It’s not likely he and teammates will need — or want — the reminder, but if Brad Gushue is wondering about what he’ll be missing at next month’s Winter Olympics, he’ll get a good idea this week in London. Ont.
That’s because there will be soon-to-be Olympians all over the ice at the 2018 World Financial Group Continental Cup beginning Thursday. Of the 12 teams entered, 10 will be at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The home team — Team North America — will feature four rinks from Canada — including the St. John’s entry skipped by Gushue and rounded out Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker. Gushue and Co. are the defending Canadian and world men’s champions, but they won’t be in Pyeongchang after finishing third at last month’s Canadian Olympic Trials in Ottawa.
Calgary’s Kevin Koe, who won the men’s title at the Trials, is also competing in London. He and Gushue are joined on Team North America by Ottawa’s Rachel Homan; who will be representing Canada in women’s play at the Winter Games; the American Olympic teams skipped by John Shuster and Nina Roth; and 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts runner-up Michelle Englot of Winnipeg.
The World team consists entirely of Olympic representatives: Sweden’s Niklas Edin and Anna Hasselborg, Swizerland’s Peter de Cruz and Silvana Tirinzoni, Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud and Japan’s Satsuki Fujasawa.
Gushue and his teammates have their first game Thursday night (8:30 p.m. NT), taking on de Cruz’s Swiss team. The event is being carried on TSN.
The Continental Cup is a blend of traditional curling games, skins competition and mixed doubles, and will feature six teams from North America playing six rivals from the rest of the world over four days of Besides bragging rights, there is also money at stake. The winning side receives $52,000 ($2,000 per member, including captain and coach), while the losing side gets $26,000 ($1,000 per member, including captain and coach). As well, the side that generates the highest points total from the six skins games on Sunday will receive an additional $13,000 ($500 per player, plus captain and coach).
The Continental Cup will be the front end of a busy stretch for Gushue and his rinkmates. Immediately after the competition in London, they leave for Canmore, Alta., site of the Canadian Open, a Grand Slam event that begins Tuesday.