Nfld. & Labrador

Team Gushue gearing up for world championship tournament in Las Vegas

The team made a brief homecoming to St. John's, but it was all work and no play as they gear up to defend a world championship this weekend.

Gushue enters the tournament as a heavy favourite

Team Canada skip Brad Gushue defeated Alberta's Brendan Bottcher to win his second consecutive Brier. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press )

Team Gushue is enjoying a brief homecoming to St. John's amidst a busy schedule, where they are gearing up for the World Men's Curling Championship.

Gushue will begin play on Saturday, working to defend his title from last year's win in Edmonton where the team had a perfect 13-0 record.

But when asked if defending a world title is any different than winning for the first time, Gushue said no.

"I think it's the same to be honest. It's the biggest event every year with the exception of every four years with the Olympics," he said. "The only benefit we have is that we know we can do it."

The Brier champs are heading to Vegas later this month 2:14

The team is fresh off winning its second consecutive Brier championship earlier this month and is riding high going into the worlds as a heavy favourite to win.

"I think we're going to be spoiled a little bit in Vegas, because I think there's going to be a lot of Canadians down there," Gushue said. "But outside of Canada, Canada is kind of the villain, because we're so good at curling and we have so many top teams."

Mark Nichols and Brad Gushue remember what it was like to be on top of the curling world in 2006 and the lessons learned about how to stay there. (Gary Locke/CBC)

The feeling of being on top of the curling world is nothing new for the team, especially for Gushue and his right-hand man, Mark Nichols. The two are former Olympic champions, and can remember what it was like to be the top dogs back then.

"When we won back in 2006 we were at the peak and we didn't stay there very long," Gushue laughed.

"This time around I think we're better prepared, obviously we're a little bit older and more mature and we have a more complete team as well. It's made it a little bit easier to stay at the top, as well. But it's fun."

Gushue, playing as Team Canada, will open the tournament on Saturday afternoon with a match against Russia.

With files from Zach Goudie