Canadian chips in to keep German hopes alive at European Championships

GLASGOW, Scotland – A Canadian player played a significant role on Monday in keeping Germany’s playoff hopes alive at the 2016 Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

Former Canadian junior men’s champ Ryan Sherrard, who opened the European Championships as the alternate for Alexander Baumann’s German squad, was promoted to lead Monday night at the Intu Braehead Arena, and the move paid off with Germany’s first victory — an 8-2 victory over Denmark’s Rasmus Stjerne, last season’s World Championship silver-medallist.

Winless after four games, and facing elimination from playoff contention, Germany pulled veteran skip Andy Kapp (who had been throwing lead rocks), moving Baumann into the skip position and putting Sherrard in as lead.

Sherrard, who skipped New Brunswick to gold at the 2004 Canadian Juniors in Victoria, moved to Germany after travelling the country in 2008 with the second from his junior team Darren Roach.

He is pursuing his Ph.D in the country and was tapped by the Germans last June to join the team as an alternate.

“I hope I was able to bring something else to the team,” the 30-year-old Sherrard said of his first game appearance in Glasgow, before adding, “I think we were just trying to change something up.

“That’s the team, that’s the rotation we’ve been playing most with this season, the four of us (without Kapp). So we just decided to go back to that and try it out.”

The Germans are hopeful with this win they can keep their playoff dreams alive.

“It was a really good game from the whole team,” said Baumann, who skipped the Germans to a 1-10 finish at the 2016 World Men’s Championship in Basel, Switzerland. “I’m really proud of the guys; I think the tournament starts now for us.”

The top eight countries from the Le Gruyère AOP European Championships will earn berths into the 2017 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship, presented by Service Experts, April 1-9 at the Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton. The last time the Ford Worlds were held at Northlands, in 2007, Kapp skipped Germany to the gold-medal game before losing to Canada’s Glenn Howard.

Selected games from the Le Gruyère AOP European Championships are being broadcast by TSN. CLICK HERE for TSN’s broadcast schedule.

Sherrard said the game brought back fond memories of junior curling in Canada.

“It’s this nostalgic feeling of getting back out there with an arena with crowds,” he said, adding, “My dream is still to go back one day and play in the Brier.”

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Jolene Latimer, an Edmontonian, is the recipient of the World Curling Federation Sports Media Trainee Programme journalist position and is currently reporting at the 2016 Le Gruyère AOP European Curling Championships in Glasgow, Scotland