Ford World Men's Curling Championship 2015 begins Saturday

  • Photo: WCF/Celine Stucki

Twelve teams representing the world's top men's curling nations will compete at the Ford World Men's Curling Championship 2015 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, from Saturday 28 March until Sunday 5 April.

The World Curling Championship, which started back in 1959 as the Scotch Cup, is being held in the province of Nova Scotia for the first time. However, it will be the fourth time it will be played in Atlantic Canada.

Moncton, in New Brunswick, hosted in 2009 (won by this year’s alternate for Scotland, David Murdoch) and 1980 (won by Canada’s Rick Folk), while Saint John, New Brunswick, hosted in 1999 (won by Scotland’s Hammy McMillan). Dartmouth, across the harbour from Halifax, played host to the 1986 World Junior Men’s Championship.

The twelve teams taking part in this year’s event represent hosts Canada; China; the Czech Republic; Finland; Italy; Japan; defending champions Norway; Russia; Scotland; Sweden; Switzerland and the USA.

Canada is represented by an experienced team, with third John Morris (2008), second Carter Rycroft (2010) and lead Nolan Thiessen (2010) all with previous men’s world titles to their name.

They are skipped this year by Pat Simmons, who along with Rycroft and Thiessen, earned Canada a fourth place finish at this event last year in Beijing, China.

China is in the line-up as Pacific-Asia champions and are skipped by Jialiang Zang, a seven-time veteran of this event, although he is making his first appearance as skip.

This will also be a seventh world championship appearance for Jiri Snitil, skip for the Czech Republic.

It was Snitil who led the Czech Republic to their first international medal - bronze at the 2012 Le Gruyere European Championships - and he will be looking to build on this.

Finland's team is skipped by Aku Kauste. This will be his second appearance as skip and his fourth overall. His top ever ranking at a World Championship was in 2003 when he played second on a team who finished fourth.

Italy return to the field for the first time since they acted as host nation in 2010. Their team is skipped by Joel Retornaz, who also skipped on that occasion and led his team to a fourth place finish at last years Le Gruyere European Curling Championship.

Japan is represented by the same quartet that finished fifth in last year's Championship in Beijing, skipped by Yusuke Morozumi. They lost out to China in the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2014 final back in November.

Defending champions Norway are represented by last year's title-winning team, led by the highly experienced Thomas Ulsrud who is both the oldest skip and oldest athlete competing at this year’s event, aged 42.

In contrast, Russia's Evgeny Arkhipov is the youngest skip in the field, at only 23 years of age. He moves up to skip this year after competing as Russia's second player last year where they finished in 11th position.

Scotland is skipped by Ewan MacDonald, who, with three world titles to his name, is Scotland's most successful international curler, although this is only his second appearance as skip. He leads a slightly different line-up from the team he led to ninth place at this event last year.

Switzerland will be represented by a new team at this level with former world junior championship participant Marc Pfister skipping. He picked up a bronze medal at the Le Gruyere European Curling Championships 2014 as alternate for team Sven Michel (his alternate at this event).

2013 world champion, Niklas Edin, leads a changed team from that which he led to the world crown then. His team includes Oskar Eriksson at third, who skipped Sweden to silver medals at last year's Championship in China.

The field is completed by USA who are led by Olympian John Shuster, who last competed in the World Championship in 2009 where he skipped a team to fifth position.

Following the opening ceremony on Saturday 28 March, the teams battle it out in seventeen sessions of round-robin play, until the evening of Thursday 2 April.

After this, a tie-breaker will be played, if needed, to determine the top four ranked teams.

Then, as in all WCF Championship events, curling's Page Play-off system will be used, in which the top two ranked teams from the round-robin face each other, with the winner of that game going direct to the gold medal game, and the loser being given a second chance by playing a Semi-final against the winner of the Play-off between the teams ranked third and fourth.

The winner of that sole Semi-final goes on to the gold medal game and the loser faces the Page 3v4 loser for bronze.

These gold and bronze medal games take place on Sunday 6 April.

Tickets for the 2015 Ford World Men’s Championship are on sale here: www.curling.ca/tickets.

Results, news, videos and photos from the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2015 can be seen here on the World Curling Federation’s official event website: http://www.worldcurling.org/wmcc2015

Video Highlights: Highlights from games throughout the Championship will be available to watch courtesy of World Curling TV (WCTV), the television arm of the World Curling Federation.

WCTV will provide extensive live and video-on-demand coverage to broadcasters around the world from Halifax. The full broadcast schedule will be published on the official WCF website shortly.

In addition, curling fans around the world will be able to follow selected live coverage of the 2015 World Championship events via the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV

Social Media
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WorldMensCurlingChampionship
Twitter: @worldcurling
Hashtags: #wmcc2015 #curling

The 2016 Ford World Men's Curling Championship will be staged in Basel, Switzerland starting on Saturday 2nd April.