USA Curling

Mar 28 World Prep!

March 28, 2009, 11:40 a.m. (ET)

March 28, 2009

Well we're on the road this week in Victoria, British Columbia for the Bear Mountain Arena Curling Classic. It's one of the last events on the World Curling Tour (WCT) schedule for the season.

The WCT is akin to the PGA for curling. The WCT season runs from late October and runs through April. The tour features events in Canada, the U.S., and Europe where anywhere from 16 to 32 of the best teams in the world compete for cash.

Most WCT events follow a bracketed or pool play format where all teams play until 8 teams are left or qualify based on their overall record. Those teams then usually play a quarter-final, semi-final, and final to determine the winner.

Our team participated in 8 WCT events in Canada and the U.S. before our Olympic playdown process began.

This particular event in Victoria is being used by a number of teams, including ours, as a prep event for the World Championships in Moncton, New Brunswick next week. Teams from Japan, China, Korea, Great Britain and many of the very top teams in Canada are participating.

For us, this event is a great test of where we stand against the teams that we will likely face in Vancouver next year. We should be able to get a better understanding of the style of play of the Pacific and European teams as well as keep us sharp for Moncton.

We started out with a good win against Team Ursel on Thursday morning but followed that with a loss to Team Koe that night. A very nice reception for all of the teams was hosted at a local pub that night. The following day we played Team Japan in our first match against a Pacific Rim team. Both teams struggled to find consistency, but in the end we came out on top with a nice shot in the last end to score two; putting our record at 2-1. Another win and we'll have a good shot at "qualifying".

We had the evening off last night and decided to head to downtown Victoria to check out the town and have a relaxing night. We wandered around near the harbor, did a little shopping.  Victoria is a beautiful and very fun city. There are lots of pubs, restaurants and shops to see and the views are spectacular.

Our final game in the Round Robin Pool today is against Team Jordison. They are another top flight team from Canada. We got a good rest and are just getting ready to head to the arena for pre-game practice. We'll have to play sharp but are feeling good about our chances.

We'll leave here on Sunday and have two days back in Minnesota before we head to Moncton for Worlds. We're really looking forward to it. John Shuster has played in a few Men's Worlds before and everyone but I have played in a World level competition of some kind so there is plenty of experience on the team. For myself, I am not nervous but anxious to get on that stage and perform my best. How exciting!

My next entry will be from Moncton just before we start.

Check out my blog photos.

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