By Christian Ryan, U SPORTS Communications
Team Canada will be a strong contender for a curling medal, as the 2017 Winter Universiade begins later this week.
The men’s curling team left the 2015 Winter Universiade empty-handed, while the women’s team fell to Russia 9-8 in the gold medal game. Having come to the final round in the previous FISU Games, 2017 will offer a major opportunity for these U SPORTS athletes. The teams competing in this year’s games in Almaty, Kazakhstan will pursue Canada’s first gold medals in curling since the women’s team took home the title a decade ago at Turin 2007.
Having won the 2016 U SPORTS-Curling Canada Championships, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks will be representing Canada for the fourth time at the FISU Games. Among the title winners competing is recent graduate Richard Krell, who is also a skip on the World Curling Tour. Krell is joined by fellow U SPORTS champion and World Curling Tour competitor Spencer Nuttall. Both were named Second Team All-Canadians last season. The team is under the direction of coach Jim Waite, coach of the Laurier men’s curling team as well as the long-time boss of the Western Mustangs men’s golf program.
The Alberta Pandas claimed the women’s national championship last season, in a 5-4 victory over the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack. This victory was the second for Taylor McDonald, who also holds two World Junior Curling Championships. McDonald is joined on the national team by fellow two-time U SPORTS and World Junior Curling champion Kelsey Rocque, the skip for Team Rocque in the Grand Slam of Curling, a team on which McDonald also competes. Having this duo with their immense success, both together and separately, makes Canada a serious contender for the 2017 Winter Universiade gold medal in the women’s event. Their recipe for success is bolstered by the presence of coach Garry Coderre, who was involved in the duo’s U SPORTS titles and also have a World Junior Curling title to his name.
The 2017 Winter Universiade curling competitions will begin on January 30th in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
• Jan. 30 - 2 p.m. (3 a.m. EST) vs. Kazakhstan
• Jan. 31 — 9 a.m. (10 p.m. Jan. 30 EST) vs. Great Britain
• Jan. 31 — 7 p.m. (8 a.m. EST) vs. Russia
• Feb. 1 — 2 p.m. (3 a.m. EST) vs. U.S.A.
• Feb. 2 — 9 a.m. (10 p.m. Feb. 1 EST) vs. Japan
• Feb. 2 — 7 p.m. (8 a.m. EST) vs. Sweden
• Feb. 3 — 2 p.m. (3 a.m. EST) vs. Czech Republic
• Feb. 4 — 9 a.m. (10 p.m. Feb. 3 EST) vs. South Korea
• Feb. 4 — 7 p.m. (8 a.m. EST) vs. Norway
• Jan. 30 - 9 a.m. (10 p.m. Jan. 29 EST) vs. China
• Jan. 30 — 7 p.m. (8 a.m. EST) vs. Germany
• Jan. 31 — 2 p.m. (3 a.m. EST) vs. Sweden
• Feb. 1 — 9 a.m. (10 p.m. Jan. 31 EST) vs. Russia
• Feb. 1 — 7 p.m. (8 a.m. EST) vs. Great Britain
• Feb. 2 — 2 p.m. (3 a.m. EST) vs. Switzerland
• Feb. 3 — 9 a.m. (10 p.m. Feb. 2 EST) vs. Kazakhstan
• Feb. 3 — 7 p.m. (8 a.m. EST) vs. South Korea
• Feb. 4 — 2 p.m. (3 a.m. EST) vs. Norway