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Continental Cup set for December 18-21 in Camrose

The 2008 Continental Cup of Curling, presented by Monsanto, will be contested December 18-21 in the 2,300-seat EnCana Arena at the Edgeworth Centre in Camrose, Alberta.

For its sixth edition, the Continental Cup features Team World (formerly Team Europe) versus Team North America.  Among the skips slated to compete are the reigning world champions, Canada’s Kevin Martin and Jennifer Jones, and 2006 Olympic gold medallist and two-time (2005, 2006) world champion Anette Norberg of Sweden.

North America holds a 3-2 edge over the ‘World’, after winning last year’s Continental Cup in Medicine Hat, Alberta. The unique international competition offers a purse of $88,400, with each member of the winning team receiving $2,000, while each losing team member gets $1,400.

Team North America consists of four teams from Canada and two teams from the United States.  In addition to Winnipeg’s Jones and Edmonton’s Martin, the other teams are skipped by Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon, Edmonton’s Kevin Koe and Madison, Wisconsin’s 2003 world champion Debbie McCormick and Craig Brown, the current USA champions.  Russ Howard, the 2006 Olympic gold medallist and two-time (1987, 1993) world champion, will be the captain for North America while Jim Waite is the coach.

Joining Norberg and Scotland’s 2006 world champion David Murdoch, both of whom are also the reigning Le Gruyère European champions, on Team World are teams skipped by China’s 2008 Ford world women’s silver medallist Bingyu Wang and Fengchun Wang, both winners at the recent Pacific Championships, Switzerland’s two-time (2002, 2006) Olympic silver medallist Mirjam Ott, and Norway’s two-time (2006, 2008) world bronze medallist Thomas Ulsrud. The coach will be Sweden’s three-time (1997, 2001, 2004) world champion Peja Lindholm, while 2002 Olympic gold medallist Pål Trulsen of Norway is the World captain.

The Continental Cup, the first event in curling’s Season of Champions, is a four-day competition involving Team games (72 points), Mixed Doubles (36 points), Singles (32 points) and Skins (Men’s, Women’s and Mixed, worth a total of 260 points).   The first side to score 201 points is declared the winner.

This year, TSN will provide complete live national coverage of the competition, encompassing 28 hours, similar to what The Sports Network did for the first three Continental Cups from 2002-2004.

North America won the inaugural Cup in Regina in 2002, then renewals in Medicine Hat in 2004 and 2007.   The World (Europe) won in 2003 in Thunder Bay and 2006 in Chilliwack.

The Continental Divide, the event’s entertainment centre, will be located in the adjacent Border Paving Arena.

Full event, weekend and day passes are on sale through Ticketmaster (780-451-8000 or Ticketmaster.ca). For more event information, visit Seasonofchampions.ca.

The Continental Cup is a joint venture of the Canadian Curling Association, the United States Curling Association and the World Curling Federation.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS (All times Mountain; Eastern time: +2 hours)

Wednesday, December 17
11:30 am – 1:00 pm                 Team World Practice
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm                  Team North America Practice
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm                  Sponsors Reception – Arena
5:00 pm – 7:15 pm                  Opening Banquet – Arena
7:30 pm – 8:15 pm                  Opening Ceremonies – Arena

Thursday, December 18
Draw 1            8:30 am           Women’s Team
Draw 2            1:00 pm           Mixed Doubles
Draw 3            7:00 pm           Men’s Team

Friday, December 19
Draw 4            8:30 am           Women’s Team
Draw 5            1:00 pm           Mixed Doubles
Draw 6            8:00 pm           Men’s Team

Saturday, December 20
Draw 7            10:00 am          Skins (Men’s, Women’s and Mixed A)
Draw 8            4:00 pm           Singles
Draw 9            7:30 pm           Skins (Men’s, Women’s and Mixed B)

Sunday, December 21
Draw 10          8:30 am           Final Women’s Skins Game (C)
Draw 11          2:00 pm           Final Men’s Skins Game (C)

4:15 pm           Closing Ceremonies
5:00 pm           Champions Reception