The Continental Cup starts at Servus Credit Union Place with all players getting onto the ice in competition with men’s and women’s team play. In between those draws will be mixed doubles. Players are expecting to have a full crowd in attendance to view the 7thedition of the Cup.
The first points will be on the line in women’s team play early Thursday morning. The matchups that will kick start the event will be Bingyu Wang vs Erika Brown, reigning world champion Andrea Schoepp against Cheryl Bernard and Mirjam Ott vs Jennifer Jones. Each match will be worth 6 points with sides splitting the points in case of a tie; no extra ends will be played.
Lots of thought went into picking matchups as team captains try and get their teams “preferred matchups, if they can” said Team World captain Pal Trulsen. Trulsen also noted they will try to avoid having teams play the same opponent three times throughout the weekend.
The middle draw of the day was all the discussion during Wednesday’s practice as it will be mixed doubles. These matchups feature only two people to a curling team -one male and one female. With one person to hold the broom and the other to throw, it will make for some interesting curling. Even in practice teams were trying to get comfortable with their new teammates and different rules.
Team North America tried to get player input into determining who would participate in these games. The coach and captain of Team North America put together Kevin Martin with Ann Swisshelm and Ann was quick to sign up to play with the Olympic Gold medallist. They will match up against Niklas Edin and Monika Wagner. The other games will see Yan Zhou & Torger Nergard take on Jennifer Jones & Carter Rycroft while Bingyu Wang & Thomas Ulsrud play Shawn Rojeski & Susan O’Connor.
The biggest thing that Team World is trying to do with mixed teams is make sure that “players are safe with each other, ” noted Coach Peja Lindholm. Meanwhile, Team North America coach Rick Lang along with captain Neil Harrison have been studying the rules for months while emailing players to get their input as to team matchups trying to get a leg up on the World.
In the night draw, David Murdoch will hope to be a quick learner with his new All-Star team taking on Kevin Martin. Murdoch will be joined by Switzerland’s Ralph Stoeckli and Simon Struebin while Germany’s Andy Lang rounds out the foursome. Niklas Edin will take on Pistol Pete Fenson while recently crowned European champion Thomas Ulsrud will try to exact some revenge on Kevin Koe in a rematch of the world championship final.
Team World has brought back captain Pal Trulsen and Coach Peja Lindholm to try and retain the cup they won in 2008 in Camrose. Peja noted that, “Pal and I know each other really well. We know what we each have to do but it is most important that we have the players in focus.”
There are 400 points up for grabs over the four days of competition, first to 201 points will take the upper hand with their 4th Continental Cup victory. Stay tuned as the rivalry builds throughout the event, Team North America versus Team World