They’re young, they’re fit, and they’re not worried about the field they’re up against.
The Brad Jacobs rink from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., make up Team Canada at the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship beginning tomorrow (March 30) at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
It’s their first time at the World Championships. They’re one of the youngest Canadian teams ever and they’re not pretending they’re a favourite just because they’re wearing the maple leaf.
Canada’s first game of the round-robin schedule is against China’s Rui Liu at 2 p.m. Saturday.
“To be honest, we haven’t scouted the other teams. We feel like our biggest opponents are ourselves, we’re trying to play at 100 per cent. We’ve always looked at it that way, and we’ll continue to look at it that way for the rest of our lives.”
Jacobs, 27, is the youngest Canadian to skip at the world championship since Kevin Martin was 24 in 1991. Vice-skip and third Ryan Fry is 34, second E.J. Harnden is 29 and lead Ryan Harnden is 26. Even their alternate Matt Dumontelle is only 28.
“We’re more concerned with what the rocks are going to be doing. Really, the opponents are out there to help you to read the ice and help you make your shots.”
Three of the foursome have represented Northern Ontario at the Brier the past five years but it wasn’t until they added Fry at third that they managed to win the 2013 Brier in Edmonton earlier this month.
“This is our first time wearing the maple leaf on the back. Once we put the clothes on for practice, we’ll feel like what it is to be Team Canada and what it stands for.”
Canada faces a fierce field, with teams such as Scotland’s two-time world champion David Murdoch, which lost to Canada’s Randy Ferbey rink in a riveting 2005 Men’s World final, also played in Victoria; Sweden’s Niklas Edin, which won the Victoria Curling Classic in an equally tough field last week; and Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud, which won silver at the 2010 Olympics.
Though a lot of the teams here for Worlds competed in the Classic in Esquimalt’s Archie Browning Sports Centre last week, the Jacobs rink was back to the grindstone. The team only arrived in Victoria yesterday, by way of Sault Ste. Marie, Toronto, Vancouver, and Victoria. In fact, since winning the Brier on March 10, it’s been a mad rush to get ready.
“We thought about asking past champions (for advice), but never got around to it, we’ve been too busy,” Jacobs said.
“After the brier it was back to work, practice, gym, supper and then bed.”
Results from this week’s Worlds will help define the field for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The top seven finishers from this year’s and last year’s World Championships will go to Sochi, as well as two more teams from an upcoming qualifying event in December.
Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre is down to 6,500 seats with its current curling configuration.
Round-robin play runs to Thursday, with the top four teams advancing to the page playoffs. The gold-medal game is 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 7.
TSN will broadcast the round-robin and playoff games live.