(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - John Shuster (Duluth, Minn.) and Team USA begin competition at the 2009 Ford World Men's Championship Saturday at the Moncton Coliseum in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.
Shuster and teammates Jason Smith (Cape Coral, Fla.), Jeff Isaacson (Gilbert, Minn.), John Benton (St. Michael, Minn.) and Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.) will compete in a 12-team round robin with the world title at stake. After the round robin, the top four teams advance to the page playoffs beginning on Friday, April 10.
The Americans begin play at 3 p.m. ADT Saturday against Andy Kapp's team from Germany. Kapp most recently won bronze at the 2007 Worlds. Shuster played lead for Pete Fenson at the 2003, 2005 and 2006 world championships as well as the 2006 Olympic Winter Games where he won bronze. This is his first time skipping at the worlds and the rookie appearance for the rest of the team. Plys, the team's alternate won gold in 2008 and bronze in 2009 at the World Junior Championships as skip.
Besides USA and Germany, other competing nations include Canada, China, Scotland, Switzerland, Norway, Japan, Denmark, Finland, the Czech Republic and France. This is the last event for nations to earn qualifying points for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The American men have already secured their berth and are currently the third-ranked nation in points. After wining the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling in February, Shuster's team will now be nominated to the U.S. Olympic Committee to be members of Team USA in Vancouver, British Columbia, for the Olympic Games.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the men's championship, a two and one-half hour opening ceremonies gala, "the World Curling Tattoo," will take place on Friday at 7:30 pm, following the opening banquet, with numerous bands, dancers and special audio-visual presentations.
Universal Sports will air 12 hours of TV coverage from Moncton, featuring the following games:
April 11: USA vs. Germany, 7 p.m. ET (tape-delayed)
April 11, USA vs. Canada, 11:30 p.m. ET (tape-delayed)
April 12: Semifinal or bronze-medal, 7 p.m. ET
April 12: Final, 11:30 p.m. ET
For more information about Universal Sports TV in your area, visit http://www.universalsports.tv/Universal_Sports_on_TV.html
In addition, video-on-demand webstreaming from several of the games are posted at www.universalsports.com. Live end-by-end scoring will be found at www.curling.ca with a link provided at www.usacurl.org as well.
Here is a look at Team USA's round robin competition schedule (all times local, Atlantic Daily Time):
Saturday, April 4: Germany (3 p.m.)
Sunday, April 5: Scotland (8:30 a.m.), Switzerland (7:30 p.m.)
Monday, April 6: Norway (10 a.m.), China (7:30 p.m.)
Tuesday, April 7: Japan (10 a.m.), Denmark (3 p.m.)
Wednesday, April 8: Canada (3 p.m.), Finland (7:30 p.m.)
Thursday, April 9: Czech Republic (3 p.m.), France (7:30 p.m.)