Tuesday 8 November 2016
Prior to World Curling Federation (WCF) events many Member Associations have competitive qualification competitions, with different qualification systems, for their national teams to earn their chance to represent their country at international level.
We now have our teams for this year’s Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2016 (ECC) in Braehead, Scotland (19-26 November). Carrying on from the women’s qualifying, the men’s qualifying for the ECC 2016 has been just as exciting:
Tom Brewster (Scotland)
Scotland’s Tom Brewster is back as Scotland’s male skip. After competing at the World Men's Curling Championship 2016 in Basel, Switzerland and following on from the recent European playdowns he is leading the in-form Scottish team ahead of these championships.
At the playdowns, Brewster faced Sochi 2014 silver medallist David Murdoch and his team and Kyle Smith’s rink who represented Scotland at last year’s ECC in Esbjerg, Denmark.
Despite losing the first qualifying match to Murdoch, Brewster’s side beat their opponents 7-2 in the first of the best-of-three final matches – with three ends to go – and then took a comfortable 9-5 victory in nine ends, in the second game, which secured him the Europeans spot. This team are playing with confidence and should be considered a potential threat in Braehead.
Team Brewster: Tom Brewster (skip), Glen Muirhead (third), Ross Paterson (second), Hammy McMillan (lead) and Duncan Menzies (alternate).
Peter De Cruz (Switzerland)
Switzerland will be another potential threat. Last year, Peter De Cruz’s rink made the final in Esbjerg, narrowly missing out on gold thanks to a winner in the extra end from Niklas Edin’s Swedish side. De Cruz is back for a second year, coming through qualification confidently.
Coming up against Marc Pfister’s rink in the playdowns, it was a best of seven series. The first two matches were straightforward, but Pfister’s side were kicking themselves after letting De Cruz’s side back in in the seventh end of the third game, before they snatched it in the final end, scoring two. Pfister’s side didn’t slip up in the fourth game, also scoring two in the final end to keep their hopes alive. However, team De Cruz won emphatically in the fifth match to secure the win – booking his team’s tickets to Scotland.
Team De Cruz: Benoit Schwarz (fourth), Claudio Paetz (third), Peter De Cruz (second and skip), Valentin Tanner (lead) and Reto Gribi (alternate).
Niklas Edin (Sweden)
Team Niklas Edin technically didn’t qualify due to Sweden’s selection policy, but it would have been foolish to leave out the current European Champions. Europe’s highest ranked team on the World Curling Tour are on a bit of a hot streak at the moment, after they became the first non-Canadian team to win the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling championship in October.
Also, Rasmus Wrana – former world junior silver medallist – the new second for Edin’s rink seems to be fitting in just fine, considering this team’s current form.
Team Edin: Niklas Edin (skip), Oskar Eriksson (third), Rasmus Wrana (second) and Christoffer Sundgren (lead).
Thomas Ulsrud (Norway)
One of the veterans of Norwegian curling, Thomas Ulsrud will be looking for an improvement on last year’s bronze medal after securing a place at this event with his rink. This season has seen them reach two World Curling Tour finals, losing to Brad Jacobs’ team in the College Clean Restoration Curling Classic in Saskatoon as well as losing to the aforementioned Team De Cruz rink in Switzerland at the Baden Masters. If Ulsrud and his team medal this year, it will be the tenth season in a row that they will have made it onto the podium at The Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships.
Team Ulsrud: Thomas Ulsrud (skip), Torger Nergaard (third), Christoffer Svae (second), Haavard Vad Petersson (lead) and Sander Roelvaag (alternate).
Rasmus Stjerne (Denmark)
Denmark will return to the top division with Rasmus Stjerne skipping his rink once again. Team Stjerne in the 2015-2016 season went from competing in the European B-Division to winning first ever silver medals for Denmark at the World Men’s Curling Championship 2016 in Basel, Switzerland.
Team Stjerne: Rasmus Stjerne (skip), Johnny Frederiksen (third), Mikkel Poulsen (second), Troels Harry (lead) and Oliver Dupont (alternate).
The Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships is the qualifying event for the World Women’s and Men’s Curling Championships in 2017, which in turn are the last opportunity for Member Associations to earn Olympic Qualification Points for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, Korea.
To engage with with the WCF on social media, in the build up to PyeongChang 2018 and for the ECC 2016, follow us on Twitter, Instagram (@WorldCurling) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation) and use the hashtags when posting:
Generic: #curling #Roadto2018
Event specific: #ECC2016
Buy your tickets online from Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.co.uk/artist/222762