After a COVID-19 enforced break of more than a year, the World Curling Federation will stage its first championship of the 2020–2021 season. Teams from 14 Member Associations will compete in the BKT Tires & OK Tire World Men’s Curling Championship 2021, presented by New Holland, in Calgary, Canada, from 2–11 April 2021.
For this season only, the championship field has been expanded from 13 to 14 teams. All teams qualified through a special system which considered performances at the Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships 2019, the Pacific-Asia Championship 2019, World Qualification Event 2020, and existing world rankings.
The championship is one of several events being held in the specially developed curling “bubble” inside the WinSport Arena at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. While in the bubble, athletes and event staff will follow stringent COVID-19 protocols, including quarantine periods and frequent testing. In addition, the championship will go ahead without spectators inside the venue.
With the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 one year out, this event will also determine the first six qualifying National Olympic Committees within the men’s event.
The remaining teams who do not qualify are eligible to earn a final spot through the Olympic Qualification Event being held in December 2021.
The 14 teams taking part are:
Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, the Russian Curling Federation Team (RCF), Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, and United States.
- Canada: will be represented by 2012 World Junior champion, Brendan Bottcher, who led his Alberta team to victory in the Tim Hortons Brier three weeks ago. This will be a first appearance at this level for Bottcher and his team.
- China: is skipped by Zou Qiang, making his fourth appearance, with a top finish of fifth in 2017
- Denmark: a new combination, skipped by Mads Noergaard, who along with fourth Mikkel Krause represented Denmark at the Le Gruyeré AOP European Curling Championships 2019
- Germany: this team, skipped by Sixten Totzek, are also newcomers at this level, with the exception of third, Marc Muskatewitz and lead Dominik Greindl
- Italy: led by highly-experienced Joel Retornaz, making his seventh world championship appearance as skip
- Japan: skipped by Yuta Matsumura, this team finished fourth in the last world championship
- Korea: skip Jeong Yeong Seok leads a young team making their debut at this level
- Netherlands: Jaap Van Dorp, who skips and plays third stones, leads his team’s fourth successive world championship campaign
- Norway: skip Steffen Walstad makes his fourth appearance, while third player Torger Nergaard, Olympic champion in 2002 and Olympic silver medallist in 2010, as well as world champion in 2014, makes his thirteenth worlds appearance, making him the most experienced player at this level in the field
- RCF: with Russia serving a two-year World Anti-Doping Agency ban, Sergey Glukhov skips a team representing RCF
- Scotland: Bruce Mouat’s team is making a third world championship appearance, having taken bronze medals on their debut in 2018
- Sweden: four-time world champion and double Olympic medallist, Niklas Edin, leads the defending champions on what is his tenth appearance at this level
- Switzerland: Peter de Cruz, who plays second stones, skips the team that won bronze medals in 2014, 2017 and 2019
- United States: John Shuster leads the current Olympic champions on what will be his ninth world championship appearance
Starting on Friday 2 April, the teams will play in 23 sessions of round-robin play with each side playing 13 games. Then, the top six teams qualify for the play-off stage.
At the completion of the round-robin stage, the teams ranked first and second qualify directly for the semi-final games. The third-ranked team will play the sixth-ranked team in one qualification game and the fourth-ranked team and fifth-ranked team will face each other in the other.
In the semi-finals, the first-ranked team will play the lower-ranked qualification game winners and the second-ranked team will play the other.
Qualification games will take place on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 April. The semi-final games will also take place on Saturday 10 April.
On Sunday 11 April, semi-final losers will play for bronze medals and after this, the winners will play for the world title.
- The World Men’s Curling Championship 2021 was originally to be staged in Ottawa, Canada
- The cancelled LGT World Men’s Curling Championship 2020 was to be staged in Glasgow, Scotland
- The unique qualification arrangement for participation at this championship was devised following significant consultation with various stakeholders including Marketing and Media rights holders, and the World Curling Federation’s Competition & Rules and Athlete Commissions
- The new Olympic Qualification rules, that will see six teams qualify from this championship, have been approved by the International Olympic Committee
- This event in being staged in the curling bubble in Calgary, was developed by Curling Canada and Alberta Health, with assistance from Canada Public Health Agency
- The LGT World Women’s Curling Championship 2021, presented by BKT Tires, and originally scheduled to take place in Schaffhausen, Switzerland from 19–28 March, will also now take place in the Calgary bubble, from 30 April until the 9 May.
- The field was increased to 14 teams after a request to evaluate the possibility of including those teams who had secured a place in the 2020 World Championships but failed to meet the qualification requirements for the 2021 championships.
World Curling TV and TSN will be broadcasting a combined 43 live games from this competition. All games will be available on the World Curling TV YouTube Channel, however geo-blocking will be applied to most games until 30 days after the completion of the championship due to broadcast partner agreements.
Full information on the games being broadcast and where you can watch them can be found here.