Two of the most familiar faces in Canadian and United States curling will be at the helm of Team North America for the 2014 World Financial Group Continental Cup, it was announced today.
The Ryder Cup-style curling competition, a joint collaboration of the Canadian Curling Association, USA Curling and the World Curling Federation, is being staged outside of Canada for the first time, running Jan. 16 to 19 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
Three-time Brier and two-time World champion Rick Lang of Thunder Bay, Ont., will serve as the North American Coach for the fourth straight year; he also will be Canada’s national men’s coach at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Lang will be joined by USA Curling Hall of Fame member Steve Brown of Madison, Wisc., as the Captain. Brown is a three-time United States champion and a two-time World Championship bronze-medallist. He will be the coach of the U.S. wheelchair curling team at the 2014 Winter Paralympics, also in Sochi, Russia.
Team North America will be looking to defend the title it won in the 2013 renewal of the Continental Cup in Penticton, B.C., and become the first side to repeat as champion this unique event that pits six North American teams (four from Canada, two from the U.S.) against a six-team World lineup in a variety of curling competitions. It will be the 10th renewal of the event.
“I’m thrilled to get another chance to participate in one of curling’s best events,” said Lang. “I’m also excited to get a chance to work with Steve. We saw a lot of each other on the circuit over the years, and I have a lot of respect for him as a competitor and as a coach. I think we’ll work extremely well together.”
Lang and Brown still don’t have a lineup of teams to choose between; the North American players won’t be confirmed until following the United States Olympic Curling Trials, Nov. 10-17 in Fargo, N.D., and the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials, Dec. 1-8 in Winnipeg.
They’ll be pitted against a Team World side helmed by Captain David Hay of Scotland and Coach Peja Lindholm of Sweden. The World lineup features reigning men’s and women’s champions Niklas Edin of Sweden and Eve Muirhead of Scotland, along with David Murdoch of Scotland, Thomas Ulsrud of Norway, Margaretha Sigfridsson of Sweden and Satsuki Fujisawa of Japan.
“I couldn’t possibly be more thrilled and honoured to be selected as captain for Team North America at the upcoming Continental Cup in Las Vegas,” said Brown. “This will be one of the greatest showcases in history for our fabulous sport as it continues to grow across the world and in the United States. To have the opportunity to work with the reigning superstars of North America against the best of the rest of the world is literally a dream come true. I will do everything in my power to make this event a ringing success in every fashion possible.”
For event details, as well as information on accommodation and tickets, go to: www.curling.ca/2014continentalcup-en/.