An already solid season of international curling for Canadian teams was completed in style on Saturday in Östersund, Sweden.
Canada’s Wade White and Sherry Anderson swept the gold medals at the 2018 World Senior Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships, while the pairing of Laura Crocker and Kirk Muyres captured the bronze medal at the World Mixed Doubles Championship.
Those medal results added to Canada’s haul of a world-leading nine medals — five gold, two silver and two bronze — in international championship events during the 2017-18 season.
Next best was Sweden with two gold and four silver.
White’s Edmonton team — vice-skip Barry Chwedoruk, second Dan Holowaychuk and lead George White — clinched Canada’s 10th world senior men’s championship on Saturday by downing two-time defending champion and home-country favourite Mats Wranå 8-2 in Saturday’s gold-medal game.
Anderson and her Saskatoon teammates — vice-skip Patty Hersikorn, second Brenda Goertzen and lead Anita Silvernagle — shaded Margie Smith of the U.S. 5-4 in the women’s final.
Both Canadian teams were coached by Bill Tschirhart.
In the men’s final, Team Canada took control early, stealing three points in each of the first two ends for a 6-0 lead that took the starch out of the Swedes, who had beaten Canadian teams in the past two world senior men’s finals.
“We executed well, and we got a few misses, but we were curling really well,” said White, who defeated Scotland’s Gordon Muirhead in the semifinal earlier in the day. “We had a really good start in both games. I wasn’t expecting the second three. He had a pretty hard shot in the first end, but that was a really good start by us.”
It was Canada’s first senior men’s gold medal since 2014, when Wayne Tallon won the title in Dumfries, Scotland.
“World champion? It’s taken 40 years of curling, it feels good,” said White. “It’s been a battle all my life just to get out of Alberta. I’m going to savour it now.”
Jeff Wright’s U.S. team took the bronze medal with a 7-2 win over Muirhead’s Scots.
Anderson’s women’s team also was in a stealing mood early against the U.S. After taking one to open the game, Canada stole singles in the second and third ends, and another in the sixth and never looked back.
“I thought we played really well this week and other than an end here or there, we were in control of most of our games,” said Anderson. “It feels great, it would have been very disappointing the way we played not to finish it off.”
The Canadian women earned their spot in the final with a 7-5 win over Switzerland’s Dagmar Frei in the semifinal earlier in the day. Frei bounced back with a 5-3 win over Sweden’s Anette Norberg to take the bronze medal.
Anderson, who represented Saskatchewan at the 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, used her years of experience on the ice to keep cool during the final.
“I’ve played in enough finals that I know you just try to keep your emotions in check, and, with practice over the years, that helps,” she said. “Being in big finals helps too. It’s really no different, it’s just another game and you’ve got to make all your shots until the last rock is thrown.”
“’World champion’ sounds marvellous, it really does,” she added. “I’ve been playing this sport a long time trying to get this title, so it’s really sweet.”
Meanwhile, Edmonton’s Crocker and Saskatoon’s Muyres avenged their only round-robin defeat at the World Mixed Doubles Championship with an 8-3 win over South Korea’s Hyeji Jang and Kijeong Lee to capture the bronze medal.
Earlier Saturday, Crocker and Muyres bowed 7-5 to the Swiss tandem of Michele Jäggi and Sven Michel in the semifinal, but the Canadians, coached by Jeff Stoughton, came back strongly in the bronze-medal to land Canada on the podium for the second straight year; in 2017 at Lethbridge, Alta., Joanne Courtney and Reid Carruthers won silver after a loss to Switzerland in the gold-medal game.
“It feels great to bounce back after the disappointing one this morning, to finish this season off with a win and a world medal,” said Muyres. “Not many people can say that so it’s really exciting.”
Crocker and Muyres went ahead 4-2 with a steal in the fifth. But it was the strategic use of their power play in the seventh end that put the game away when Crocker picked out the South Korean counter on the four-foot to score four and seal the victory.
Switzerland won its second straight gold medal, and its world-best seventh in the 11-year history of the World Mixed Doubles Championship, with a 9-6 victory over Russia’s Maria Komarova and Daniil Goriachev.