On a mission to St. Petersburg

Robin
Robin Short
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Gushue and mates participating in event designed to promote sport in Russia

To Russia, with broom. Brad Gushue and his new-look curling team from St. John's head to St. Petersburg, Russia on Wednesday for an eight-team promotional event involving a couple of the world's top teams.

With the 2014 Olympics set for Russia, the World Curling Tour-Europe is anxious to promote curling in a country where it's not terribly popular amongst males. The aim of the WCT-E is to raise the profile of curling by showing off some of the game's best.

What's Russian for 'sweep'? Brad Gushue and his team head to St. Petersburg this week. - Canadian Press file photo

To Russia, with broom. Brad Gushue and his new-look curling team from St. John's head to St. Petersburg, Russia on Wednesday for an eight-team promotional event involving a couple of the world's top teams.

With the 2014 Olympics set for Russia, the World Curling Tour-Europe is anxious to promote curling in a country where it's not terribly popular amongst males. The aim of the WCT-E is to raise the profile of curling by showing off some of the game's best.

Getting people to take notice shouldn't be a problem.

That's because the four-end games will be played on an ice rink in the middle of St. Petersburg's largest shopping mall.

Gushue, the reigning Olympic curling gold medallist, and his team were approached by Armin Harder, the CEO of WCT-E, a couple of months ago about participating in the Russian event.

All expenses are paid for - the bill for the whole event is being picked up by a Russian building and real estate developer.

"We were contacted to see if we were interested and we said if it's a go, we're in," Gushue said.

The Canadian team joins Germany's Andy Kapp, Pal Trulsen and Thomas Ulsrud of Norway, Scotland's Dave Murdoch and three Russian teams in the mini-spiel.

While Russian women curlers have made waves on the world stage - Ludmila Privivkova has won the world juniors and European championship and finished fifth in the 2006 Torino Olympics - the men have never managed to qualify for the world championship.

It will be the first event together for Gushue's new team, which includes Winnipegger Ryan Fry, now living in St. John's, and Jamie Korab, reunited with Olympic teammates Gushue and Mark Nichols after sitting on the World Curling Tour sidelines last season.

Fry and Korab replace Chris Schille and Dave Noftall.

"This will be a good team-building opportunity," said Gushue, whose team is sponsored by the Iron Ore Company of Canada, Chester Dawe, Skyway Steel and Maple Leaf Foods. "Whenever you travel to Europe, you tighten as a team. We'll spend eight days together."

rshort@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Iron Ore Company of Canada, Maple Leaf Foods

Geographic location: St. Petersburg, Russia, St. John's Germany Norway Scotland Europe

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Recent comments

  • Chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    I am delighted to see Jamie Korab back on the team. I was a little soured by the events that lead up to his departure a few years back. Appeared to me (and many like me I'll bet) that there were some petty differences and juvenile disagreements. I will now be able to drive by the 'Team Gushue' exit sign without feeling like a promising team was ambushed by egos and petty disagreements.
    Go team.

  • curling
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    who really cares about curling, I mean seriously its curling!! Just because a newfoundland team has won a few tourney's does not legitimize this sorry activity (not a sport).

  • Funky
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Good luck b'ys. Don't screw up.

  • Chris
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    I am delighted to see Jamie Korab back on the team. I was a little soured by the events that lead up to his departure a few years back. Appeared to me (and many like me I'll bet) that there were some petty differences and juvenile disagreements. I will now be able to drive by the 'Team Gushue' exit sign without feeling like a promising team was ambushed by egos and petty disagreements.
    Go team.

  • curling
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    who really cares about curling, I mean seriously its curling!! Just because a newfoundland team has won a few tourney's does not legitimize this sorry activity (not a sport).

  • Funky
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Good luck b'ys. Don't screw up.