager of championship services.
“It's going to be mixed up in that the back ends are going to be a different dynamic and the front ends are going to be a different dynamic.”