Record-holding Edmonton ready for Ford World Men's Curling Championship 2017

  • Brad Gushue and his team will represent the host nation Photo: © Michael Burns

Teams representing the world's top men's curling nations will be competing at the World Curling Federation's (WCF) Ford World Men's Curling Championship 2017 (WMCC) in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada from Saturday 1 until Sunday 9 April.

Since the World Curling Championship started in 1959 this will be the second time that Edmonton’s Northlands Coliseum has been the venue – previously in 2007 – and the third time this event has been staged in the province of Alberta, with Calgary hosting in 1964. The Northlands Coliseum holds the cumulative record attendance for a world men’s championship, with 184,970 being present during the 2007 edition.

There are 12 competing teams, ten of whom are peppered with experience and by contrast, two new teams, the Norway combo led by Steffen Walstad and Netherlands team of Jaap van Dorp, who are making their debuts at this level. There are two former world champion skips in the field – Scotland’s David Murdoch (2006 and 2009) and Niklas Edin from Sweden (2013 and 2015), as well as Olympic champion Brad Gushue from Canada (2006). This is Gushue’s first World Men’s Curling Championship.

The national teams are: hosts and defending champions Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and USA.

To make it into this field, all teams, with the exception of hosts Canada, have had to pre-qualify. The eight European nations qualified from the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2016, which were held in Braehead, Scotland in November 2016. China and Japan, both represented by the teams that will compete in Edmonton, finished first and second in the Pacific-Asia Curling Championship 2016 in Uiseong, Republic of Korea last November. The USA came out ahead of Brazil in an Americas Challenge to take their place in the line-up.

Canada is represented by their national champions, led by Brad Gushue, whose last appearance wearing the Maple Leaf was in his Olympic gold medal performance in Pinerolo, Italy at the 2006 Turin Olympic Winter Games.

China’s skip Rui Liu returns to the world stage for the first time since 2014 as he makes his seventh appearance. His best result so far was a fourth-place finish in 2008.

The German team is skipped by Alexander Baumann, who made his worlds debut last year and finished 12th. Italy’s skip, Joel Retornaz returns to make his fourth appearance, having ranked tenth in 2015.

Japan is represented by the team skipped by Yusuke Morozumi. This will be a sixth appearance by Morozumi’s team and they will be looking to improve on the fourth place finish they achieved in Basel, Switzerland last year, when they lost the bronze medal game to USA.

Both Netherlands and Norway teams are newcomers at this level and, after an absence last year, Russia’s skip Alexey Stukalskiy returns for his fourth world championship appearance.

Scotland is represented by the 2014 Olympic silver medallists, skipped by two-times world champion David Murdoch, while Sweden’s team is skipped by 2014 Olympic bronze medallist and also two-times world champion Niklas Edin.

Peter de Cruz, who will deliver second stones for his team, skips Switzerland for the second time, returning after his third-place performance in Beijing, China in 2014 when he beat Canada in the bronze medal final.

Three-times Olympian John Shuster leads USA in what will be his seventh world championship appearance, with his best result so far coming in 2016 when USA beat Japan to take bronze medals.

Following the 12 noon opening ceremony on Saturday 1 April, the teams battle it out in 17 sessions of round-robin play, until the evening of Thursday 6 April. After this, a tie-breaker will be played, if needed, to determine the top four ranked teams.

Then, 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 directly to the final, 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 onto the final to play for gold or silver medals, and the loser faces the Page 3v4 loser for bronze medals. These gold (18.00) and bronze (12.00) medal finals take place on Sunday 9 April. Times are minus six Universal Coordinated Time and Mountain Daylight Time locally.

This is the last event at which points to qualify for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea (9-25 February) will be up for grabs. The qualification process involves this championship and the World Men’s Curling Championship 2016 in Basel, Switzerland.

As hosts, Korea have qualified for PyeongChang, as will the seven teams with the best qualifying points tally from 2016 and 2017. The final two places on the Olympic line-up will be decided at a special WCF Olympic Qualification Event, to be held in (5-10) December 2017, in Pilsen, Czech Republic.

This event also marks the first time that the new World Men’s Curling Championship trophy will be presented. This is the WCF’s 50th anniversary season and as part of the celebration two identical new world trophies – for women and men – were commissioned. The trophies were designed and created by Thomas Lyte of England.


Broadcast

World Curling TV (WCTV), the television arm of the World Curling Federation, will produce extensive live coverage for broadcasters around the world. Broadcast partners for the event include TSN in Canada (RDS in Quebec), CCTV-5 China, La Chaine Equipe France, NHK Japan, TVP Poland, MatchTV Russia, RTS, SRF and RSI Switzerland, NBC and UniversalHD in the USA and the Olympic Channel.

Curling fans around the world will be able to follow live coverage of these championships on the event website and the World Curling Federation’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV

Live broadcast coverage may be geo-blocked in your region. For all broadcast information visit, www.worldcurling.org/broadcast


Social media

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