New-look Team Koe to fly flag for Canada in Suzhou
Canada reveal four-team players for first three legs with Team Koe featuring two new members
Curling Canada have announced the four-player teams that will compete in the first three legs of the inaugural Curling World Cup, including the opening stage next month in Suzhou, China.
Canada will be represented next month by a new-look Team Koe in the men’s event with Kevin Koe and lead Ben Hebert joined by new members, second Colton Flasch and third B.J Neufeld.
Koe’s rink has previously enjoyed international success in 2010 and 2016, winning gold at the Curling World Championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo and Basel respectively.
Koe commented: "Team Koe is very excited to be participating in the inaugural World Cup Event in Suzhou, China. It will be our first event as a new team and we couldn't think of a better event to start in and are looking forward to it."
Team Homan - who won the CPT World Women's Curling Championship 2017 - will be Canada’s representatives in the opening women’s event, with skip Rachel Homan alongside lead Lisa Weagle, second Joanne Courtney and third Emma Miskew.
Both Team Koe and Team Homan represented Canada at the Winter Olympics earlier this year, with the men’s rink losing out to Switzerland in the bronze medal game.
The competition will be the first in which teams represent their country while earning prize money, with up to $165,000 to play for in each of the first three events, before an increase to $280,000 in the Grand Final.
Canada have also named their teams for the second and third legs, with Team Fleury and Team Gunnlaugson competing in Omaha, USA, while Team Jones and Team Gushue will take to the ice in Jonkoping, Sweden, for the third leg.
They have also named their mixed doubles team for the Suzhou leg, with Laura Walker and Kirk Muyres – bronze medallists at the World Mixed Doubles Championship 2018 – heading to China in September.
The Grand Final will be held in Beijing, China, next May, with the host nation, the three winners from the first three legs, and the current World Curling champions all competing.
They will be joined by a ‘special invite’ team – such as the reigning Olympic champions – and the two highest ranked teams from the Curling World Cup ranking list that have not yet qualified.