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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.
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.
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?
In this week’s drive home, I talk about communication. Which, as a sentence, just seems redundant to type out.
But yes, there’s been a lot of miscommunication happening around the ice in my life lately, and – with trepidation and a touch of humor – I do my best to hash it out. From needing to make sure everyone on my team is on the same page, to not being afraid to step up to the plate and just saying what you mean, to even the simple need to communication anything at all, this plog deals with how curlers can talk to each other more effectively – on the ice and off. Enjoy!
(Eric Reithel is a resident blogger and plogger for Windy City Curling. As both a student of theater and someone who makes his living in radio – he knows how to talk. If nothing else, that is something he knows that he can do. If you’d like to engage in a conversation with him, you can find him on Twitter @TheCraftyCurler.)
It’s been a couple weeks – but to make it worth the weight wait, this plog is twice as long! (Hopefully not twice as boring…) In this week’s drive home, I’m talking about weight control. A few weeks back, I had what I thought at the time was a breakthrough in finding better control over my weight. However, when this idea struck me one night while practicing on the ice, I wasn’t quite sure if what I thought I was seeing actually what I was seeing. So I decided to sit on this thought for a few more weeks/games just to test it out… and I think I’m on to something. 🙂
Also, I apologize profusely in advance for the background noise of this plog. My car’s ashtray decided to come loose, and the vibration of driving at highway speeds makes it rattle quite a bit. I thought at the time of recording this that it would be mere humble background noise… but as it turns out, my cell phone does quite a nice job of picking up all noise within range as if it were right next to the thing. I’l work on that for next time.
(Eric Reithel is a resident blogger and budding plogger for Windy City Curling Club. He also works part-time at an NPR-affiliated public radio station as a weekend news anchor. If you get how the title of this plog is a pun, you’re the kind of person he wants to talk to, so hit him up via his Twitter @TheCraftyCurler.)
This week’s driving home plog is rooted in joy. Last week was a tumultuous time of getting lost “In the Tank.” This week, not so much. And in an effort to start honing in on answers to the very questions I ask about mysteries of curling life that can lead to a beginner’s improvement, I offer this plog. Why? Because something I tried working on this week seemed to go well, and – even if it doesn’t work for everyone – I’m making an effort to share. Who knows? It may lead to someone out there chasing this idea with their own thoughts into finding something that works for them.
So what was this whimsical idea of mine? Simple: I became my own cheerleader.
That sounds really corny (amongst other descriptors one could use), but for those of you who know me, it’s completely my style. And it kind of worked in a weird way! I think we all find methods to cheer ourselves on, or to raise our own confidence, and there’s nothing wrong with that. So this week’s plog details my efforts of surfacing out of the tank, and finding my own inner-cheerleader in the process.
(Eric Reithel is a resident blogger, continuing plogger, and now-former self-flogger for Windy City Curling. His musings are his own and do not reflect the views of anyone with a remotely normal sense of humor or thought process. Watch him cheer on life via his Twitter @TheCraftyCurler.)
The Windy City Curling Club is a 501(c)3 charitable organization committed to teaching, developing, promoting, and encouraging the spirit of curling; by developing youth and adult programs that lead to local, national, and international competitions. We host open leagues, Learn to Curls, and corporate team building events.
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