Ford World Women’s Curling Championship begins Saturday in Saint John, N.B.

Rachel Homan’s Canadian champion team from Ottawa will open play Saturday afternoon at Harbour Station in Saint John, N.B., in pursuit of Canada’s first gold medal at the 2014 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship, presented by Booster Juice, since 2008.
The battle for the Ford World Women's Curling Championship, presented by Booster Juice, begins Saturday at Harbour Station in Saint John, N.B. (Photo, courtesy Harbour Station)

The battle for the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship, presented by Booster Juice, begins Saturday at Harbour Station in Saint John, N.B. (Photo, courtesy Harbour Station)

Homan, backed up by third Emma Miskew, second Alison Kreviazuk, lead Lisa Weagle, alternate Stephanie LeDrew, team coach Earle Morris and national coach Elaine Dagg-Jackson, will take on Russia’s Anna Sidorova Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (all times Atlantic) in the opening draw of the 12-team round-robin competition. Homan’s team was triumphant at the 2014 Scotties Tournament of Hearts last month in Montreal. The last time a Canadian team won a gold medal was in 2008 at Vernon, B.C., where Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones prevailed in the final over China’s Bingyu Wang. Homan also played in the 2013 World Women’s Championship, winning a bronze medal last year in Riga, Latvia. The field for the 2014 Ford Worlds features three teams that also competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics last month in Sochi, Russia — silver-medallist Margaretha Sigfridsson of Sweden, South Korea’s Ji-Sun Kim and the Russian team that Team Canada will face in the opening draw on Saturday. The field is rounded out by China’s Liu Sijia, Switzerland’s Bina Feltscher, Allison Pottinger of the United States, Kerry Barr of Scotland, Latvia’s Evita Regža, Germany’s Imogen Oona Lehmann, Denmark’s Madeleine Dupont and Anna Kubešková of the Czech Republic. Round-robin play will continue until Thursday, with the top four teams advancing to the Page playoffs, which see the first-and-second place teams playing for a berth in the March 23 gold-medal game (7:30 p.m.). The loser of the one-two game drops to the semifinal (March 22, 2 p.m.) against the winner of the Page three-four game. The semifinal loser and Page three-four loser will play for the bronze medal on March 23 at noon. TSN, the official broadcast partner of the Canadian Curling Association, will provide live coverage of Canada’s round-robin games, in addition to all playoff games. In French, RDS will show Canada’s opening game against Russia in addition to the gold-medal game on March 23. The remainder of Canada’s games will be shown on RDS2. It’s the 13th time that Canada has hosted the World Women’s Championship since it began in 1979 in Perth, Scotland, and the second time it’s happened in Saint John. In 1999, the combined men’s and women’s Ford World Championships were staged at Harbour Station, with Sweden’s Elisabet Gustafson winning the gold medal, beating Patti Lank of the United States in the final. Canada’s Colleen Jones finished fifth. Canada has won a leading 15 gold medals at the World Women’s since 1979, followed by Sweden with eight. Last year in Riga, Scotland’s Eve Muirhead won gold, beating Sigfridsson’s Swedish team in the final. Click here for the list of teams competing in Saint John. Click here for the full schedule. Prior to the 2:30 p.m. opening draw on Saturday, the Ford Worlds will kick off with the opening ceremonies, beginning at noon at Harbour Station.