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World Financial Group Continental Cup 2012 begins Thursday in Canada

2011 World Financial Group Contiental Cup Teams Photo: WCF/CCA/Michael Burns

The World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Monsanto, gets underway Thursday at the Langley Events Centre in British Columbia.

It’s the second year of title sponsorship by World Financial Group and the eighth edition of this unique international curling competition, featuring six teams from North America versus six teams representing The World in a variety of disciplines during the four days – Team Games, Mixed Doubles, Singles, Mixed Skins and Skins.

Each segment awards points for wins (or ties), with the first side to reach 201 points declared the winner. Currently, North America holds a 4-3 edge over Team World since the inaugural Continental Cup was contested in 2002 in Regina. The sides have alternated winning ever since the first edition.

North America won in 2002, 2004 (in Medicine Hat), 2007 (in Medicine Hat) and 2011 (in St. Albert). Team World (then Team Europe) won in 2003 (in Thunder Bay), 2006 (in Chilliwack) and 2008 (in Camrose). There were no Continental Cups in 2005, 2009 and 2010.

The Canadian TV broadcaster TSN (RDS in Quebec) will provide complete live coverage of the World Financial Group Continental Cup, for viewers in Canada. And, in association with the World Curling Federation, TSN will provide web-streamed coverage to viewers outside Canada which will be available on the WCF website: World Financial Group Continental Cup 2012 Web Coverage

Team World’s colours will be worn by teams skipped by Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud of Oslo, Sweden’s Niklas Edin of Karlstad, Scotland’s Tom Brewster of Aberdeen, Sweden’s Anette Norberg of Karlstad, China’s Bingyu Wang of Harbin and Scotland’s Eve Muirhead of Dunkeld.

The captain for Team World will be Scotland’s David Hay, another former world champion, while Sweden’s Peja Lindholm, a three-time world champion, returns as coach, looking for his third Cup win (2003 as a player, 2008 as coach).

Ulsrud is the reigning consecutive two-time European champion who also earned a silver medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, while Brewster and Edin collected silver and bronze medals, respectively, at the 2011 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship in Regina, Canada.

Ulsrud and Edin were members of Team World when winning the 2008 Continental Cup while Brewster is making his Cup debut.

Norberg, a two-time (2006, 2010) Olympic gold medallist, won her third world title last year in Esbjerg, Denmark. She’s also a three-time Continental Cup winner (2003, 2006, 2008). Bingyu Wang, the 2009 world champion, was also a bronze medallist at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and 2011 World Women’s and a member of winning Team World at the 2008 Continental Cup.

Muirhead, making her Cup debut, won a silver medal at the 2010 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship in Swift Current, Canada, is a four-time world junior champion and the reigning European champion, after her team’s victory last December in Moscow.

North America will be represented by four teams from Canada and two from the United States – skipped by Winnipeg’s Jeff Stoughton, the reigning Ford World Men’s champion and three-time Brier (Canadian Men’s Championship) winner, three-time world champion Glenn Howard of Coldwater, Ontario, Amber Holland of Kronau, Saskatchewan, the reigning Scotties (Canadian Women’s Championship) champion and 2011 Capital One World Women’s silver medallist, Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon, a two-time Canada Cup winner and former Canadian junior champion, along with the current U.S. national champions – Pete Fenson of Bemidji, Minnesota and Patti Lank of Lewiston, New York.

It will be the first Continental Cup appearance for Stoughton and Holland. Howard was a member of the winning North America side in 2007, while Lawton played in 2008. Fenson, the 2006 Olympic bronze medallist, has participated in three previous Cups, winning in 2011, while Lank, a former worlds silver medallist, was on the winning side in 2002 and 2004.

The captain will be former world champion Julie Skinner of Victoria, British Columbia, who also played for North America when winning the first Continental Cup in 2002, while three-time Brier winner and two-time world champion Rick Lang of Thunder Bay will return as coach after winning last year.

Team games, at eight ends only, will be played Thursday and Friday, as will two Mixed Doubles sessions. On Saturday, the 20-point and 30-point Skins games, including Mixed Skins, will be held, along with the Singles competition. On Sunday, the women’s (at 10:30 am PT) and men’s (5:00 pm PT) 55-point Skins games will be contested. For up-to-the-minute draw results, visit http://www.curling.ca/championships/continentalcup

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 that wins the final Men’s Skins game will receive an additional $13,000.

The World Financial Group Continental Cup is a joint venture of the Canadian Curling Association, World Curling Federation and United States Curling Association.

TEAM WORLD
Captain: David Hay, Scotland Coach: Peja Lindholm**, Sweden

Women
CHINA – Harbin CC, Harbin
Bingyu Wang*, Qingshuang Yue*, Jinli Liu, Yan Zhou*

SCOTLAND – Dunkeld Curling Club, Dunkeld
Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloan, Vicki Adams, Claire Hamilton

SWEDEN – Karlstads CK, Karlstad
Anette Norberg***, Cissi Östlund, Sara Carlsson, Lotta Lennartsson

Men
NORWAY - Snarøen CC, Oslo
Thomas Ulsrud*, Torger Nergård*, Christoffer Svae*, Håvard Vad Petersson*

SCOTLAND – Club Aberdeen, Aberdeen
Tom Brewster, Greg Drummond, Scott Andrews, Michael Goodfellow

SWEDEN – Karlstads CK, Karlstad
Niklas Edin*, Sebastian Kraupp, Fredrik Lindberg, Viktor Kjäll

TEAM NORTH AMERICA
Captain: Julie Skinner*, Canada Coach: Rick Lang*, Canada

Women
CANADA – Kronau Curling Club, Kronau, Saskatchewan
Amber Holland, Kim Schneider, Tammy Schneider, Heather Kalenchuk

CANADA – Granite Curling Club, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Stefanie Lawton, Sherry Anderson, Sherri Singler, Marliese Kasner

UNITED STATES – Rochester Curling Club, Rochester, New York
Patti Lank**, Nina Spatola*, Caitlin Maroldo, Mackenzie Lank

Men
CANADA – Coldwater & District Curling Club, Coldwater, Ontario
Glenn Howard*, Wayne Middaugh, Brent Laing*, Craig Savill*

CANADA – Charleswood Curling Club, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Jeff Stoughton, Jon Mead, Reid Carruthers, Steve Gould

UNITED STATES - Bemidji Curling Club, Bemidji, Minnesota
Pete Fenson*, Shawn Rojeski*, Joe Polo*, Ryan Brunt*

*one-time Cup winner
**two-time Cup winner
***three-time Cup winner
(as player and/or captain/coach)