A two-time world champion and Olympic gold-medallist will join Brendan Bottcher’s team for the upcoming 2021 BKT Tires & OK Tire World Men’s Curling Championship, presented by New Holland, it was announced today.
Marc Kennedy will join the team and will be listed as the alternate, with Patrick Janssen remaining with the team in a support role.
The move was made in consultation with Curling Canada as a backup plan should vice-skip Darren Moulding’s back injury not respond to treatment, or re-occur at some point during the 10-day competition. Moulding injured his back during the recently completed Home Hardware Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Championship, presented by Nature’s Bounty.
Team Canada will play its first game at the BKT Tires & OK Tire World Men’s Championship next Friday, April 2, at 11 a.m. ET against Scotland’s Bruce Mouat.
Team Canada needs to finish in the top six at the BKT Tires & OK Tire World Men’s Championship to guarantee a berth in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
“We are still very optimistic that Darren will be ready to go for Game 1 against Scotland, but having Marc available and ready to jump in at any time during the competition will certainly be a great option for us,” said Bottcher, whose Tim Hortons Brier championship team is rounded out by second Brad Thiessen, lead Karrick Martin and coach Don Bartlett. “Considering how important this World Championship is for Olympic qualifying, we decided as a team, and through talking with national coach Jeff Stoughton, that we needed to make sure that we were as prepared as possible for every eventuality. Marc’s experience speaks for itself, he’s a consummate teammate on and off the ice, and he will be a valuable addition.
“We are very excited, too, that Patrick will be part of this journey and we look forward to seeing him on the ice with us for every game alongside Don at the coaching table. He is a crucial piece of the puzzle for us, and he brings a lot to our lineup regardless of whether he plays.”
“I couldn’t be more supportive of the team’s decision to bring in Marc; this is a hugely important event for Canadian curling, and I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to remain with the team,” said Janssen. “I’ll be doing whatever I can to make sure all the pieces are in place to help the team succeed at the World Championship.”
Moulding will continue to receive treatment through to Friday’s opening game.
“I’m making progress, and I’m feeling much better than I was last weekend,” said Moulding. “I’m really hoping to be able to play, but I also know the big picture here, and I’ll do whatever it takes to give our team the best chance of success at the World Championship.”
Kennedy participated in the Tim Hortons Brier, presented by AGI, as the vice-skip for Brad Jacobs’ Northern Ontario team, and also played in the Home Hardware Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship with partner Val Sweeting.
“I have a ton of respect for Team Bottcher; their success over the past few years is remarkable, and I look forward to being a part of the team at the World Championship,” said Kennedy. “My preference would be to watch the entire event and see Darren compete at the high level we all know he’s capable of, but I’ll be ready to go if needed to give Team Canada a chance to succeed.”