2014 WFG Continental Cup begins on Thursday in Las Vegas

The World Financial Group Continental Cup which begins on Thursday in Las Vegas will feature nearly half of the teams participating in the curling competition at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Doors to the Orleans Arena Photo: WCF

Nine of the 20 teams that will compete in Sochi will take to the ice, along with three other top international curling teams, at the Orleans Hotel and Casino Arena from Thursday 16 to Sunday 19 for the Continental Cup which is often described as curling’s version of the Ryder Cup.

The tenth edition of the event, which is a joint venture between the World Curling Federation, Canadian Curling Association and USA Curling, is being staged for the first time outside of Canada in collaboration with the Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition.

The event has attracted record ticket sales with the appeal of seeing so many Olympic curling teams in such an iconic location prior to Sochi.

Jon Killoran from the organising committee said: “we are delighted to see that the event has had such popular appeal. We are very excited to roll out the Vegas red carpet to the world’s top curlers and their fans just weeks ahead of the Olympic Winter Games. We hope that the popularity of the event will help grow the sport of curling further in the US and beyond.”

In the Continental Cup, six teams from North America will compete against six teams representing the rest of the world in various curling disciplines: Team games, Mixed Doubles, Singles and Skins games. For each segment, teams are awarded points for wins (or ties).

Currently, North America lead The World by five wins to four since the inaugural Continental Cup was held in 2002 in Regina, Canada.

Team World features five teams that will compete at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games: reigning men’s world champions Niklas Edin and his team from Sweden, reigning women’s world champions Eve Muirhead are her team from Scotland, 2013 World and European bronze medallists David Murdoch and his team from Scotland (both Scottish teams will represent Great Britain in Sochi).

They are joined by Thomas Ulsrud and his team from Norway and current European champion Margaretha Sigfridsson and her team from Sweden. Satsuki Fujisawa’s team from Japan rounds off the line-up and is the only team not to be heading to Russia.

Team World will be led by 1991 world champion David Hay of Scotland as Captain, and Coach Peja Lindholm, three-time world champion from Sweden.

Team North America will be represented by four teams from Canada and two teams from the USA. Both Canada’s and the USA’s Olympic representatives will form part of the line-up.

Representing Canada in Sochi will be Brad Jacobs’ team from Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, who finished with silver medals at the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship 2013 and 2008 world women’s champion, Jennifer Jones, and her team from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

They are joined by the USA’s Olympic representatives - two time World Women’s Curling Championship silver medallist Erika Brown and her team from Madison, Wisconsin, along with 2006 Olympic bronze medallist John Shuster and his team from Duluth, Minnesota.

The two other teams forming part of Team North America are skipped by two-time world champion Jeff Stoughton from Winnipeg and World Women’s Curling Championship 2013 bronze medallist Rachel Homan from Ottawa.

Team North America will be led by Captain Steve Brown from the USA, a two time World Men’s Curling Championship bronze medallist, while three-time Brier winner and two-time world champion Rick Lang of Thunder Bay, Canada will return as Coach for his fourth consecutive year.

A total of 60 points are available during this competition, meaning the side that earns more than 30 points will be declared the champion.

For the six mixed Doubles and six singles matches, one point will be awarded for each victory, one-half point if tied). There will be 18 team games (nine men’s and nine women’s) played, each worth one point for a win and a half-point for a tie. All games are eight ends and there are no extra ends. There will also be six skins games, with each game worth a total of five points to the winner.

The winning side receives $52,000 Cdn ($2,000 per member, including captain and coach), while the losing side gets $26,000 ($1,000 per member, including captain and coach). As well, the side which generates the highest points total from the six Skins games will receive an additional $13,000 ($500 per player, plus captain and coach).

For ticket and other event information, visit: www.curling.ca/2014continentalcup-en/
For the complete event schedule, go to: www.curling.ca/2014continentalcup-en/draw-schedule/
For more about the Olympic curling competition: www.sochi2014.worldcurling.net/

In Canada, TSN (RDS2 in French), will broadcast complete live coverage of the event. In the United States, NBCSN will air extended highlight coverage on Sunday 19 January from 1:30-3:30 PM ET and on Sunday 26 January from 8:00-10:00 PM ET. In Sweden live coverage will aired on the Viasat platform on Saturday 18 January. Live coverage will also be available on the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel World Curling TV. www.youtube.com/user/WorldCurlingTV