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Canadian teams open Universiade curling competition Monday in Almaty

Canada’s reigning Canadian university curling champions will take aim at gold next week when the 2017 Winter Universiade curling competition gets underway Monday at the Almaty Arena in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The Almaty Arena will host the curling competition in the 2017 Winter Universiade. (Photo, almaty2017.com)

Two-time World Junior Women’s Champion Kelsey Rocque will skip the Canadian women’s team from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, while Aaron Squires will be at the helm of the Canadian men’s team from the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks in Waterloo, Ont.

Aaron Squires

Those teams won the right to represent Canada at the Winter Universiade by winning the gold medals at the 2016 CIS-Curling Canada Canadian University Curling Championships last March in Kelowna, B.C.

Team Rocque (vice-skip Danielle Schmiemann, second Taylor McDonald, lead Taylore Theroux and coach Garry Coderre) will get things going in the 10-team women’s round robin on Monday at 9 a.m. local time (10 p.m. EST Sunday night) against China. Rocque won gold at the 2014 and 2015 World Juniors with different lineups; McDonald was a member of the 2014 team while Schmiemann won gold with Rocque a year later.

Squires’ men’s team — the team is rounded out by vice-skip Richard Krell, second Spencer Nuttall, lead Fraser Reid, alternate Russell Cuddie and coach Jim Waite — will play the host country team from Kazakhstan in its opening game in the 10-team men’s competition on Monday at 2 p.m. local time (3 a.m. EST).

Kelsey Rocque

At this point, only Canada’s team lineups are public knowledge; countries aren’t required to submit their official lineups until the team meeting on Saturday. The event is open to post-secondary students between the ages of 17 and 25.

Canada has won numerous medals over the years, but is searching for its first gold medal since Brittany Gregor captured the women’s gold in 2007 at Pinerolo, Italy.

Other Canadian medallists include:

  • Breanne Meakin, women’s silver in 2015 at Granada, Spain
  • Brendan Bottcher, men’s bronze in 2013 at Trentino, Italy
  • Hollie Nicol, women’s silver in 2009 at Harbin, China
  • Mike McEwen, men’s gold in 2003 at Tarvisio, Italy
  • Krista McCarville, women’s silver in 2003 at Tarvisio.

The rest of the Canadian men’s schedule looks like this:

  • Jan. 31 — 9 a.m. (10 p.m. Jan. 30 EST) vs. Great Britain
  • Jan. 31 — 7 p.m. (8 a.m. EST) vs. Russia
  • Feb. 1 — 2 p.m. (3 a.m. EST) vs. U.S.A.
  • Feb. 2 — 9 a.m. (10 p.m. Feb. 1 EST) vs. Japan
  • Feb. 2 — 7 p.m. (8 a.m. EST) vs. Sweden
  • Feb. 3 — 2 p.m. (3 a.m. EST)  vs. Czech Republic
  • Feb. 4 — 9 a.m. (10 p.m. Feb. 3 EST) vs. South Korea
  • Feb. 4 — 7 p.m. (8 a.m. EST) vs. Norway

Here’s the remainder of the Canadian women’s schedule:

  • Jan. 30 — 7 p.m. (8 a.m. EST) vs. Germany
  • Jan. 31 — 2 p.m. (3 a.m. EST) vs. Sweden
  • Feb. 1 — 9 a.m. (10 p.m. Jan. 31 EST) vs. Russia
  • Feb. 1 — 7 p.m. (8 a.m. EST) vs. Great Britain
  • Feb. 2 — 2 p.m. (3 a.m. EST) vs. Switzerland
  • Feb. 3 — 9 a.m. (10 p.m. Feb. 2 EST) vs. Kazakhstan
  • Feb. 3 — 7 p.m. (8 a.m. EST)  vs. South Korea
  • Feb. 4 — 2 p.m. (3 a.m. EST) vs. Norway

Live scoring will be available on the official event website, https://almaty2017.com/. Additionally, keep checking curling.ca for stories throughout the competition.

There will be live streaming of the medal-round games on http://www.livefisu.tv/