A pair of Manitoba teams will aim to mine gold in Siberia, as the 2020 World Junior Curling Championships get underway in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
Jacques Gauthier’s team from Winnipeg (vice-skip Jordan Peters, second Brayden Payette, lead Zack Bilawka, alternate Thomas Dunlop, coach John Lund) and Mackenzie Zacharias’s team from Altona (third Karlee Burgess, second Emily Zacharias, lead/vice-skip Lauren Lenentine, alternate Rachel Erickson, coach Sheldon Zacharias) will both see action on opening day at the 3,500-seat Crystal Ice Arena in Krasnoyarsk.
Burgess will be attempting to join Scotland’s Eve Muirhead and Vicki Adams as the only females ever to win three World Juniors gold medals; Burgess won in 2016 at Copenhagen, Denmark, playing with Mary Fay, and in 2018 at Aberdeen, Scotland, playing with Kaitlyn Jones (with Lenentine as the team alternate). Burgess also was the alternate for Selena Sturmay’s Canadian team that won a silver medal last year in Liverpool, N.S. Last month at the 2020 New Holland Canadian Junior Championships, Burgess made history as the first female ever to win three Canadian junior gold medals.
Gauthier, meanwhile, will be looking to follow in the footsteps of his cousin Tyler Tardi, who won both the 2018 and 2019 world junior men’s titles; Gauthier was the alternate for Tardi’s Canadian team in 2018 at Aberdeen.
The Canadian men will see action twice on opening day in Krasnoyarsk — at 9 p.m. (all times Eastern) on Friday against Luc Violette’s U.S. team, and then at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday against Sweden’s Daniel Magnusson.
Zacharias’s Canadian women’s team, meanwhile, is in action once on opening day — at 2 a.m. Saturday against Japan’s Sae Yamamoto.
You can view the schedule for the 2020 World Juniors by CLICKING HERE. Selected games from the 2020 World Junior Curling Championships will be streamed live on the World Curling Federation’s YouTube Channel.
Canadian teams have reached the gold-medal game at the past two World Juniors. In 2018 at Aberdeen, Canada’s men’s (skipped by Tardi) and women’s (skipped by Jones) swept the gold medals, while last year in Liverpool, N.S., Tardi again won gold, while Sturmay skipped Canada to a silver medal, losing in the women’s final to Russia, which has three of its players back from last year.
Canadian men’s teams have won a leading 20 gold medals (Scotland is next with 10 gold) to go along with 10 silver and eight bronze in the 45 previous editions of the World Junior Men’s Championship.
Canadian women’s teams, meanwhile, have claimed gold 12 times (Scotland is next best with nine), along with nine silver and eight bronze since the World Junior Women’s Championship made its debut in 1988.
Ten men’s and 10 women’s teams will play a round-robin draw that wraps up on Feb. 20. The top four teams will reach the semifinals on Feb. 21, with first place playing fourth, and second place playing third.
The semifinal winners play for gold, and the losers play for bronze, on Feb. 22.