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2015 World Financial Group Continental Cup begins Thursday in Calgary

There will be a definite Olympic flavour to the 2015 World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by SecurTek Monitoring Solutions, beginning Thursday at the Markin MacPhail Centre at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park.

Many of the world's best curlers will be in Calgary for the 2015 World Financial Group Continental Cup. (Photo, CCA/Michael Burns)

Many of the world’s best curlers will be in Calgary for the 2015 World Financial Group Continental Cup. (Photo, CCA/Michael Burns)

All six podium teams from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi will be participating in curling’s version of the Ryder Cup, headed by Canadian gold-medallists Brad Jacobs and his team from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and the Jennifer Jones team from Winnipeg.

The format will, for the first time, pit Team Canada against Team Europe in various disciplines during four days of competition — traditional team games, mixed doubles, singles, mixed skins and standard skins games. Each segment awards points for wins (or ties). A total of 60 points are available, meaning the side that earns more than 30 points will be declared the champion.

Prior to this year, four Canadian teams (two men’s, two women’s) were joined by two teams from the U.S. to form Team North America; in the 10 previous editions of the World Financial Group Continental Cup, North America won six times (including the most recent renewal, a year ago in Las Vegas).

This year, Team Canada will go on its own with three men’s and three women’s teams, coached by Rick Lang of Thunder Bay, Ont. (the national  men’s coach) and captained by six-time Brier and four-time world champion Randy Ferbey of Edmonton.

Joining the Jacobs and Jones teams will be Calgary’s John Morris, Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen, Ottawa’s Rachel Homan and Edmonton’s Val Sweeting.

Team Europe will feature Olympic silver-medallists David Murdoch of Scotland and Margaretha Sigfridsson of Sweden; Olympic bronze-medallists Niklas Edin of Sweden and Eve Muirhead of Scotland; reigning world men’s champion Thomas Ulsrud of Norway and world women’s bronze-medallist Anna Sidorova of Russia.

Scotland’s David Hay will serve as Team World captain while Sweden’s Peja Lindholm will be the coach.

For the six mixed doubles and six singles matches, one point will be awarded for each victory, one-half point if tied. There will be 18 team games (nine men’s and nine women’s) played, each worth one point for a win and a half-point for a tie. All games are eight ends and there are no extra ends.  There will also be six skins games, with each game worth a total of five points to the winner.

The winning side receives $52,000 Cdn ($2,000 per member, including captain and coach), while the losing side gets $26,000 ($1,000 per member, including captain and coach). As well, the side which generates the highest points total from the six Skins games will receive an additional $13,000 ($500 per player, plus captain and coach).

For ticket and other event information, visit www.curling.ca/2015continentalcup-en/

For the complete schedule, go to www.curling.ca/2015continentalcup-en/draw-schedule/

TSN (RDS2 in French), the exclusive television network for the CCA’s Season of Champions, will provide complete coverage of the WFG Continental Cup.

Team North America Lineups

Men
Brad Jacobs (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.)
Ryan Fry
E.J. Harnden
Ryan Harnden

John Morris (Calgary)
Pat Simmons
Carter Rycroft
Nolan Thiessen

Mike McEwen (Winnipeg)
B.J. Neufeld
Matt Wozniak
Denni Neufeld

Women
Jennifer Jones (Winnipeg)
Kaitlyn Lawes
Jill Officer
Dawn McEwen

Rachel Homan (Ottawa)
Emma Miskew
Joanne Courtney
Lisa Weagle

Val Sweeting (Edmonton)
Lori Olson-Johns
Dana Ferguson
Rachelle Brown

Captain: Randy Ferbey
Coach: Rick Lang

Team Europe Lineups

Men
Niklas Edin (Sweden)
Oskar Eriksson
Kristian Lindström
Christoffer Sundgren

David Murdoch (Scotland)
Greg Drummond
Scott Andrews
Michael Goodfellow

Thomas Ulsrud (Norway)
Torger Nergård
Christoffer Svae
Håvard Vad Petersson

Women
Eve Muirhead (Scotland)
Anna Sloan
Vicki Adams
Sarah Reid

Margaretha Sigfridsson (Sweden)
Maria Prytz
Christina Bertrup
Maria Wennerström

Anna Sidorova (Russia)
Margarita Fomina
Aleksandra Saitova
Ekaterina Galkina

Captain: David Hay
Coach: Peja Lindholm