As you may have picked up from my social network presence, I am currently enjoying my Easter break in Norway but I am still keeping my eyes firmly fixed on the world of curling.
Just as well really because it is now time for the best men’s teams in the world to show us what they can do at the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2013.
The 2013 edition of the Men’s Worlds is taking place in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada – province capital of BC and home to almost 350,000 people.
The event is being held at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre which is the largest indoor arena in British Columbia outside of Vancouver. It hosts ice hockey, concerts, figure skating, trade shows and conferences.
Thanks to Hugh and Christine Stewart for the pictures below – they tell me they are enjoying the weather over in Canada even if it means being indoors all the time.
The arena has a capacity of 7,400 and held the Men’s Worlds in its first year of operation, 2005, when Canada’s Randy Ferbey took gold for the host-nation.
The dates of competition are Saturday 30 March – Sunday 7 April but practice began on Friday 29 March.
The twelve teams competing will have completed round-robin play by Thursday 4 April.
Victoria operates Pacific Daylight Time which is seven hours behind the UK but will be eight hours behind for the majority of the tournament due to our clocks going forward one hour – don’t forget everyone!
Game times are not the most convenient for European fans but I will give you a rundown of Scotland’s matches later on.
The UK also has a non-playing representative in Victoria – Glenda Barrowman is a WCF Game Umpire for the tournament.
The full team line-ups are available here but here is a quick guide to the twelve teams who will be hoping for victory in Victoria:
CANADA (Skip: Brad Jacobs) – The host-nation have 34 gold medals at this level and are always tough to beat with a home crowd behind them. This is Jacobs’ first taste of the Men’s Worlds but expect them to be very strong. Expectations will be high for Canadian fans too – they have seen their team medal in every World Men’s since 2002.
CHINA (Skip: Rui Liu) – Five-time Pacific-Asia champion, Rui Liu plays in his fifth Worlds in Victoria. While the Chinese men have never hit the heights of their female counterparts, nobody would see them as an easy opponent.
CZECH REPUBLIC (Skip: Jirí Snítil) – The bronze medal that this team picked up at the Europeans in December was the country’s first ever outside of junior level. Definitely a nation on the rise – keep an eye on the Czechs.
DENMARK (Skip: Rasmus Stjerne) – Playing in his second Worlds, Stjerne will be looking to give Denmark something to cheer about – they have not won a medal at this level since 1990. Stjerne overcame Scotland and Switzerland in 2012 so rule out this team at your peril.
FINLAND (Skip: Aku Kauste) – After a decade’s absence, Aku Kauste returns to the Worlds with his own team this time – back then he lost in the bronze medal match to Norway. This is Finland’s first Worlds since 2009 and while they have medalled in the past, it would be a surprise to see this team in the latter stages. Look out for second player Pauli Jäämies’ hair though.
JAPAN (Skip: Yusuke Morozumi) – Only Japan’s sixth appearance at a Men’s Worlds and Morozumi’s second, the reigning Pacific-Asia silver medallist will be hoping to cause some upsets in Victoria but, like Finland, Japan would be surprise participants come the end of the week.
NORWAY (Skip: Thomas Ulsrud) – Perhaps the most popular team at these championships, Norway are long overdue World Men’s success – their last gold came in 1988. With three bronzes at this level, Ulsrud will want to improve on that with his slightly tweaked team for 2013. I am even more determined than usual to see them do well seeing as I am in Norway for the duration – Heia Norge!
RUSSIA (Skip: Andrey Drozdov) – A bit of an unknown quantity seeing as this is Russia’s first ever appearance at a World Men’s. While their women’s team continue to impress, the men have never medalled outside of the junior competitions.
SCOTLAND (Skip: David Murdoch) – Team Brewdoch? Team Murdster? Whatever we want to call them, Team Scotland and Tom Brewster are hurting after losing two consecutive finals to Canada. With the women picking up a brilliant gold in Riga last week, can Scotland emulate them and make it third time lucky?
SWEDEN (Skip: Niklas Edin) – Two bronzes in the last two years show that Sweden mean business – as reigning European champions, Niklas Edin’s team will be hard to beat. No reason why they won’t be on top of the podium at the end of the competition.
SWITZERLAND (Skip: Sven Michel) – Impressive on the tour events, Sven Michel’s team will want to correct the fact that the Swiss have been waiting a decade since their last medal at this level. The youngsters from Adelboden could cause problems this week.
USA (Skip: Brady Clark) – The first experience of a World Men’s for Brady Clark, 2013 may prove tricky for the USA. 1978 was the last time the Americans struck gold – it would be unlikely to see that in Victoria.
There are several ways to watch the action from Canada. Europsort TV and the online Eurosport Player will be showing the most games during the tournament. The Player currently costs £4.99 for one month’s access or £2.99 per month if you opt for a contract. Quality has been varied in the past but for a fiver, it isn’t exactly a big investment.
The World Curling Federation’s YouTube channel is also set to show some games.
The official event website to keep track of scores and find out more information is here.
Here’s the team that will be representing Scotland in Victoria.
These are their eleven round-robin games (all times are Victoria time/UK time):
Saturday 30 March – Scotland v. Japan – 1900/0300 (Sun.)
Sunday 31 March – Scotland v. Denmark – 1400/2200 (Eurosport TV and Eurosport Player)
Sunday 31 March – Scotland v. Canada – 1900/0300 (Mon.) (Eurosport Player)
Monday 1 April – Scotland v. Czech Republic – 0900/1700
Monday 1 April – Switzerland v. Scotland – 1900/0300 (Tue.)
Tuesday 2 April – Russia v. Scotland – 1400/2200
Tuesday 2 April – USA v. Scotland – 1900/0300 (Wed.)
Wednesday 3 April – Norway v. Scotland – 0830/1630 (Eurosport TV and Eurosport Player)
Wednesday 3 April – Scotland v. Sweden – 1900/0300 (Thu.)
Thursday 4 April – Scotland v. China – 0900/1700
Thursday 4 April – Finland v. Scotland – 1400/2200
Following Team Scotland this year will take some dedication due to the time difference – five of the games start at 3am UK time but the rest are at more reasonable hours.
Best of luck to David, Tom, Scott, Michael, Greg and Sören.
Come on Scotland!
Photos are © Hugh Stewart and WCF / 2013