The first event of the 2009-2010 curling season will kick off in just a few days at the Baden Regio Curling Center. The Swiss city will play host to the Baden Masters, which will feature sixteen mens teams from around the world. The field is strong, including past world champions, Olympic champions, and Brier champions.
The Baden Masters’ field includes three Canadian teams, all of which will be contenders to win the event.
Randy Ferbey’s rink from Alberta will make the trip to Switzerland for the event. The four-time world champion ended last season on an up-swing. The “Ferbey-Four” has suffered from disappointing seasons the past few years, but towards the end of last season Ferbey’s crew started to turn things around. They finished last season in third place in the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) standings. They closed out their season in the best possible way, being crowned champions at the World Curling Tour’s grand finale, the Players’ Championship. They’ll be hoping to pick up right where they left off last year, and building some momentum heading into the Olympic Trials this winter. Ferbey will ease his way into this tournament with what should be a relatively straight-forward game against Manuel Ruch.
Another Canadian team appearing at the Baden Masters is Mark Dacey. The 2004 Brier champ returned to the curling scene last year after taking some time off to focus on his family. Dacey will have a very challenging first draw at this event, taking on the reigning world champion, David Murdoch.
The final Canadian team competing in the Baden Masters is Brad Gushue, perhaps the most determined player in the world. Ever since winning gold at the Torino Olympics, Gushue has been very open about his passion to return to the Olympics. The Gushue team recently returned from summer training in Halifax and is trying to get in as much early ice-time as possible in an effort to peak during the Olympic Trials. Expect Gushue to plow into the Baden Masters with intensity, as he’ll try to pick up momentum early in the season. Gushue won this event in 2007, becoming just the second Canadian team to ever win it. Gushue’s first game of the event will be against the home-crowd favorite, Ralph Stockli.
Other notable teams appearing in Baden next week include Thomas Ulsrud, David Murdoch, Niklas Edin, Andy Kapp, and Ralph Stockli.
The top prize at the Baden Masters includes 10,000 Swiss francs, which is equivalent to about $10,242 in Canadian dollars.
You can follow the entire event right here at Curling Scoops, starting Friday, September 11th.