Canada takes on new international challengers in Pan Continental Curling Championship


Canada’s Brad Gushue and Kerri Einarson face some non-traditional opponents in the inaugural Pan Continental championship beginning Monday in Calgary.

Kazakhstan, Hong Kong and Chinese Tapei are amongst nations in a new World Curling Federation occasion designed to each streamline the world championship qualification course of and supply an equal to the 47-year-old European championship that may be a worlds qualifier.

The seven-day Pan Continental concluding Nov. 6 at Calgary’s WinSport Event Centre is the 2023 world championship qualification route for all nations outdoors of Europe.

Einarson, winner of three straight nationwide ladies’s titles, opens Monday towards New Zealand.

Gushue, who claimed a 3rd profession Canadian males’s crown in March, begins the identical day towards the United States.

“It’s going to be a bit of little bit of an eye-opening expertise for our staff simply because, excluding the American staff, the Koreans and Japan, we’re not going to know lots of the different groups,” Gushue informed The Canadian Press.

The Pan Continental replaces the Pacific-Asia Curling Championship and the Americas Zone Challenge.

The Americas zone was assured two world championship berths with Canada and the United States taking them by default most years.

Brazil did problem Canada for males’s world championship berths in 2018 and 2022 and was defeated each occasions.

Mexico joined Brazil in the zonal challenger for 2022 and was additionally crushed by Brendan Bottcher.

The Pan Continental options 9 nations in the ladies’s A division and 4 in the B.

Sixteen males’s groups are break up evenly between the 2 divisions.

Finishing high 5 in the boys’s and ladies’s A divisions assures these nations of taking part in in the 2023 world championships.

Canada secured in subsequent 12 months’s males’s match

Canada because the host nation already has automated entry into subsequent 12 months’s males’s championship in Ottawa, which leaves the remainder of the A division vying for 4 males’s berths in Calgary.

When Curling Canada invited Gushue earlier this 12 months to signify the host nation in the Pan Continental, the skip initially questioned the upside for his staff’s participation.

“While we’re taking part in in this, a number of our rivals are going to be taking part in in some larger cashspiels with a number of factors and the potential to win cash in these money occasions,” Gushue identified.

“We’re this as a chance for us to get on enviornment ice in that world setting. It is totally different than taking part in the Briers. World Curling Federation handles the occasions a lot in another way than Curling Canada.”

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E.J. Harnden new to the staff at second was one other consideration.

“An alternative to play in that’s helpful, particularly with E.J. coming onto the staff,” the skip stated. “The TV publicity for our sponsors has an enormous profit for us as properly.

“Hopefully down the street we get an opportunity to go to a world championship or one other Olympics. Having this can make us that extra ready for that occasion.”

Gushue’s foursome claimed silver medals in April’s males’s world championship in Las Vegas, whereas Einarson and firm have been the ladies’s bronze medallists in Prince George, B.C., in March

Einarson performed the 2021 ladies’s nationwide and world championships in a WinSport Event Centre empty of spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The skip did not hesitate to shoulder the accountability of securing Canada’s place in subsequent 12 months’s ladies’s world championship in Sandviken, Sweden.

“We all know what it is like, the strain you are feeling whenever you put on that Maple Leaf,” Einarson stated. “Any likelihood you get to do it, and that feeling you are feeling whenever you’re carrying it, it will get a bit of lighter.

“When we have been requested to signify Canada in this occasion, we have been throughout it. It’s such an honour at all times to put on the Maple Leaf, particularly in Canada the place our household and pals and followers can come cheer us on.

“It’s going to be bizarre taking part in in that facility with precise individuals.”

The ladies’s area options Satsuki Fujisawa, who skipped Japan to Olympic silver in February in addition to bronze 4 years in the past.

Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, South Korea and the U.S. be part of the Canadians and the Kiwis in the ladies’s A division.

Gushue joins Australia, Brazil, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and the U.S. in the boys’s A division.

B division nations to struggle for promotion 

B division nations are taking part in for promotion. Chinese Taipei, Kenya, Mexico and Nigeria make up the ladies’s B.

Guyana, Hong Kong, India, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Nigeria, Qatar and Saudi Arabia spherical out the boys’s B.

The pandemic’s residual results on WCF competitors elevated the dimensions of the ladies’s A division from eight to 9 groups for this 12 months solely.

New Zealand’s ladies and Australia’s males changed China, which withdrew from the A divisions.

Gushue and Einarson are favourites to take the primary Pan Continental titles. Finishing high 5 is properly inside their capabilities.

Stepping on world and Olympic podiums is not a given for Canadian curling groups, nonetheless, as different nations have realized win in the game.

It may not take Pan Continental competitors lengthy to be taught these classes, Gushue cautioned.

“I do not see an excessive amount of concern in Canada ending high 5 out of high eight or 9, however actually as nations put a bit of extra money into this sport, and in the event that they comply with a model like Sweden or Britain and focus on two groups and put some huge cash behind them, we might get in a place the place Canada would not qualify,” Gushue stated.

“You take a look at the emergence of Korea and China and Japan and the standard of groups they’re placing ahead, particularly on the ladies’s facet, that got here on fairly fast.

“Now you throw one other couple nations into that equation, Canada must play fairly properly to ensure they qualify. I feel we’re OK for a couple of years, however down the street it could possibly be little iffy.”


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