Two teams with significant international experience will open play on Saturday in the 2018 World Junior Curling Championship, staged in Curl Aberdeen at Aberdeen, Scotland.
Two members of Kaitlyn Jones’s Canadian women’s team from Halifax were world junior gold-medallists two years ago in Tårnby, Denmark, while Tyler Tardi’s Canadian men’s team from Langley, B.C., placed fifth at the 2017 World Juniors in Gangneung, South Korea.
Canadian women’s vice-skip Kristin Clarke and second Karlee Burgess played for Mary Fay’s world championship team in 2016; Jones, lead Lindsey Burgess (Karlee’s cousin), alternate Lauren Lenentine [from PEI] and coach Andrew Atherton round out the team.
Tardi, meanwhile, has vice-skip Sterling Middleton, second Jordan Tardi (Tyler’s brother) and coach Paul Tardi (their dad) back from the 2017 squad that lost to Norway in a playoff tiebreaker in Gangneung. Lead Zachary Curtis and alternate Jacques Gauthier (cousin to Tyler and Jordan) also are making the trip.
Tardi, Middleton, Burgess and Fay also won gold in the mixed team competition at the 2016 Youth Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.
The Canadian women will be seeking a fifth straight trip to the medal podium; Kelsey Rocque won back-to-back gold medals in 2014 and 2015, followed by Fay’s triumph in 2016 and a bronze medal from Kristen Streifel last year in Gangeung.
Canada’s men’s team, meanwhile, will be seeking a leading 19th world junior men’s gold medal (Scotland is next with 10), but first since Braden Calvert’s victory in 2015 at Tallinn, Estonia.
The Canadian teams will be in a 10-team (of each gender) round-robin draw that leads to the four-team Olympic-style semifinals (first place vs. fourth place; second place vs. third place), on Friday, March 9 (there will be no playoff tiebreakers).
Canada’s women open their round-robin schedule on Saturday at 9 a.m. local time (5 a.m. AT) against China’s Zixin Wang. The Canadian men get onto the ice for the first time at 2 p.m. local time (10 a.m. AT) against Switzerland’s Jan Hess, who finished out of the playoffs at the 2017 World Juniors.
The women’s field is headed by reigning world champion Isabella Wranå of Sweden, and also includes South Korea’s Min Ji Kim, who lost to Canada in the bronze-medal game last year, but won bronze in 2016 in Denmark.
On the men’s side, only one of the 2017 men’s medallists is back, as silver-medallist Andrew Stopera of the United States returns with his 2017 lineup fully intact.
The women’s field will be rounded out by teams from Norway, Russia, Scotland, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States.
There will be other men’s teams from China, Germany, South Korea (gold medallists last year but with a different team), Norway, Russia, Scotland and Sweden.
Event information, including news and live scoring, are available at the event website, www.worldcurling.org/wjcc2018
As well, selected games will be streamed live on the World Curling Federation’s Youtube channel, www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV
Here’s a look at Canada’s round-robin schedule, along with information (subject to change) on Canadian games that will be streamed live (all times ET):
Saturday, March 3
4 a.m. — Canada women vs. China
9 a.m. — Canada men vs. Switzerland
2 p.m. — Canada women vs. Turkey
Sunday, March 4
4 a.m. — Canada men vs. Sweden
9 a.m. — Canada women vs. Scotland (streamed live)
2 p.m. — Canada men vs. Scotland (streamed live)
Monday March 5
4 a.m. — Canada women vs. United States (streamed live)
9 a.m. — Canada men vs. United States (streamed live)
2 p.m. — Canada women vs. South Korea
Tuesday, March 6
4 a.m. — Canada men vs. China
9 a.m. — Canada women vs. Russia
2 p.m. — Canada men vs. Norway
Wednesday, March 7
4 a.m. — Canada women vs. Switzerland
9 a.m. — Canada men vs. South Korea
2 p.m. — Canada women vs. Norway
Thursday, March 8
4 a.m. — Canada men vs. Russia
9 a.m. — Canada women vs. Sweden (streamed live)
2 p.m. — Canada men vs. Germany
Friday, March 9
9 a.m. — Women’s semifinals (streamed live)
2 p.m. — Men’s semifinals (streamed live)
Saturday, March 10
4 a.m. — Women’s gold- and bronze-medal games (streamed live)
9 a.m. — Men’s gold- and bronze-medal games (streamed live)