Canada, skipped by Saskatchewan’s Amber Holland, won its opener Saturday morning at the Capital One World Women’s Curling Championship in Esbjerg, Denmark, edging China’s 2009 world champion Bingyu Wang, 8-6.
The game turned in the sixth end, when Holland, who upset Team Canada’s Jennifer Jones to win last month’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Charlottetown, counted four for a 6-3 lead, before holding on the rest of the way.
“It’s nice to come out and get adjusted to the ice and to have a win is great,” said the 36-year-old Holland, the 1992 Canadian junior champion and 1993 world junior silver medallist. “We’re just trying to get a feel for the ice. It changed a little bit throughout the game. Obviously the China team is a great team. There are a lot of great teams here, Olympic champions, too, so I’m not going to say it gets any easier.”
Canada has won a leading 15 world women’s titles since the championship began in 1979, with its last victory coming in 2008 in Vernon, British Columbia by Jennifer Jones.
This year’s field is an exceptionally strong one, with two-time Olympic and world champion Anette Norberg of Sweden, defending world champion Andrea Schöpp of Germany, the aforementioned Wang and Switzerland’s Mirjam Ott all expected to be around at the end, in addition to Canada.
In other games Saturday morning, Ott, the 2006 Olympic silver medallist, edged Patti Lank of the United States, 5-3; Russia, skipped by Liudmila Privivkova, throwing third rocks, beat Korea’s Mi-Sung Shin, 9-5, while, in a major upset, Czech Republic’s Anna Kubeskova shocked Scotland’s recent world junior champion Anna Sloan (who played third for Eve Muirhead in Perth), 6-5. Muirhead is the team alternate in Denmark.
Play got underway Friday evening with two games at the Granly Hockey Arena, as the host Danes, skipped by Lene Nielsen, dropped an 8-3 decision to Schöpp, while Norberg and her new, young team were upset by Scandinavian rival, Norway’s Linn Githmark, 8-7. Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik presided as the ceremonial rock tosser to open the festivities, the first time the country has hosted the world women’s in its 33 editions.
Play continues with another draw Saturday afternoon, followed by two draws on Sunday, then three draws Monday through Thursday to complete the round robin.
Canada’s next two games are on Sunday – against Russia’s Liudmila Privivkova followed by a clash against Denmark’s Lene Nielsen.
The Page Playoffs (1 vs 2; 3 vs 4) will be held Friday and Saturday, followed by the semi-final. Both the bronze medal and gold medal games will be contested on Sunday, March 27. TSN will carry many Canada games live, plus the playoffs.