The 3000-seat arena in Swift Current, the Credit Union i-Plex, is the home of the Swift Current Broncos ice hockey team. The building also has a six-sheet curling rink. But this week the arena has been turned into a four lane venue for the 2010 Ford World Women's Curling Championship, presented by Monsanto, which begins on Saturday. It's the second time that a world women's curling championship has been held in Saskatchewan. In 1983, the event took place in Moose Jaw and was won by Switzerland's Erika Müller.
Twelve countries take part in the nine-day competition. It's an interesting lineup (see here). Canada is represented for the third year running by Jennifer Jones, Cathy Overton-Clapham, Jill Officer and Dawn Askin. They won in Vernon in 2008 and were fourth last year in Korea.
The reigning champions, China, skipped by Bingyu Wang, come to Swift Current with bronze medals from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Five other teams which will compete in Swift Current also participated in the recent Winter Olympics - those skipped by Denmark's Angelina Jensen, Germany's Andrea Schöpp, Japan's Moe Meguro, Russia's Liudmila Privivkova and our own Eve Muirhead, now back to representing Scotland rather than Great Britain. Eve of course doesn't have Jackie Lockhart at third, and Kelly Wood will take over that role. Lorna Vevers is at second and Annie Laird at lead. Sarah Reid is the fifth player.
Having enjoyed a Latvian adventure earlier this season with the Reform Curling Club, I'll also be cheering on Iveta Stasa-Sarsune and her team who qualified her country for the world event for the very first time at Aberdeen! It won't be easy for the girls though in such experienced company. Norway's Linn Githmark, Sweden's Cecilia Östlund, Switzerland's Binia Feltscher and Erika Brown of the United States make up the field.
The draw is here. Scotland plays Denmark in the first round on Saturday.
We will be able to find the results on the event website here, and Mike Haggerty will have reports on the Royal Club website. And WCTV, the television arm of the World Curling Federation, will as usual be providing live game feeds to Eurosport and other
The photo of the Credit Union i-Plex is taken from the Swift Current Curling Club website here.