Brad Gushue will represent Canada at the upcoming World Men's Curling Championship in Las Vegas, and for him, this will be a first-time experience.
Olympic curling champion? Check.
World curling champion? Check.
National curling champion? Check, Check.
Curled in Vegas? Nope!
That's one box Brad Gushue can't check off until March 31. That's when Gushue and his reigning world championship team of Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker will step on the ice of the Orleans Arena, for their first game at the World Men's Curling Championship. As a team, it will be their first game ever in Las Vegas.
"Of our four players, Mark is the only one who has curled in Vegas before," said Gushue. "The rest of us have only witnessed the excitement and the energy on TV, so we're excited about getting a live taste. It should be great."
Gushue's Team Canada will be one of the early favourites to win it all again, coming off a dominant performance at the Tim Hortons Brier national championship in Regina Saskatchewan.
Asked whether the large cache of tickets already sold to Canadian fans will outweigh the last minute sales that are sweeping in from all corners of a curling-crazy country, Gushue was hopeful that box could be checked off as well.
"I hope it's going to be us that has the home crowd advantage. But when you look at what Shuster and his boys did at the Olympics, that could certainly swing the tide. There's still time left, and I'm hoping we get even more Canadians buying tickets. We know that all the East Coasters who are already coming will give us some advantage."
Organizers say that the recent developments on both sides of the border are contributing to a lot of sales interest.
"First it was Shuster's team winning gold at the Olympics," said Jon Killoran, event manager. "And now, we're seeing a ton of activity coming from Canada again. Those Canadian fans love their curling, and they love their team even more. The contest will be raging both on the ice and in the stands."
Tickets for the World Men's are priced from just $25 for single draw and 4-day mini packs start at $199. All tickets can be purchased at the Orleans Arena Box Office or online at LasVegasCurling.rocks.