(ISN) – Eleven of the 12 countries that will contest the 2015 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship next spring at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax have now been determined.
Eight more countries were added to the 12-team field that will compete for the world title from March 28 to April 5 following the 2014 Le Gruyère European Championships, which concluded on Saturday in Champéry, Switzerland.
Sweden’s Niklas Edin, the 2013 winner at the Ford World Men’s in Victoria, B.C., defeated reigning world men’s champion Thomas Ulsrud of Norway 5-4 in an extra end in Saturday’s gold-medal game to cap an unbeaten run through the championship, while Switzerland’s Sven Michel captured the bronze medal with an 8-6 triumph over Italy’s Joel Retornaz.
All four countries qualified for the Ford Worlds, as did the next three highest finishers in the round robin — Jiří Snítil of the Czech Republic, Russia’s Evgeny Arkhipov and Scotland’s David Edwards.
The eighth European entry was decided following a best-of-three playoff between A-pool eighth-place finisher Alexander Baumann of Germany and Aku Kauste of Finland, who won the B-pool in Champéry. The Finns swept the two-game series to clinch a trip to Halifax.
The teams that competed in Champéry aren’t guaranteed to play in Halifax; each qualified country will determine its representative team for the Ford Worlds in the new year.
The Italians will be making their first trip to the World Men’s Championship since 2010, and just their fourth since 1990.
As the host country, Canada was the first qualified country, and was joined by China and Japan — the top two finishers at the Pacific-Asia Championships earlier this month in Karuizawa, Japan.
The 12th qualifier for the Ford Worlds in Halifax will be determined through a best-of-five challenge series for the second Americas Zone berth between Brazil and the United States, beginning Jan. 30 in Blaine, Minn. Brazil has challenged the U.S. on two previous occasions, in 2009 and 2010, and was swept in three games both times.
Canada’s representative for the Ford Worlds will be decided at the 2015 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by SecurTek Monitoring Solutions, Feb. 28-March 8 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.
Various ticket options for the 2015 Ford Worlds in Halifax are now available. Look for ways to “Live it Live” at the Ford Worlds by going to www.curling.ca/2015worldmen-en/tickets/.