Brad Gushue and Geoff Walker shake hands on curling iceCurling Canada/Steve Seixeiro
Curling Canada/Steve Seixeiro

Team Canada advances to playoffs at World Men’s Curling Championship

Team Canada will play into the weekend at the World Men’s Curling Championship in Schaffhausen, Switzerland after locking up a playoff spot early Thursday morning.

Canada, represented by Team Gushue, defeated Norway 7-4 to improve their record to 8-1 with three games left to play. For the moment, that had them in second place in the standings, behind only 9-0 Sweden. Those two teams were scheduled to face off later on Thursday.

Team Gushue — comprised of skip Brad Gushue, vice-skip Mark Nichols, second E.J. Harnden, lead Geoff Walker, and alternate Kyle Doering — got off to a hot start at the world championships, winning their first three games. They needed an extra end in the opener on Saturday to defeat Czechia 9-8 but followed up later that day with an 8-5 win over Germany. In their lone game on Sunday, they took down the defending champions from Scotland 8-4 in nine ends.

Two curlers in red jackets sweep a stone as their teammate looks on
Mark Nichols and Geoff Walker sweep a stone thrown by E.J. Harnden as Canada faced Norway at the 2024 World Men’s Curling Championship in Schaffhausen, Switzerland (Curling Canada/Steve Seixeiro)

But Monday saw them run into a tough Italian team, currently ranked first in the world. In a game that went to an extra end, Italy ended up on top, 7-6. But the Canadians didn’t let that get to them and reeled off four wins over the next two days. On Tuesday, there were a couple easy victories against New Zealand, 7-4, and the United States, 8-2, the latter shaking hands after just six ends. Then on Wednesday Team Gushue recorded a pair of 7-4 wins against the Netherlands and Korea.

After the first place showdown against Sweden, Canada will close out the round robin with two games on Friday, taking on Japan (3-6) and the host Swiss (6-2).

“It’s good. It doesn’t change much for the next few games. We want to get into those semifinals,” Nichols said of the win against Norway. “You want to avoid that qualification game. We had to go through it last year, and it’s a ton of pressure because you know if you’re in it, you’re going to be playing a really tough team. It would be nice to move ourselves one step forward, so we still have work to do.”

A top-two finish in the preliminary round would give Team Gushue a direct bye into Saturday’s semifinals, which will take place at 10:00 a.m. ET. The next four teams will play in qualification playoff games earlier that morning to see who will join them in the semis. The gold medal game is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, with the bronze medal game five hours earlier.

Brad Gushue in a white jacket slides to throw a yellow curling stone
Brad Gushue throws a stone as Canada plays Korea at the 2024 World World Men’s Curling Championship in Schaffhausen, Switzerland (Curling Canada/Steve Seixeiro)

By securing their spot in the top six, Team Gushue have also booked themselves a spot in the four-player Canadian Curling Trials that will take place in November 2025 and will determine who will be Team Canada in men’s curling at Milano Cortina 2026. The results from this year’s worlds will be combined those at next year’s worlds to decide the first eight countries to earn Olympic qualification.

In five world championship appearances together, Gushue, Nichols, and Walker have never missed the playoffs. They won the gold medal in 2017, the last time Canada could boast having the world men’s curling champions. That was followed by silver medals in 2018, 2022, and 2023, which was their first season with Harnden.