Many historical moments await as Las Vegas hosts World Men's Championship

By Terry L. Davis | March 29, 2018, 1:15 p.m. (ET)


March 29, 2018


Las Vegas set to welcome 13 countries to 361° World Men’s Championship


(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) – Many historical moments will take place in the desert of Nevada starting this weekend as Las Vegas readies to host the 361° World Men’s Curling Championship at Orleans Arena.


First, Team USA’s Greg Persinger (Fairbanks, Alaska) will make his debut throwing last stones for the Americans during the nine-day championship. Persinger, 41, along with teammates Rich Ruohonen (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), who calls the game but throws vice stones, Colin Hufman (St. Paul, Minn.), Phil Tilker (Seattle), and Chris Plys (Duluth, Minn.), will battle for gold as the competition expands to 13 countries for the first time. The U.S. team will be coached by Phill Drobnick (Eveleth, Minn.). 


Second, members of the John Shuster rink, which made history in February when they won gold at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, will deliver the ceremonial first stone during the opening ceremony of the championship at 11 a.m. PDT on Saturday. A grand march through the Orleans Casino to the Orleans Arena will precede the opening ceremony. This is the first world curling championship to be hosted in Las Vegas following in the footsteps of three successful Continental Cup of Curling events.


Then on April 7 one of the most notable influencers in U.S. curling history will be inducted into the World Curling Hall of Fame as Elmer Freytag (Lake Forest, Ill.) is honored posthumously with the highest international curling honor. Freytag was one of the founding members of the International Curling Federation and drafted its original Constitution. He also founded the Chicago Curling Club and was on the advisory board for the Scotch Cup and Air Canada Silver Broom – now the World Men's Curling Championship.


Freytag served as a representative to the International Curling Federation for the U.S. Men's Curling Association, which is now the United States Curling Association, from 1966 up until his death in 1976. The Elmer Freytag Award was introduced after his death in 1978 and is now known as the World Curling Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will take place at 6:30 p.m. on April 7 prior to the start of the second semifinal game. A full story on the life of Freytag can be found here.


The Shuster rink will then return on April 7 for an autograph session and Up Close and Personal interview session in the entertainment area of the Orleans.


In between all of that will be 20 sessions of round robin action as 13 teams battle for the world men’s curling title. After the opening ceremony on Saturday, the first draw of competition will take place at 1:30 p.m. The U.S. team will first hit the ice to compete during the night session at 6:30 when they battle Japan’s Go Aoki rink.


In more historical news, 17 games, including 11 of the U.S. round robin games, will be featured live on TV in the U.S. either on the Olympic Channel or NBC Sports Network (two games with a slight delay on NBCSN). Many other games will be streamed live to the Olympic Channel app. A complete schedule is posted at


This will be the second world men’s championship appearance for Persinger, who was alternate for the Americans in 2013 – a team that also featured Tilker; Ruohonen, who was vice skip for Craig Brown in 2008 – the last time the U.S. hosted a World Men’s Championship in Grand Forks, N.D.; and Plys, who was the alternate for Shuster in 2009. This will be the rookie appearance for Hufman, 33, who competed in the 2002 World Junior Championships.


The round robin will take place Saturday through Friday night with the new six-team playoffs getting underway on April 7. The top two teams from the round robin will advance directly to the semifinals. The No. 3 team will take on the No. 6 seed while the fourth and fifth-ranked teams will battle in qualification playoff matches to determine the final four contenders.


The 8,000-seat Orleans Arena, which is near the famous Las Vegas strip, set the attendance record for U.S. curling events at the 2016 Continental Cup when 62,498 fans attended the four-day event. Dave Staveteig (Grand Forks, N.D.), USA Curling’s chief ice technician, will serve as the event’s chief ice technician as well, marking his debut in this role at a world championship event.


This will be the eighth time the U.S. has hosted the World Men’s Curling Championship since 1970 (1970, 1976, 1984, 1987, 1989, 2002, 2006, 2008). However, this will be the first time it has been held on the west coast.


To date, the U.S. has won 14 World Men’s Curling Championship medals (eight bronze, four silver and three gold). Their most recent medal, bronze, was won at the 2016 World Championship in Basel, Switzerland, by Shuster’s team. The U.S., however, has had a long drought for the elusive world gold medal as the last time the Americans struck for gold was in 1978.


Canada is the current world men’s curling champions, winning gold at the 2017 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship in Edmonton last April.


Here is a look at Team USA’s round robin & TV schedule (all times local, PDT:

Saturday, March 31:

6:30 p.m., USA vs. Japan (Go Aoiki) – Live on NBCSN


Sunday, April 1:

8:30 a.m., USA vs. Netherlands (Jaap Van Dorp) – Live on the Olympic Channel

1:30 p.m., USA vs. Korea (ChangMin Kim) – Live on the Olympic Channel


Monday, April 2:

8:30 a.m., USA vs. Norway (Steffen Walstad) – Live on the Olympic Channel app & then aired on NBCSN at 9:30 a.m. (same day delay)

1:30 p.m., USA vs. Scotland (Bruce Mouat) – Live on the Olympic Channel


Tuesday, April 3:

1:30 p.m., USA vs. Sweden (Niklas Edin) – Live on the Olympic Channel


Wednesday, April 4:

8:30 a.m., USA vs. Russia (Alexey Timofeev) – Live on the Olympic Channel app & then aired on NBCSN at 9 a.m. (same day delay)

1:30 p.m., USA vs. Germany (Alexander Baumann) – Live on the Olympic Channel


Thursday, April 5:

1:30 p.m., USA vs. Italy (Joel Retornaz)

6:30 p.m., USA vs. Canada (Brad Gushue) – Live on the Olympic Channel app & then aired on NBCSN at 7:30 p.m. (same day delay)


Friday, April 6:

8:30 a.m., USA vs. China (Deija Zou) – Live on the Olympic Channel

6:30 p.m., USA vs. Switzerland (Marc Pfister) – Live on the Olympic Channel


Playoff schedule:

Saturday, April 7:

8:30 a.m., Qualification games (#3 vs. #6; #4 vs. #5) – Live on the Olympic Channel app

1:30 p.m., Semifinal #1 – Live on the Olympic Channel

6:30 p.m., Semifinal #2 – Live on the Olympic Channel


Sunday, April 8:

12 p.m., Bronze-medal game – Live on the Olympic Channel

5 p.m., Gold-medal game – Live on NBCSN


USA Curling is sponsored by AtomOS, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Cheetos, CryoMAX 8-Hour Cold Pack, Sitrin, The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, Thorne, BalancePlus, ISS Ice, Sports & Solar, and Brakebush, and is partnered with Laurie Artiss Ltd. – The Pin People, United Airlines, 12th End Sports Network, IHG, and CurlingZone.




For more information: Terry Davis, Director of Communications,, 608-338-9900 (mobile).