World Senior Curling Championships 2017 to kick off at Lethbridge, Canada on Sunday 23 April

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This is the fourth time that the World Senior Curling Championships will be hosted in Canada. (Image: curling.org.hk)

Lethbridge:  The brand new state-of-the-art ATB Centre in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada is set to host the World Senior Curling Championships 2017.

With play getting underway on Sunday 23 April, this is the 16th edition of these championships, for men and women’s teams.

This is the fourth time that the World Senior Curling Championships will be hosted in Canada – Fredericton, New Brunswick was the host city in 2013, Edmonton, Alberta hosted in 2007 and prior to that Winnipeg, Manitoba hosted in 2003.

To be eligible to take part in these championships, players “must be not less than 50 years of age by the end of the 30th day of June in the year immediately preceding the year in which the Championship is taking place”.  Altogether, this event has attracted 15 women’s and 23 men’s teams.

The women have been divided into two groups as follows:

Group A: hosts Canada, England, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Russia and Sweden.
Group B: Australia, Czech Republic, Finland, defending champions Scotland, Switzerland, Slovakia and USA.

The three men’s groups are:

Group A: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Norway, Poland and defending champions Sweden.
Group B: Australia, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Switzerland and USA.
Group C: hosts Canada, England, Finland, New Zealand, Russia, Scotland and Wales.

Round-robin play starts on Sunday 23 April and continues until the morning of Thursday 27 April. After that, in the women’s event, the group winners will go on to the semi-finals while the teams that finish second in each group will play the third-placed team from the other group to complete the semi-final line-up. In the men’s event, the top two teams in each group and the best of the three third-placed teams [determined by each team’s Draw Shot Challenge performance] proceed to the quarter-finals. The other two third-placed teams play a qualification game to decide who takes the last available quarter-final place.

In both men’s and women’s competitions, semi-finals will be played on Friday 28 April, with the bronze and gold medal games taking place on Saturday 29 April. The women’s finals are at 10.00, while the men’s games are 14.00 that day – these times are minus six Universal Coordinated Time.

In last year’s event in Karlstad, Sweden, the Swedish men beat Canada for gold, while in the women’s event Scotland beat Germany. These winning teams skipped by Mats Wranaa – father of current World Men’s silver medallist Rasmus Wranaa and current World Junior champion Isabella Wranaa – and 2002 World Women’s champion Jackie Lockhart will compete in Lethbridge.

Other notable names in the field, on the women’s side, are 1983 world champion, Cristina Lestander, who leads Switzerland and double world champion Colleen Jones, who skips Canada. 1999 world silver medallist Patricia Lank leads USA and 1988 European champion Marie Henriksson skips Sweden.

On the men’s side 2002 Olympic gold medallist Flemming Davanger plays second stones and skips Norway, while Australia’s Hugh Millikin leads Australia on his ninth world senior’s appearance. This will be Millikin’s 21st world championship appearance – he has competed at 11 world men’s, one world mixed, two world mixed doubles and now seven world seniors. Also, three times European silver medallist and two time Olympian Ulrik Schmidt leads Denmark.

At the same time as staging the World Senior Curling Championships, Lethbridge will also act as host to the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship 2017. Mixed Doubles curling is now an Olympic discipline and will make its debut at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, in PyeongChang, Republic of Korea. This make that championship a decisive part of the qualification process for the Games.

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