Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Teams Announced for Continental Cup 2011

The teams have been announced for the World Financial Group's Continental Cup, which will be held January 13-16 in the Servus Credit Union Place, St Albert, Alberta, Canada. Six teams from Canada and the USA will take on six from the Rest of the World. Only one Scottish curler, David Murdoch, will take part. He skips an 'all star' rink of Switzerland's Ralph Stoeckli at third, Germany's Andreas Lang, second, and Simon Struebin, also from Switzerland, at lead, one of the three Team World men's sides. The two other teams have played together before.

I'm on record with my reservations about this competition, and have even called it a 'charade', see here! I object to it being compared to golf’s Ryder Cup. I watched the latter this year. You could not have had a more exciting sporting event! By contrast, the rules of the Continental Cup are so biased in favour of the last skins games as to make all the previous games completely irrelevant. A nonsense really, just to make it 'more exciting'! If the Continental Cup was about real curling, then I might not be so negative.

I object too to seeing the World Curling Federation pour money into this event, which is 'one of theirs'. I just do not see how this event contributes one little bit to the promotion or development of curling in Europe, or indeed in Scotland. The Canadian Curling Association promotes the competition. Perhaps curling in that country needs such an event to raise its profile?

And I see from the press release, which you can read in all its detail here, that the Canadian sports channel TSN will provide 'exclusive and extensive coverage of the event', which means of course that we in Scotland will have no way of watching the action, any web coverage being geoblocked, if past experiences are anything to go by. Last time in 2008, some games were available on CurlTV. But CurlTV states on its website that there are no plans to show any live events this season, so that option is no longer there for those on this side of the pond. Perhaps if I'd been able to watch on television some of the previous six events I might have been able to take on board some of the excitement of the Continental Cup which, I should make it clear, is enjoyed immensely by the players, the fans and the volunteers. Of course the players enjoy it. Who would not appreciate an all expenses paid 'jolly' with the opportunity of adding to your bank balance along the way?

Call me a grump if you will (and many will I'm sure) but give me good honest competitive curling any day, whether it be world championships, or Curling Champions Tour events, or regular club play. I just loath the artificiality of the Continental Cup. Will I be talking here about what happens in St Albert if the blog is still online come January? Nope. As the Scottish Junior Championships conclude the same weekend I suspect my attention will be elsewhere.... watching curling that actually means something!

However, I know some readers of Skip Cottage Curling will be interested, so here is the lineup for the 2011 World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Monsanto. A fine collection of curling talent, that's for sure:


Fourth: David Murdoch (Skip) (SCO)
Third: Ralph Stoeckli (SUI)
Second: Andreas Lang (GER)
Lead: Simon Struebin (SUI)

Fourth: Thomas Ulsrud (Skip)
Third: Torger Nergaard
Second: Christoffer Svae
Lead: Haavard Vad Petersson

Fourth: Niklas Edin (Skip)
Third: Sebastian Kraupp
Second: Fredrik Lindberg
Lead: Viktor Kjaell


Fourth: Bingyu Wang (Skip)
Third: Yin Liu
Second: Qingshuang Yue
Lead: Yan Zhou

Fourth: Andrea Schoepp (Skip)
Third: Monika Wagner
Second: Corinna Scholz
Lead: Stella Heiss

Fourth: Mirjam Ott (Skip)
Third: Carmen Schaefer
Second: Carmen Kueng
Lead: Janine Greiner

Team World Captain: Paal Trulsen (NOR)
Team World Coach: Peja Lindholm (SWE)


Fourth: Kevin Martin (Skip)
Third: John Morris
Second: Marc Kennedy
Lead: Ben Hebert

Fourth: Kevin Koe (Skip)
Third: Blake MacDonald
Second: Carter Rycroft
Lead: Nolan Thiessen

Fourth: Pete Fenson (Skip)
Third: Shawn Rojeski
Second: Joe Polo
Lead: Ryan Brunt


Fourth: Cheryl Bernard (Skip)
Third: Susan O'Connor
Second: Carolyn Darbyshire
Lead: Cori Morris

Fourth: Jennifer Jones (Skip)
Third: Kaitlyn Lawes
Second: Jill Officer
Lead: Dawn Askin

Fourth: Erika Brown (Skip)
Third: Nina Spatola
Second: Ann Swisshelm
Lead: Laura Hallisey

Team North America Captain: Neil Harrison (CAN)
Team North American Coach: Rick Lang (CAN)