Road To The Olympic Games


Brendan Bottcher goes undefeated to open men's world curling championship

Canada's Brendan Bottcher opened the men's world curling championship Friday with a 9-6 win over Scotland.

Canadian skip downs Scotland, Japan, Swiss edge back-to-back world champion Edin

Team Canada skip Brendan Bottcher, centre, makes a shot as lead Karrick Martin, right, and second Brad Thiessen sweep while playing Scotland in the opener at the men's world curling championship in Calgary on Friday. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

A Canadian rival's assist fills a gap for Brendan Bottcher at the men's world curling championship.

The world championship stones in Calgary are not the rocks Bottcher and teammates threw to win a Canadian title last month in the same arena.

The World Curling Federation's stones employed at WinSport's Markin MacPhail Centre were last tossed at the 2019 men's world championship in Lethbridge, Alta., where Kevin Koe represented Canada.

Colton Flasch, Koe's second that year, has supplied Bottcher's foursome with a "rock book" that is a scouting report on each stone's movement.

"He gave us his book from the '19 worlds," Bottcher third Darren Moulding said. "That just shows us Canadian curlers, we've got each other's backs."

Bottcher, Moulding and front end Brad Thiessen and Karrick Martin from Edmonton came from behind to beat Scotland's Bruce Mouat 9-6 in Canada's opener Friday.

WATCH | Bottcher wins opener at world championship in Calgary:

Canada tops Scotland in opening match at world championships


18 days ago
Brendan Bottcher and Canada took down Bruce Mouat's group from Scotland 9-6 in their opening match on Friday. 0:51

Down 5-2 at the fifth-end break, Canada scored two in the sixth, seventh and ninth ends to be up 8-6 coming home without last-rock advantage.

The Scots couldn't generate a deuce with hammer and gave up a steal of one. Mouat, a bronze medallist in 2018, is a contender for the title in Calgary.

"We were resilient that game," Bottcher said. "We battled hard. That was a big win for us in the course of the week.

"I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a little bit of butterflies. It's a pretty cool feeling. We've been wearing the (Canada) jerseys for a few days now. We're playing in a world championship. That's frigging cool."

The hosts also topped Japan's Matsumura Yuta 8-5 in an evening draw to move to 2-0, while Scotland responded with a 7-2 win over Denmark to even its record 1-1.

WATCH | Devin Heroux sets up men's world curling championship:

Devin Heroux sets up world men's curling championship


18 days ago
CBC Sports' Devin Heroux catches up with John Northcott to discuss the world men's curling championship kicking off in Calgary on Friday. 2:39

Koe defeated Bottcher in the 2019 Tim Hortons Brier final and took silver in Lethbridge behind champion Niklas Edin of Sweden.

Nine of 14 skips in this year's BK Tires and OK Tire World Men's Curling Championship also competed in Lethbridge.

They have stone intelligence the Canadians would lack if not for Flasch's generosity.

"We are all Team Canada and anything to help them," Flasch wrote in a message to The Canadian Press.

"I would think with no information they would be at a slight disadvantage and any extra information early in the week would only help them."

The WCF's stones feel lighter and not quite as lively in the house as the Brier rocks, said Moulding.

"They are different stones than we used in the Brier and running a little bit differently than we're used to seeing," Bottcher said.

Olympic champ Shuster, de Cruz open with wins

The Russian Curling Federation team skipped by Sergey Glukhov won twice Friday. Glukhov's official team name is Russian Curling Federation because of World Anti-Doping Agency sanctions against his country.

Norway's Steffan Walstad and Italy's Joel Retornaz also went 2-0 on Day 1.

Reigning Olympic champion John Shuster of the United States and Switzerland's Peter de Cruz opened with wins Friday to sit 1-0, while Japan's Matsumura was alongside Scotland at 1-1.

The Swiss edged back-to-back world champion Edin 8-7 in an extra end.

Sweden and Germany's Sixten Totzek were 0-1, while Jaap Van Doorp of the Netherlands, Denmark's Mads Noergaard, South Korea's Jeong Yeong-seok and China's Zou Quiang started 0-2.

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