The 'bench' under construction in Moncton's Coliseum today. Photo by Hugh Stewart.
I would like to be in Moncton, New Brunswick, next week. When the Air Canada Silver Broom was held in the town in 1980, I was a rookie on the press bench. It was my first experience of working at a major curling championship, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I even won a medal, but that's another story! The UFO in the photo above was the event ticket office.
The 2009 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship begins on Saturday at the Coliseum, twelve countries contesting the world title, and accumulating Olympic qualifying points prior to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. This is the fifteenth year of title sponsorship of a world championship by Ford of Canada, a sponsorship which is set to continue, despite the press release recently which indicated that Capital One was to become title sponsor. The World Curling Federation yesterday released the following clarification:
"MONCTON, Canada -- In a Media Release dated 25 March, it was announced that Capital One Canada had become an Official Partner of the World Curling Federation as Title Sponsor of Men’s and Women’s World Curling Championships from 2010 onward.
It should be noted that the Capital One Title Sponsorship refers to those World Curling Championships hosted outside of Canada in alternating years, with the first one being the Capital One World Men’s Curling Championship in Cortina, Italy in 2010.
World Curling Championships hosted in Canada continue to be sponsored by Ford of Canada, with the 2010 event being the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship to be held in Swift Current, Saskatchewan."
That release was dated April 1, but nevertheless does not seem to be a joke.
Moncton is also celebrating "the 50th anniversary (51st edition) of the world men’s curling championship", meaning that this is the fifty-first event of its kind. The first of course was the Scotch Cup series of matches at a number of rinks in Scotland in 1959 which matched Canada's Ernie Richardson against Scotland's Willie Young.
This year, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Scotland, Switzerland and the United States will each play eleven games in a round robin, beginning on Saturday. The top four go into the Page Playoffs, whereby the first and second place teams meet in one game, with the winner advancing directly to the gold medal final on Sunday, April 12, while the loser drops to Saturday’s semifinal. The third and fourth place teams also meet, with the winner advancing to the semifinal, while the loser goes to Sunday’s bronze medal game to face the loser of the semifinal.
And what stupid nonsense it is to have a bronze medal game! The semifinal should decide who gets the bronze, end of story.
Kevin Martin of Edmonton is the defending champion, and is the clear favourite to take the title again. Scotland's hopes rest with David Murdoch's team. Find out who else is in the field here.
Mike Haggerty's reports will be on the Royal Club website here, and the Curlcast live results will be linked to from here.
And if you have ten minutes to spare here is some video from last year's final in Grand Forks. The YouTube link is here, or watch the video embedded below.