Local curling fans are in for a treat over the next few days.
The Fort Frances Curling Club is hosting the U21 men's and women's provincial playdowns tonight through Saturday—and club president Ron Silver is expecting some top-notch play.
The Tanner Horgan rink (Sudbury), which won silver at the U21 nationals this past season, will be on hand to defend their provincial men's title.
Former Muskie Hailey Beaudry, meanwhile, is skipping a rink out of the Fort William C.C. (Thunder Bay) in the women's division that captured the silver medal at the university national championships earlier this year.
As well, Silver noted the Horgan rink, along with two members of the Kira Brunton rink of Sudbury that will be competing here in the women's division, are just back from an event in China.
They were scheduled to arrive home in Sudbury on Christmas Eve, then turn right around to head to Fort Frances for the U21 provincials.
A pair of local rinks, skipped by Chris Silver and Jason Bazylewski, are vying to knock off Horgan in the five-team men's division.
The Silver rink will feature Daniel Vandenbrand at third, Jonathon Vellinga at second, and Connor Mangoff at lead, with Ron Silver as the coach.
Vellinga and Mangoff both curl out of the Thunder Bay area.
Playing on the Bazylewski rink will be Nick Teeple (third), Griffin Garuk of Atikokan (second), and Owen Riches (lead), with Charlotte Bazylewski as coach.
Nicholas Lemieux (Sault Ste. Marie) and Mark Robinson (Sudbury) round out the rinks in the men's division.
Meanwhile, four teams will compete in the women's division, including one from Fort Frances skipped by Tori Beaudry.
Her rink is comprised of Katrina Slomke (third), Ashley Payne (second), and Andrea Schram (lead), with Kim Beaudry serving as coach.
The Hailey Beaudry quartet includes Kendra Lemieux (third), Emily Cooney (second), and former Muskie Erin Tomalty (lead), with their coach being Dick Henderson.
Camille Daly (Sudbury) and Brunton round out the women's division rinks.
Opening ceremonies take place tonight (Dec. 27) at 6:30 p.m., with the first draw to follow at 7:30 p.m.
Three draws will be held tomorrow at 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., with round-robin action wrapping up Friday for 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The men's division features a straight round-robin format while the women will play a double round-robin.
The top two teams in each division then advance to the finals on Saturday.
But just when they'll take place depends on whether tie-breakers are needed.
If there are no ties, the final will go at 10 a.m. Should one tie-breaker be needed, it will be held Saturday at 9 a.m., with the final set for 2 p.m.
Should two tie-breakers be needed, they will be played at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, with the final then set for 6 p.m.
The men's and women's champs then will represent Northern Ontario at the national playdowns in mid-January in Shawinigan, Que.
The worlds will be held in Aberdeen, Scotland later this spring.