In his World Men’s Curling Championship debut, Brad Gushue is looking to skip Canada to its second straight gold medal, this time on home ice in Edmonton.
Coming off his first ever Brier victory, Gushue along with teammates Mark Nichols (third), Brett Gallant (second), Geoff Walker (lead) and Tom Sallows (alternate) are currently ranked first on the World Curling Tour heading into this year’s worlds, which run April 1-9.
That emotional and thrilling Brier win, coming on his hometown ice in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, was just the second ever for his province and first since 1976 when Jack MacDuff was the victorious skip who went on to represent Canada at that year’s world championships.
Although this may be his first ever worlds, Gushue is no stranger to wearing the maple leaf. In 2001, he and Nichols were world junior champions. In 2006, the longtime back-end duo was joined by Russ Howard, Jamie Korab and Mike Adam in winning Canada’s first ever men’s Olympic curling gold medal in Turin.
The current Team Canada will be looking to capture the country’s world-leading 36th gold medal in the 58-year history of the men’s worlds. Overall, Canada has 51 men’s world championship medals – 30 more than second placed Sweden. Most recently, Canada’s Team Kevin Koe captured the gold medal in 2016, beating Denmark 5-3 in the final.
Should Gushue succeed in defending that title, he would become the first ever skip to win gold at the world juniors, world championships and the Olympic Games. He and Nichols would join John Morris as the only players with that trio of gold medals.
Just like the recent women’s worlds, where Canada’s Team Homan won the gold medal, the round robin consists of 11 games. The home team will face Switzerland in the opening draw of the tournament on Saturday.
On the second day of competition, Canada faces the 2013 and 2015 world champions from Sweden in the fifth draw in arguably their toughest game of the tournament. Swedish skip Niklas Edin is looking to put Sweden back on the podium after a disappointing finish last year. Both of his world titles came on Canadian ice in Victoria and Halifax. In the seventh draw, Canada will take on another skip seeking a third world title, 2014 Olympic silver medallist David Murdoch of Scotland.
The World Men’s Curling Championship will be the last chance for countries to earn points towards securing berths for PyeongChang 2018. Canada sits in first place in the men’s Olympic qualification rankings, having earned 14 points from the first place finish by Team Koe at last year’s worlds. Those will be added to whatever points Team Gushue earns for their placement in Edmonton. The top seven countries in the Olympic qualification rankings will join the host South Koreans next February. Two more berths will be decided at a last chance qualification event in December, bringing the Olympic field to 10 teams total. You can see the points system and current standings here.
All of Team Canada’s game will be broadcast live on TSN. See the full schedule here.
Here is a list of Canada’s round robin games (all times in ET).
4 p.m. SUI vs. CAN
11 a.m. RUS vs. CAN
9 p.m. CAN vs. SWE
4 p.m. SCO vs. CAN
9 p.m. CAN vs. USA
4 p.m. CAN vs. CHN
9 p.m. GER vs. CAN
11 a.m. NED vs. CAN
4 p.m. CAN vs. JPN
11 a.m. CAN vs. ITA
9 p.m. NOR vs. CAN
You can see the full WMCC 2017 schedule here.