Watch World Curling Championship 2018 Live Stream: Team Canada in Vegas. Firefighters heating up Port Arthur Curling Club ice this week 11 teams competing for Canadian Firefighters Ford World Men’s Championship. Saturday’s sudden-death rounds feature familiar and not-so-familiar faces.
Summer outside, winter inside at men’s world curling championship in Las Vegas. LAS VEGAS — When it comes to curling ice, the old saying is true. It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.
When the temperature hits 31 C outside the Orleans Arena during the men’s world curling championship in Las Vegas, desert heat is manageable as long as the ice plant and air conditioning are working in the building, according to the icemakers.
If the power goes out, we’re done for,” joked ice technician Shawn Olesen.
The 13-country men’s championship kicks off Saturday with defending champion Brad Gushue of Canada opening against former world junior champion Bruce Mouat of Scotland.
This being the desert, the Orleans lacks a dehumidification system. Rain would be a problem. Damp air creeping into an arena causes frost to build up on the ice.
But zero precipitation is predicted for the entire nine-day tournament.
So Olesen, USA Curling’s assistant head ice technician, is confident the ice crews can handle sunscreen-and-shorts temperatures outside.
It’s hot, but it’s not a problem,” he said. “If the weather hangs in, frost won’t be a problem. As long as all the equipment in the building is doing it’s job, you can keep it cool.”
While a dry forecast allows the icemakers to relax somewhat, Olesen says air that is too arid can erode the pebble that allows stones to slide smoothly.
When it is good and dry, you just do a little different pebble,” he explained. “You might go a little bigger.”
Temperature at ice level was below freezing during Friday’s practice sessions, while at the pool less than 100 metres away, people soaked up the rays in 27 C heat.
Curlers and spectators dress for winter inside the Orleans, but there will likely be more sunburned faces than usual at a curling vent.
That’s probably going to be me at some point this week,” Gushue said. “I burn pretty easily.
There’s probably going to be a day or two that I’m going to be looking like the colour of our jackets, but hopefully it turns to a tan pretty quick.”
Gushue, third Mark Nichols, second Brett Gallant and lead Geoff Walker out of the Bally Haly Club in St. John’s, N.L., can walk from the hotel to the arena in their shorts and flip flops before donning their on-ice gear.
They stow their gear at the arena at most events, so in Las Vegas they won’t worry about brooms and sliders warming up on the walk over.
We’re certainly looking forward to getting things started and I’m not worried about the ice or anything like that,” Gushue said. “For us, it’s just treating it like a normal event even though it’s in Las Vegas and there’s so many distractions.
“I do think our discipline is going to be a key factor for us this week and help us avoid a lot of those distractions that maybe some teams will take in, or at least hopefully they do take it in.”
Gushue says he and his teammates have a compelling reason to spend time at the pool, however, and that’s Walker’s upcoming wedding Mexico.
This is our opportunity to get a nice little base tan before we go,” Gushue said. “Outside of that, I don’t see us gambling much. I don’t see us partying at all.
We’re going to be pretty focused and do what we normally do at an event like this other than our rest time might be by the pool as opposed to our rooms.”
The ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers played in the Orleans Arena from 2003 to 2014.
The arena was the site of the Ryder-style Continental Cup of Curling in 2014, 2016 and 2017 pitting North America versus an international roster.
Those events were in January and Olesen was on the ice crews for all three.
The first time they brought up they were going to Vegas for curling, I said ‘you’ve got to be crazy,’ but it’s working right?” he said.
They’ve had the hockey team here in the past and they’ve got a fantastic setup for the ice plant. It’s just a good old horse. The air conditioning is plenty big.
As you can tell in here, it’s plenty cool. We can get down to where ever we need to be to hold the ice.
A pair of curlers from the Peace Region will be hitting the world stage for the Men’s World Curling Championship as part of Team Canada.
Geoff Walker is the lead and Tom Sallows is the alternate for the Brad Gushue team.
After a quick turn around from winning the Brier earlier this month, Canada’s men’s curling team has arrived in Las Vegas for the world championship that starts Saturday.
The team is skipped by Brad Gushue and has Mark Nichols at third and Brett Gallant at second.
Walker says he’s looking forward to getting on the ice in Vegas.
“We are going down a couple of days early to enjoy what Vegas has to offer, and the weather,” said Walker. “Just getting on the ice for that first game on Saturday is going to be really special and I am really looking forward to it.”
He says their fan support is strong and that was built long ago with the following of Gushue and Nichols.
“Early on in Brad and Mark’s careers they had some success, obviously going to the Olympics in ’06 and winning and stealing the hearts of a lot of Canadians, and it just sort of followed our team all the way through,” Walker said during a press conference call Tuesday. “It’s unbelievable for a guy like me and Brett (Gallant) to go to these events and have fans at really such a young age and such an early career.”
Heading into this world championship, Team Canada skip Brad Gushue says there’s no doubt in his mind, Niklas Edin and Team Sweden are their biggest competition.
I think they’re one of the top teams in the world and certainly they’re going to be there at the end of the week,” he said.
Edin and Team Sweden won silver at the Olympics in PyeongChang.
He also is banking on Scotland, South Korea and possibly Norway being around come playoff time.
“There’s a lot of good teams in the field, but certainly I think Niklas is really the one that stands out just because of his success on the World Curling Tour.”
Gushue says they have a lot of fans making the trip to cheer them on with close family and friends joining them as well as other members of their curling club.
“Obviously throughout Canada I think there is going to be thousands of people that are going to be going down,” said Gushue. “I certainly feel like if we are not the crowd favorite (in Vegas), we are going to be number two.”
Canada plays their first game against Russia Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Alberta time.
The ice at the Port Arthur Curling Club in Thunder Bay, Ont. is heating up this week, as 11 rinks from across Canada compete for the Canadian Firefighters Curling Championship.
Play begins today, with the first draws starting at 3:30 p.m., marking the start of the 59th edition of the bonspiel, which is hosted by the Canadian Firefighters Curling Association.
“We have a lot of world-class curlers that are going to be participating this week,” said Philip Dzuba, co-convenor of the bonspiel. “And it’s going to be a fun time, and there’s going to be a lot of comaraderie.”
“Firefighters have a tradition of brotherhood across the country,” he said. “Doesn’t matter whether you’re on the east coast or the west coast, we all do the same job, and we all respect each other.”
Dzuba said all the teams playing in Thunder Bay this week went through provincial or territorial playdowns to earn their spot.
Thunder Bay represented
This year’s Team Northern Ontario are all from Thunder Bay — the rink is made up of Dzuba, Martin Hynna, Gordon Williams, Dan Jackson, and fifth Joe Marques.
Defending champions Team Alberta — Aaron Bartling, Jim Henderson, A.J. Rankel, Cory Henderson, and director Trish Young — will also be competing at Port Arthur Curling Club this week.
Dzuba said every Canadian province and territory except Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nunavut, are represented.
And while the schedule is out, the draws aren’t; Dzuba said those will be determined Saturday, before play starts.
“We have a ladder draw, we call it, to determine which teams are going to play each other,” he said. “So what we have is one of our aerial platforms, and we’ll have flags from each of the participating provinces and territories, and they’ll be set into a certain order.”
“As the aerial ladder goes up, people will know who they’re playing in the draw.”
Every curler is either a professional or volunteer firefighter, Dzuba said, and the bonspiel also raises funds for Muscular Dystrophy Canada ($125,000 was raised during the 2017 championship).
The championship game is scheduled for April 7.
LEDUC, Alta. — At the beginning of the competition 32 teams from across Canada hit the ice in Leduc, Alta. with dreams of being crowned 2018 mixed doubles national champions. Now the field has been trimmed to 12 teams as the playoffs begin Saturday afternoon.
WATCH | Canadian mixed doubles curling championship (4 p.m. ET)
There are some very familiar faces and some not-so-familiar faces heading into the sudden death rounds of mixed doubles curling.
The defending champion duo of Joanne Courtney and Reid Carruthers took top spot in Pool D with a 6-1 record and earned a direct ticket to Saturday night’s quarter-final game.
“This was the goal. Now we’ll just keep trying to roll through the playoffs,” Courtney said. “We hadn’t played together since September so we had to find our groove again.”
Mixed doubles is sweeping traditional curlers off their feet
Cathy Overton-Clapham and Matt Dunstone as well as Janet and Hugh Murphy also advanced to the playoff round out of Pool D with 5-2 records.
In Pool B, the Manitoba team of Kadriana Sahaidak and Colton Lott went 7-0 — the only team to go undefeated. Sahaidak and Lott also earned a direct spot into Saturday’s quarter-finals by virtue of placing first in their pool. Just behind them in the standings was the team of Chelsea Carey and Colin Hodgson, who finished 6-1 and are into the playoffs.
A curling marathon
“It’s a marathon,” Carey said. “It’s the Ironman of curling. It’s exhausting. I eat, I sleep, I come back to the rink. We have a little bit of a break now so that’s a much needed rest.”
Then there’s Pool C, loaded talent and star power. But it wasn’t Jennifer Jones and Brent Laing who took top spot in the pool, rather the Saskatchewan duo of Chaelynn Kitz and Brayden Stewart who seemingly came out of nowhere to place first.
“I was intimidated when I looked at the pool we were in,” Kitz said. “We came in here the underdogs and we’re riding that right now.”
There was a four-way tie at 5-2 in Pool C. Kitz and Stewart got top spot by beating Jones and Laing in the round robin. Val Sweeting and Tim March as well as Jocelyn Peterman and Derek Samagalski also finished with 5-2 records and are in the playoffs.
Stewart admits to having had very low expectations for their team when they saw who they were up against.
“I thought if we could win one game and play all eight ends in the rest we’d be happy. That was our goal,” he said.
New team finds magic in Leduc
In Pool A, the relatively new team of Laura Crocker and Kirk Muyres seem to have found some magic in Leduc. They placed first in the pool with a 6-1 record and are directly into Saturday’s quarter-final.
Crocker normally plays with her fiancée Geoff Walker, but he’s in Las Vegas with Team Gushue for the men’s world curling championship. Crocker and Muyres have played in one tournament prior to this — just over a year ago.
They won that event.
“He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever played with,” Crocker said. “Kirk is the type of teammate where you can feel the confidence he has in you every shot.”
Just behind Crocker and Muyres in Pool A were the duos of Kaylynn Park and Charley Thomas as well as Robert and Emilie Desjardins. They’re both into the playoffs.
Thomas says seven games in less than three days has been exhausting on all the players.
“It’s sudden death and it’s all a mental game now. Seven games in 50 hours is a lot,” he said. “I don’t care who you are or how good of shape you’re in, you’re going to be sore.”
How the playoffs work
The top four teams in each pool will sit around all Saturday and await their opponents in the quarter-final games later tonight.
The eight teams who finished below them will play a qualifying game to advance to the quarter-finals:
Murphy/Murphy vs. Park/Thomas
Carey/Hodgson vs. Sweeting/March
Jones/Laing vs. Desjardins/Desjardins
Peterman/Samagalski vs. Overton-Clapham/Dunstone
The winners of each of those qualifying games will either meet, Courtney/Carruthers, Sahaidak/Lott, Crocker/Muyres or Kitz/Stewart in the quarter-final matchups at 10pm ET Saturday night.
The semifinals take place Sunday morning with the championship game set for 2pm ET Sunday afternoon. The winner will represent Canada at the mixed doubles world championship late April in Sweden.
Sports fans still high from the USA men’s curling team’s gold-medal performance at February’s Winter Olympics may want to head to Las Vegas this weekend.
Yes, Las Vegas. The gold medal winners from Team USA won’t be participating, but teams from 13 countries, the U.S. included, will go head-to-head and broom-to-broom during the World Men’s Curling Championship from March 31 to April 8.
The competition, which will be held in the 8,000-seat Orleans Arena, is returning to the United States for the first time in 10 years.
Curling, often considered the domain of Canadians, at least in North America, is an easy game to follow.
Don’t know how curling is played? The World Curling Federation explains it this way: “[T]he goal of curling is to score points by sliding curling stones down a sheet of ice with the aim of getting as many of your stones closer to the center of the house (the area that looks like a target) than your opponent.”
Those “stones” are made of granite and weigh as much as 44 pounds.
Tickets start at $25 to attend one “draw,” which is a single morning, afternoon or evening session.
Tickets for the final championship round at 5 p.m. April 8 jump to $35. Passes for all nine days costs $429.
Participating teams come from Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.
The Swedish team is the same one that earned the silver medal after losing to the Americans on Feb. 24 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Info: World Men’s Curling Champsionships