The 2014 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship gets underway at Harbour Station, Saint John, N. B., Canada, on Saturday.
Twelve of the top women’s teams in the world will take part with play continuing through to Sunday 23 March, when the medals will be decided.
The twelve teams who have qualified for this event are: hosts Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Korea, Latvia, Russia, Scotland, Switzerland, Sweden and the USA.
The U.S. will seek a little redemption from the Sochi Olympics, surely, at this event. The States will be represented by Allison Pottinger at Skip. Joining her will be Nicole Joraanstad, Natalie Nicholson, and Tabitha Peterson.
While there are many familiar names among the competitors, there are also several new names and team line ups.
In three cases, teams that were in action at the recent Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, will again be representing their nations. These are the Olympic and world silver medallists from Sweden, skipped by Margaretha Sigfridsson; the Korean team that finished eighth in Sochi, skipped by Jisun Kim; and the Russian team that finished ninth, skipped by Anna Sidorova.
Other nations have separated their Olympic and world championship representation. These include Scotland, whose team skipped by Eve Muirhead, won last year’s world title in Riga, Latvia and then went on to win bronze (for Great Britain) at the Olympic Winter Games. Instead, Scotland is represented in Saint John by a new team at this level, skipped by Kerry Barr.
China are also introducing a new team at this level, skipped by Sijia Liu; as are Latvia who are skipped by Evita Regza.
In other cases, familiar teams have been re-cast for this event. For example, Germany are represented by the team that has been led for many years by past world champion Andrea Schoepp – this year they are skipped by Imogen Oona Lehmann. Denmark’s Madeleine Dupont returns to World Championship level skipping a new team, as does Binia Feltscher, for Switzerland. Anna Kubeskova makes a second World Championship appearance after Denmark in 2011 as Skip of the Czech team.
The USA will be led by the experienced Allison Pottinger, who topped the USA ranking system to gain selection. Fresh from her second successive victory in the Canadian national women’s championship, Ontario’s Rachel Homan will lead Canada for the second time at this level, hoping to improve on the bronze medal she won last year in Latvia.
Following the opening ceremony on Saturday 15 March, the teams meet in seventeen sessions of round-robin play, until the evening of Thursday 20 March. After this, tie-breakers will be played, if needed, to determine the top four ranked teams.
Then, as in all World Curling Federation (WCF) Championship events, curling’s Page Play-off system will be used, in which the top two ranked teams from the round-robin face each other, with the winner of that game going direct to the final, and the loser being given a second chance by playing a semi-final against the winner of the Play-off between the teams ranked third and fourth. The winner of that sole semi-final goes onto the final to play for gold or silver, and the loser faces the Page 3/4 loser for bronze. These gold and bronze medal finals take place on Sunday 23 March.
In addition, the 2014 World Curling Championships mark the start of a new qualification period for the next Olympic Winter Games in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
All WCF Member Associations competing in Saint John and at the World Men’s Curling Championship 2014 in Beijing China later this month (29 March to 6 April) will be eligible to enter the next WCF Olympic Qualification Event which is scheduled to take place in December 2017 should they not make it to the 2018 Olympics on direct qualification.
World Curling TV (WCTV), the television arm of the World Curling Federation, will provide extensive live and video-on-demand coverage to broadcasters around the world from Saint John. WCF Broadcast Partners for the event include TV4 in Sweden, Russia 2 in Russia, CCTV in China, Universal Sports Network in the USA, SporTV in Brazil, TSN in Canada (RDS in Quebec). Select draws are show Live on YouTube as well.