The World Women’s Curling Championship will take place in Sapporo, Japan, from March 14th-22nd. The field consists of twelve teams, with each team playing each other once in an 11-game round-robin format. Barring any ties (which will be decided by tiebreaker games), the top 4 teams will advance to the playoffs, which use the standard page playoff system. Medals are then awarded to the top three teams.
Here is the field for 2015:
Team rosters can be found here: http://wwcc2015.curlingevents.com/teams
Without a doubt, the favorites for this event (in alphabetical order) are Canada, Russia, Scotland, and Sweden. Japan is a dark horse to make the playoffs, and the fact that they’re playing in front of home crowds will most certainly give them a boost. That being said, don’t count any team out in this event. All the teams have fought hard for the right to represent their country, and none of them are going to go down without a fight.
Of course, at the end of the day there can be only one champion. Here are my thoughts on how the top four teams will finish, in reverse order:
Russia- For such a relatively young team, they have a lot of experience, and they’ve been playing together for some time now. They had an excellent run in the round-robin last year and ended up winning bronze. Since then, they’ve played well in several tour events, won silver at the European Championships back in Novemberm and most recently won gold at the Winter Universiade last month. I think they’ll have a solid run in the round-robin, but will ultimately find themselves playing for bronze and unfortunately coming up short.
Sweden- This team can play, but often flies under the radar. After winning a silver medal at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, they’re playing a more relaxed schedule this year. It hasn’t seemed to hurt them any as they’ve had a solid year on tour and continue to play to top form. Experience, consistency, and skillful shot making should have them easily making the playoffs. I wouldn’t be surprised if they won the whole thing, but I think they’ll end up taking bronze.
Canada- After winning the gold medal in Sochi, they’ve had some ups and downs this year. Of course, all of that seemed to come to a halt at the Scotties last month where they came out on top at the end of the round-robin and ended up winning gold. No strangers to playing on a world stage or under pressure, this team can make shots and win games. Coming off their Scotties performance I expect them to be fired up and coming out swinging from the get-go. I would be surprised if they miss the playoffs, but I just don’t think they’ll win it all.
Scotland- After winning gold in 2013, they missed the event in 2014 due to a scheduling conflict…the Scottish Championships conflicted with the Sochi Olympics, so they weren’t able to qualify. To say the least, skip Eve Muirhead was upset with being unable to defend her title and has been determined ever since to reclaim her title. Like Jones (Canada), they’ve had some ups and downs but have been playing at the top of their game the past several months. They took bronze at the European Championships in November, won the Canadian Open in December, and most recently they won the Scottish Championships last month. Given their skill, experience, and motivation I have a feeling that they’ll be the dominant team all week and end up at the top of the standings at the end of the round-robin. I don’t expect them to let up in the playoffs either, and while it won’t be easy I think they’ll best Canada and come home with gold.
Unlike events in Canada or the United States, watching World Women’s live will require dedication and/or an alarm clock for some of the games. Sapporo is in the Japan Standard Timezone, which is 15 hours ahead of Central Standard Time. The World Curling Federation will broadcast a featured game from each draw, as well as full coverage of the playoffs via their WorldCurlingTV YouTube channel. TSN will broadcast all of Team Canada’s games, and the playoffs as well. Presumably the TSN coverage will be available on ESPN3 in the United States.
World Curling Federation Broadcast Information:
Draw Information & Schedule:
Phil Darin is Windy City’s resident armchair curler, and he has too much free time on his hands. Rumor has it that he also actually curls every now and then. Do you want to hear more about curling, whisky, or gambling? Are you Eve Muirhead?
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