The teams have been confirmed for the 2012 World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Monsanto.
The eighth edition of this unique international curling competition takes place from 12 to 15 January 2012 at the Langley Events Centre in Langley, British Columbia, Canada. The event features curling action from some of the top teams in the world with six teams from North America pitched against six teams representing the rest of the world in various disciplines during the four days.
Playing Team games, Mixed Doubles, Singles, Mixed Skins and Skins games, teams win points for wins (or ties), with the first side to reach 201 points declared the winner. Currently, Team North America holds a 4-3 edge over Team World since the inaugural Continental Cup was contested in 2002 in Regina, Canada.
Team World’s colours will be worn by teams skipped by Niklas Edin from Sweden, Tom Brewster from Scotland, Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud, Sweden’s Anette Norberg, China’s Bingyu Wang and Eve Muirhead from Scotland.
The captain for Team World will be former world champion David Hay from Scotland while Sweden’s Peja Lindholm, a three-time world champion, returns as coach.
Ulsrud is reigning European champion and earned a silver medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Brewster and Edin collected silver and bronze medals, respectively, at the 2011 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship in Regina.
Norberg, two-time Olympic gold medallist, won her third world title last season at the Capital One World Women’s Curling Championship in Esbjerg, Denmark. She is also a three-time Continental Cup winner. Bingyu Wang, the 2009 world champion, was also a bronze medallist at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and 2011 Women’s World Championship. Muirhead took silver at the 2010 Ford World Women’s Championship and is a four-time and current world junior champion.
Team North America will be represented by four teams from Canada - skipped by Jeff Stoughton from Winnipeg, Glenn Howard from Coldwater, Amber Holland of Kronau, Saskatchewan and Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon and two teams from the United States - skipped by Pete Fenson of Bemidji, Minnesota and Patti Lank of Lewiston, New York.
Their captain will be former world champion Julie Skinner of Victoria, British Columbia while three-time Canadian Men’s Champion and two-time world champion Rick Lang of Thunder Bay will return as coach.
Stoughton is reigning men’s world champion, winning his second title at the 2011 Ford World Men’s Championship in Regina. Howard is a three-time Brier (Canadian Men’s Championship) and world champion and won last year’s Canada Cup in Medicine Hat to qualify for the 2012 World Financial Group Continental Cup.
Lawton also won last year’s Canada Cup while Holland won the Scotties Tournament of Hearts (Canadian Women’s Championship) in Charlottetown, then took silver at the 2011 Women’s Worlds in Denmark. Fenson, the 2006 Olympic bronze medallist, and Lank, a former world silver medallist, are the reigning US national champions.
In 2012 the winning side will receive $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). In addition, the side which wins the final Men’s Skins game receives an additional $13,000.
The Canadian sports channel TSN will provide complete coverage of the event, which is being sponsored for the second consecutive year by World Financial Group.
At the inaugural Cup in Regina, Canada in 2002, Team North America pulled out an incredible last stone victory when Canada’s Kevin Martin defeated Sweden’s Peja Lindholm in the final men’s Skins game to win 207-193.
In 2003, Team Europe (later to become known as Team World) turned the tables with a 208-179 victory in Thunder Bay.
In 2004 in Medicine Hat, before a record four-day crowd of 42,317, it was North America’s turn again, notching a 228-172 win.
The 2006 renewal, staged in Chilliwack, British Columbia, featured all of the medal-winning teams from the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy, as Team Europe pulled even with a 229-171 victory.
In 2007, the Cup returned to Medicine Hat, and once again, North America prevailed, 290-110, this time clinching the Cup in record fashion on Saturday evening, prior to Sunday’s final women’s and men’s Skins games.
The 2008 Continental Cup was contested in Camrose, Alberta and won by Team World, 208-192, which evened the series at three victories apiece, as each side continued to prevail in alternate years. Last season, in St. Albert, Alberta, the trend continued as North America romped to a record 298-102 decision.
In 2005 and 2009, no Continental Cup events were scheduled due to the curling trials which qualified Canada’s teams for the Olympic Winter Games.
Event Passes with guaranteed seating are now on sale. Call +1-855-532-8497 or go online to http://www.curling.ca/championships/continentalcup/tickets
The World Financial Group Continental Cup, which was staged for the first time in mid-January this past season, after previously being conducted in late November/early December, is a joint venture of the Canadian Curling Association, World Curling Federation and United States Curling Association.