The final two pieces of the puzzle have been filled in for the 2017 World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Boyd Gaming.
Curling’s version of the Ryder Cup, which is scheduled for Jan. 12-15 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, welcomed the final two entries this past weekend with the victories by Winnipeg’s Reid Carruthers and Jennifer Jones at the 2016 Home Hardware Canada Cup, presented by Meridian Manufacturing.
They’re now added to Team North America, which will be looking to extend its four-year win streak when they battle Team World in the unique four-day competition that features three unique styles of curling competition (traditional team, skins, mixed doubles). Each segment awards points for wins (or ties). A total of 60 points are available, meaning the side that earns more than 30 points will be declared the champion.
“Jennifer has so much experience at the WFG Continental Cup, so it will be great to have that team’s veteran presence on board,” said Team North America coach Rick Lang. “At the same time, three members of Team Carruthers will be making their debut, so I know they’ll add a lot of excitement and energy to the team. We’ll need all of that because we’re expecting Team World to leave nothing on the table in Las Vegas.”
Team Jones (the team is rounded out by vice-skip Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn McEwen) will be making its eighth appearance in the World Financial Group Continental Cup, including the past four winning years — last year and 2014 in Las Vegas, 2015 in Calgary and 2013 in Penticton, B.C. Team Jones also was part of Team North America winning teams in 2011 at St. Albert, Alta., and 2007 at Medicine Hat, Alta.; its only loss was in 2008 at Camrose, Alta.
“We always love being a part of the World Financial Group Continental Cup, just because it’s such a unique, fun event,” said Jones. “At the same time, being a part of the larger group with Team North America is so gratifying. We see these players so often as rivals, so being teammates with them, and having the men’s teams with us, makes this event really special.”
Carruthers himself will be playing in his third WFG Continental Cup; as the second for Team Jeff Stoughton, he was a member of the winning Team North America squad in 2014 at Las Vegas, and also lost in 2012 at Langley, B.C.
His teammates — third Braeden Moskowy, second Derek Samagalsky and lead Colin Hodgson — all will be WFG Continental Cup rookies.
“I know when we won the Home Hardware Canada Cup on Sunday night, we were excited to lock down our Trials berth, but we were just as excited to get the chance to play in the WFG Continental Cup in Las Vegas,” said Carruthers. “I’ve told my teammates that they have a lot to look forward to. Obviously, it’ll fun to play in Las Vegas, but we’re going there with the attitude that we want to help Team North America keep that trophy.”
The Team North America squad is rounded out by Canadian teams skipped by Kevin Koe (Calgary), Chelsea Carey (Calgary), as well as the U.S. teams skipped by Heath McCormick and Jamie Sinclair.
Debbie McCormick of the U.S. is the team Captain.
Team World — helmed by Coach Pål Trulsen and Captain Andy Kapp — features teams skipped by Sweden’s Niklas Edin and Anna Hasselborg, Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud, Switzerland’s Binia Feltscher, Denmark’s Rasmus Stjerne and Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa.
The previous two Las Vegas editions of the World Financial Group Continental Cup — in 2014 and 2016 — each broke event records for attendance, and the 2016 renewal also set the standard for the best-attended curling event on U.S. soil.