Women's world curling championship added to Calgary bubble for April
Kerri Einarson and team can also lock up a spot for Canada at Beijing Olympics
Kerri Einarson and her two-time national champion Manitoba team are finally going to get their chance to wear the maple leaf at a world curling championship.
After days of speculation Calgary would play host to the women's world curling championship after it was cancelled in early February, the World Curling Federation made it official on Friday when it announced the event would be played in Calgary, in the same bubble conditions used for the Scotties and this week's Brier.
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The event, originally scheduled to take place in late March in Switzerland, will begin Friday, April 30 with the championship game scheduled for Sunday, May 9.
"This is a vitally important championship for Olympic qualification," World Curling Federation president Kate Caithness said in a release. "We are extremely grateful to Curling Canada and all our stakeholders for their willingness to work together, and at such short notice, to ensure that qualification for Beijing 2022 happens on the ice and in competition."
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Fourteen teams will compete, with the top six finishers earning a spot for their countries in the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. Specific teams that will compete are then determined in national playdowns.
Along with Einarson's Canadian team, reigning champions Switzerland, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Russian Curling Federation team, Scotland, Sweden and the United States will take part.
Einarson, who won her second Scotties title in a row by defeating Rachel Homan last Sunday, was a day away from competing at the world championship last March in Prince George, B.C., before the pandemic took over and the world shut down.
Now the Gimli, Man., foursome has added motivation to not only represent Canada at this international competition but also understands the importance of finishing in the top six and securing a spot for Canada at the Olympics.
The addition of the women's worlds brings to seven the number of bonspiels Calgary will host in a little more than two months. Along with the already played Scotties and this week's Brier, the national mixed curling championship starts March 18, followed by the men's world championship beginning in early April. That then leads into two Grand Slam of Curling events. A number of the women's teams competing in the world championship will already be in Calgary to compete in the Slams.
"The protocols that have been in place for the early events in Calgary have proved successful in keeping athletes, officials and the host city safe, so we feel good about this plan carrying on successfully through to the end of the LGT world women's curling championship," Katherine Henderson, CEO of Curling Canada, said in a statement.
"Our board of governors has been truly supportive of our plans from day one as we started down this road, and then as this late situation presented itself, they again stood behind us. It is a result of the positive relationships between our board and the World Curling Federation that we have been entrusted with this opportunity"