Brad Gushue and Team Canada (Photo: WCF/Alina Pavlyuchik) enter this year's World Men's Curling Championship, which officially gets underway Saturday afternoon in Ottawa, as the fourth-ranked team in the world.
By: Dylan Chenier
The World Men's Curling Championship officially gets underway this Saturday, with Newfoundland's Brad Gushue searching for his second gold medal in his fourth trip to the tournament, as he gets set to skip Team Canada on home soil in Ottawa. In three previous trips to worlds, Gushue has yet to miss the podium, winning gold in Edmonton in 2017, before two silver medal finishes in 2018 and 2022.
The 42-year-old earned his fourth trip to the championship last month in London, when he skipped Team Canada to victory at the 2023 Tim Horton's Brier, defeating Matt Dunstone and Team Manitoba in the final. This week in Ottawa, Gushue will be looking to secure the home country its first gold medal since 2017, as the rink gets set to face 12 of the best men's teams in the world.
Team Canada begins its tournament on Saturday against Yannick Schwaller and Team Switzerland. The two rinks have met just once so far this season, with Schwaller taking a 5-3 victory at the 2022 WFG GSOC Masters event back in December. Gushue's tournament continues Saturday night against Joel Retornaz and Team Italy.
The Trentino-based squad has improved dramatically in recent years, rising to number three on the World Curling Federation's men's team ranking system. Gushue and Retornaz have faced each other once in 2023, with Gushue winning 6-5 at the Co-Op Canadian Open in January.
Canada's biggest threat for gold, however, will likely come from a familiar foe, as Sweden's Niklas Edin enters the tournament as the four-time defending world champion. Throughout his storied career, Edin has won a total of six world titles, three of which came while facing Team Gushue in the final. In fact, every time Gushue has represented Team Canada, he has met Edin in the gold medal game.
Should the two rinks meet again at the end of the week, it would mark the 11th time the two countries have faced off for gold in men's world championship history. Team Edin enters this year's tournament as the top-ranked men's rink in the world. In 12 events so far this season, Edin has won six championship titles, with his most recent victory coming back in February at the Sun City Cup in Sweden.
Another top rink competing this week in Ottawa, with a legitimate chance at taking home the gold, is Bruce Mouat's Team Scotland. The team from Stirling has two podium finishes in three previous Worlds appearances, including a silver medal in the Calgary bubble back in 2021.
Mouat enters this year's tournament as the sixth-ranked tea in the world, having competed in 10 events so far this season, including a gold medal finish at the 2022 European Curling Championships in Ostersund, Sweden.
Other countries competing this week in Ottawa include the Czech Republic (Klima), Germany (Totzek), Japan (Yanagisawa), Korea (Jeong), New Zealand (Hood), Norway (Ramsfjell), Turkey (Ugrucan), and the United States (Shuster).
The teams will compete in a 12-game round-robin through Friday, Apr. 7, with the top six teams advancing to the playoffs. The playoff draw will see the first and second-ranked teams from the round-robin receive a bye to the semifinals, while the remaining rinks contest a must-win playoff qualification draw. The championship final is set for Sunday, Apr. 9, 2023, at 4:00 p.m. ET.
The 2023 BKT Tires and OK Tire World Men's CUrling CHampionship officially gets underway on Saturday, Apr. 1, 2023, with Draw 1 set for 2:00 p.m. ET at Ottawa's TD Arena.
As for how to watch this year's tournament, Canadian fans can catch all of Team Gushue's round-robin games live on TSN, with the network also providing comprehensive coverage of the playoff draws. Canada's first game against Team Switzerland will be broadcast live on TSN 1.
Meanwhile, World Curling TV will stream all games from the event live through the Curling Channel on Recast. Select streams will include full production value with commentary, while every other game will be available without commentary. Geo-blocking may apply to broadcast games due to broadcast partner agreements.
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