Tuesday 21 March 2017
They’re all confirmed. They’re all ready. They’ll all be there!
Hosts Canada, China, Japan and USA are joining the eight nations who previously qualified through the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2016 (ECC) – www.worldcurling.org/wmcc2017/journey – at the Ford Men’s World Championship 2017 in Edmonton, Canada (1-9 April).
The 12 team field, battling it out for not only the world title but also last chance Olympic qualification points is rounded out with representatives from Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Sweden and Switzerland.
After awaiting the winner of the Canadian Brier in mid-March, the event roster is now finalised, adding 2006 Olympic gold medalist Brad Gushue and his team, from Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, to the mix as hosts. Gushue won the Brier final over defending world champion Kevin Koe in a rematch of the 2016 Canadian final. Gushue capped his first Brier victory 7-6 with a broom-tossing draw to the eight-foot.
Japan skipped by Yusuke Morozumi claimed the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships 2016 title over China’s Rui Liu 5-3, in Uiseong, Republic of Korea early in the season. The two medal winning teams, subsequently earned their places at the world championship.
USA selected their team based on accumulating the highest amount of points on tour during the season. John Shuster did just that along with a satisfying draw to the four-foot victory at the USA Men’s Curling Nationals to back up their title as Team USA. The Americans, then had to cross one last hurdle, facing Brazil in the American Challenge best-of-five series, in January.
Even if Brad Gushue didn’t win the Brier this year, he was the talk of the town and the nation. Having the Canadian Brier hosted in his hometown of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador sparked more than enough buzz about the Islanders. In front of an electric crowd, Gushue’s team captured their first Brier win after being runners-up to defending world champions Kevin Koe in 2016. Currently, sitting at the top of teams competing the World Curling Tour (WCT) the foursome additionally captured the Canadian Open at the Grand Slam in early 2017 over Niklas Edin, by 8-3.
Fourth: Brad Gushue (skip)
Third: Mark Nichols (vice-skip)
Second: Brett Gallant
Lead: Geoff Walker
Alternate: Tom Sallows
China won their country’s place in the championships, after being unable to qualify in last years’ competition. Rui Liu is skipping the team who competed at the 2014 world championships hosted in Beijing, where they finished in sixth place. During the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, the same line-up turned heads when they made it to the bronze medal game and finished fourth. This year on the WCT the team won the Cloverdale Cashspiel and placed second in two events. The Chinese are coached by Canadian Marcel Rocque, a three-time world champion himself.
Fourth: Rui Liu (skip)
Third: Xiaoming Xu (vice-skip)
Second: Dexin Ba
Lead: Jialiang Zang
Alternate: Qiang Zou
Skip Yusuke Morozumi will be leading his routine line-up at their fifth consecutive world championship after their best performance to date in 2016. The team lost the bronze medals to USA’s John Shuster, with an 8-6 win-loss record. With four straight silver medal finishes at Pacific-Asia Curling Championships the Japanese made their breakthrough in this year’s final earning the gold medal against China. In February 2017, the two teams squared off once again in the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo where Japan earned the silver medal in an 4-11 final.
Fourth: Yusuke Morozumi (skip)
Third: Tetsuro Shimizu (vice-skip)
Second: Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi
Lead: Kosuke Morozumi
Alternate: Kosuke Hirata
Returning after their strongest run at a world championship in 2016, John Shuster will lead his bronze medallist line-up once again at his sixth appearance on the world stage. USA defeated Brazil in three straight games in the America’s Challenge to earn their slot in the mix. With back to back Winter Olympic Games in 2010 and 2014 under his belt, the skip will be ramping up towards gaining the final qualifying points for the Games.
Fourth: John Shuster (skip)
Third: Tyler George (vice-skip)
Second: Matt Hamilton
Lead: John Landsteiner
Alternate: Joe Polo
To keep up-to-date with all the action from the FWMCC 2017, and the teams’ journey to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, follow us on Twitter, Instagram (@worldcurling) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags: #FWMCC2017 #Roadto2018 #curling
by Emily Dwyer, feature writer