More than a year after a crushing disappointment, Kerri Einarson and her team from Gimli, Man., will get its long-awaited chance to represent Canada as the 2021 LGT World Women’s Curling Championship, presented by BKT Tires, gets underway Friday at WinSport Arena at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.
Team Canada, from left, front, Kerri Einarson, Val Sweeting, Shannon Birchard, Briane Meilleur. Back, alternate Krysten Karwacki, coach Heather Nedohin. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)
Einarson’s team was to play as Team Canada at the 2020 World Women’s Championship in Prince George, B.C., but that event was cancelled just 48 hours before it began due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was in its early stages.
Einarson, backed up by vice-skip Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard, lead Briane Meilleur, alternate Krysten Karwacki and coach Heather Nedohin, repeated as Scotties Tournament of Hearts champions in February in the bubble in Calgary.
And just days after their win, it was announced by the World Curling Federation that the 2021 LGT World Women’s Championship — which had been cancelled in its original host city of Schaffhausen, Switzerland — would be moved to the Calgary bubble, giving Einarson’s team its long-awaited chance to play at a world championship.
Team Canada, rounded out by national coach Elaine Dagg-Jackson, will open its 13-game round-robin schedule with a showdown against 2018 Olympic gold-medallist Anna Hasselborg of Sweden Friday at 4 p.m. (all times Eastern).
As was the case at the 2021 BKT Tires & OK Tire World Men’s Championship, presented by New Holland, earlier this month in the Calgary bubble, there will more than just world championship medals on the line for the 14 competing countries.
The top six finishing teams will clinch berths for their respective countries in the women’s four-player curling field for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Of the 14 teams that will be competing in the 2021 LGT World Women’s Championship, six will have already been in the bubble, competing in a pair of Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling events — Team Canada, Team Sweden, Scotland’s Eve Muirhead, Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni, RCF’s Alina Kovaleva and Tabitha Peterson of the United States.
Also competing at the 2021 LGT World Women’s Championship will be China’s Yu Han, the Czech Republic’s Anna Kubeskova, Denmark’s Madeleine Dupont, Estonia’s Marie Turmann, Germany’s Daniela Jentsch, Italy’s Stefania Constantini, Japan’s Sayaka Yoshimura and South Korea’s Eun-Jung Gim.
With the country of Russia serving a two-year World Anti-Doping Agency ban, Kovalava’s team is formally listed as representing RCF.
The first draw of the 2021 LGT World Women’s Championship is scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m.
Team Einarson will be looking to get Canada back on the podium after Chelsea Carey’s Canadian champs missed the playoffs at the 2019 World Women’s Championship in Silkeborg, Denmark.
It’s the 16th time that Canada has hosted the World Women’s Championship since it began in 1979 in Perth, Scotland, and the first time it’s happened in Calgary.
Canada has won a leading 17 gold medals at the World Women’s since 1979, followed by Sweden with eight and defending champion Switzerland with seven. In 2019 at Silkeborg, Tirinzoni’s Swiss team won the gold medal — a fifth Swiss world title in the past eight years. Canada last prevailed in 2018 at North Bay, where Jennifer Jones skipped the Canadian team to victory.
Round-robin play in the bubble will run through to Friday, May 7, with the top six teams making the playoffs; no tiebreakers will be played, so ties for playoff spots will be broken based on head-to-head results, and if that doesn’t resolve the tie, then the pre-game Last-Shot Draw distances.
The top two teams from round-robin play will be seeded directly into the semifinals on May 8, while third will play sixth and fourth will play fifth in the qualifying-round games — one of which will take place in the evening on May 7, and other in the morning on May 8.
The winners of the qualifying-round games will advance to the semifinals later on Saturday — one in the afternoon and the other in the evening. The semifinal winners will play for gold on May 9 at 3 p.m., with the semifinal losers battling for bronze on May 9 at 10:30 a.m.
TSN/RDS2, the official broadcast partners of Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, will provide live coverage of Canada’s round-robin games, in addition to all playoff games. CLICK HERE for their complete broadcast schedule.
The list of teams, schedule information and live scoring can be found on the event website, worldcurling.org/events/wwcc2021.
CLICK HERE to read this story at the Curling Canada website.