What's That On Your Back?
It doesn’t matter what team is representing Canada. It doesn’t matter where the World Curling Championship is being held. When the last rock of the last draw comes to a stop, Canada is simply expected to be on the medal podium.
It just goes with the territory. And that territory will be patrolled in Las Vegas by defending World Champions, Team Brad Gushue of St. John’s NL. Gushue, along with third Mark Nichols, second Brett Gallant and lead Geoff Walker will walk into the Orleans Arena on March 31 with targets on their backs, and the pressure to perform won’t let up for a very long, nine days.
And this time, the atmosphere in Las Vegas won’t be as inviting for the Canadian team. Unlike the past Continental Cups, where the majority of the crowd was cheering for a combined Canada-USA squad, the tables will be turned. Team USA will be their foe…as will their fans. Even though thousands of tickets have been sold to Canadians, since John Shuster’s USA team captured Olympic gold, new curling fans are crawling out of every corner of America, and ticket sales are all the better for it. The idea that Canada would enjoy home ice advantage is gradually evaporating.
As for Gushue, who has never curled in Vegas before, he’s looking forward to it. “Yeah it’s going to be special, real exciting…we’re gonna get to go to Vegas, so that’s going to be awesome”. For Nichols, however, it’s a return to a place he remembers fondly. “That’s going to be awesome. I cannot wait. I got to play in Vegas with Jeff (Stoughton) at the Continental Cup, the first time it was there, and it was such a great event. I expect nothing less. We’re going to wear the Maple Leaf with pride again and hope to defend our world championship,” said Nichols.
Five years ago, nobody would have believed that a World Curling Championship would be staged in Vegas. Five weeks ago, nobody expected Team Shuster to win gold at the Olympics. Five minutes ago, the Orleans Arena box office probably sold a few more tickets.
This is going to be a good one folks.
Tickets for the World Men’s are priced from just $25 for single draw and 4 day mini packs start at $199. All tickets can be purchased at the Orleans Arena Box Office, or online at LasVegasCurling.rocks.