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Team Canada set for first world mixed championship

The first world title of the 2015-16 season will be up for grabs in Berne, Switzerland, when the inaugural World Mixed Curling Championship gets underway on Saturday.

Team Canada, from left, second Chris Haichert, lead Teejay Haichert, vice-skip Jolene Campbell and skip Max Kirkpatrick.

Team Canada, from left, second Chris Haichert, lead Teejaay Haichert, vice-skip Jolene Campbell and skip Max Kirkpatrick.

The Max Kirkpatrick team from Swift Current, Sask., will wear the Maple Leaf at Curling Bahn Allmend, an eight-sheet curling club in the Swiss capital.

Kirkpatrick, backed up by third Jolene Campbell, second Chris Haichert and lead Teejay Haichert, earned the trip to Switzerland by winning the 2015 Canadian Mixed Curling Championship November in North Bay, Ont.

It will be the first time a world championship has been staged in the traditional mixed (two male, two female players) format. It replaces the European Mixed Championship that had been played for the past few seasons.

It will be the first time Kirkpatrick has played internationally for Canada, although all of his teammates have played internationally. Campbell was the alternate on Amber Holland’s team that won silver at the 2011 World Women’s Championship in Denmark, while Chris Haichert and his wife Teejay Haichert both won gold medals at the 2003 World Junior Championships in Flims, Switzerland. Chris played third for Steve Laycock’s men’s team, while Teejay (then Teejay Surik) was the third for Marliese Kasner’s gold-medal team.

Ron Meyers will be the Team Canada coach.

A total of 36 teams, split into four pools of nine, will contest the world championship. The teams will play a round-robin within their pool, with the top three teams from each pool reaching the playoffs, which begin Friday, Sept. 18. The pool winners will be seeded directly into the quarter-finals, while the second- and third-place teams will play crossover playoff games.

The semifinals, along with the gold- and bronze-medal games, are scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 19.

Live scoring and statistics will be available on the event website, www.worldcurling.org/wmxcc2015