The Ford World Men’s Curling Championship will take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, from March 28th-April 5th. 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 are the teams:
Team rosters can be found here: http://www.curling.ca/2015worldmen-en/category/team-information/
This is a good field this year with a lot of parity. While some teams are favored over others, no team stands out as the overall favorite to bring home the gold. I’ve been mulling it over, and I honestly can’t even predict who will finish where. That being said, I do think that these four teams will make the playoffs:
Canada – After a rocky start at the brier, John Morris and Pat Simmons changed positions and then went on a winning streak and won it all. Coming off that big win, this team is also playing on home ice in front of home crowds. Add to that their skill and experience, and they should find themselves in the hunt for a medal.
Norway – Defending World Champions Norway have taken it easy this season, playing in fewer events compared to last season. Some people think that this might hurt them, but I don’t think it will. Not only is this rink loaded with skill, they’ve been playing together for eight years and have a ton of experience. They won Silver at the European Championships back in November, and I think if they start out the week strong they’ll really get rolling and be hard to beat.
Sweden – This rink had a rocky start to their season, but as of late they’ve really been clicking. They beat Norway to take Gold at the European Championships, and they’ve had some big wins on tour in Canada as well. Just last week they made it to the final game of the inaugural Syncrude Elite 10, losing to Team McEwen. Several members of this team won Silver at Worlds last year, while others won Bronze at the Olympics in Sochi. On top of that skip Niklas Edin is known for making some killer shots. Needless to say they have the skill and experience to win, and having been in Canada for several weeks jet lag and travel weariness shouldn’t be an issue.
United States – Team USA has had a great season on tour, capped off with strong round-robin play and a big win at the US Nationals in Kalamazoo. USA Curling has been in a bit of turmoil this year, having adopted a controversial High Performance Program in an effort to get better and hopefully bring home some Olympic Medals in the future. This rink was not selected for that program, so you might say that they’re playing with something to prove. Skip John Shuster is a three-time Olympian, winning Bronze with Pete Fenson in 2006 and skipping Team USA in 2010 and 2014. He’s also played in four World Championships, so he’s no stranger to high-pressure high-stakes competition. The rest of the rink has quite a bit of experience as well, including Olympic and World Championship appearances. With their skill, experience, and motivation, I think this rink has a strong chance to bring home some hardware.
Coverage for this event is available through a variety of sources. World Curling TV will cover the event, but some coverage may be geoblocked for US viewers. This is due to the fact that Universal Sports Network and NBCSN are broadcasting some matches for viewers in the US. TSN will provide coverage for Canadian viewers, which should be available in the US via ESPN3 as usual. Of course, if a specific match isn’t broadcast games can always be followed via CurlingZone.
World Curling TV:
US Broadcast Information:
Phil Darin is Windy City’s resident armchair curler, and he actually plays on occasion. He may not always win on the ice, but he always wins at broomstacking. Would you like to hear more about curling, whisky, or gambling? Are you Eve Muirhead?
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