Thursday, 16 April 2020

2020 #GoldenGranite Awards Winner List

#BetweenTheSheets: Announcing #GoldenGranite Winners
Who took home top honuors over the 2019/20 season?


As was done last year shall be continued this year. With there being a comprehensive list of Golden Granite Awards again this year, the committee decided we needed to have a separate blog post just to announce all the winners.

ICYMI, the Golden Granite Awards officially kicked off on April 15 with the pre-show hype, opening monologue and presenting the first award of the season.

Here are the highlights:

🙏 In Memorandum
💝 Renaming the Social Team of the Year award
🏆 Presenting the NEW Grant Hopley Award
🎇 Congratulations to Team Tipple

If you want to relive the entire opener (or you missed it for whatever reason), check it out HERE.

We are out of the hack, time to sweet into the house. Bring on the awards....


HIT OF THE YEAR

2019 Winner: International Growth

Nominees: #DunnyIsMoney (Masters), Rise of Scottish Male Teams, Team Einarson Scotties Win, Team Fujisawa Trio (National)

And the #GoldenGranite goes to: #DunnyIsMoney (Masters)


Even in a slightly shortened season there were still many highlights on the ice. Selecting one to win top prize at the Golden Granite Awards is a tough decision. The surprising run of Japan's Team Fujisawa at the National with only three players was exciting. Besting top ranked teams is hard enough at full strength, Fujisawa did so one player down. And what about the emergence on the Power Rankings by Scottish male teams? We knew Teams Mouat, Paterson and Muirhead were good but look at the strong seasons from Team Whyte and Team Bryce. Take note curling fans, #ScottishPride is becoming a multi-team force. And of course we cannot forget the crowning of the new Ice Queen of Canada: Kerri Einarson! #TeamSkipper was the best team all week in Moose Jaw and rightfully took their spot on the throne as Canadian champs. But one moment captured the hearts of curling fans around the world this past season. When Matt Dunstone won his first GSOC title at The Masters and stood in front of a TV camera for a post-win interview with Joan McCusker, tears flowed. And not just from the young champion. There were many people cutting some onions in their homes at the same time. Team Dunstone was magical in North Bay that last week of October. They knocked off Team Gushue (twice), Team Bottcher, Team McEwen, Team Jacobs and Team Mouat en route to their championship moment. And nobody saw it coming. We knew the team was good. We knew what Dunny was capable of as a skip. But not many pictured him hoisting a slam title already. Not against this calibre of competition, many still in their prime. We have grown accustomed to seeing the Gushue's/Edin's/Jacobs'/Koe's and recently Bottcher's of the world win slam titles. It is almost a safe bet to predict one of those five teams as the slam winner for each event. And usually that prediction would prove correct. But not in North Bay. We saw a new champion. A young champion. And a champion not afraid to let down the guard and show his emotion after the victory. We are all familiar with the "Dunny Leap" from his Canadian junior championship days. We know Dunstone wears his heart on his sleeve. But when he took that moment, in front of the curling world, to just crouch down head in hands and then face in jersey to let the tears flow, the curling world saw another side of the 24-year old. Vulnerability. Dunstone let us in and allowed us to be part of his emotional victory, whether on purpose or not is not the point. Curling victories have become almost scripted and predictable. Toss the hands in the hair. Drop the broom. Hug or high-five the teammates. Shake hands with the opponent. Take the victory picture with the trophy. Ho-Hum. Yeah, yeah. THIS is what the sport needed. A new victor. A new energy of celebration. This was not "just another victory" for Dunstone. This was accomplishing a dream of winning a slam title. Other teams take note. Whether it is title #1 or title #24, enjoy the moment a bit more. Be emotional. You are human after all. Where are the celly's? The tears? The thrill of victory? Maybe other teams are just growing accustomed to winning and take it for granted? Don't! You never know when, or if, your next victory will be. The fans get excited for your wins. You should get excited with them. Thank you Matt Dunstone for showing another side of the curling athlete, especially the other side of the male athlete. We can continue to break down the walls of toxic masculinity in sport through the acceptance, and encouragement, of vulnerbale yet celebratory moments. At The Masters we saw #DunnyIsMoney but not just because of his on-ice talent. Congratulations Matt Dunstone and Team Dunstone on winning the Golden Granite Award for HIT of the Year!



MISS OF THE YEAR

2019 Winner: Wheelchair Canada Relegation

Nominee: #COVID19, #COVID19 Closure, #COVID19 Pandemic, #COVID19 Shutdown

And the #GoldenGranite goes to: #COVID19 

I know, surprised right? The world coming to an immediate halt due to a pandemic. Businesses closed. Sports cancelled. Playgrounds shut down. Lives lost. COVID-19 has made the world feel like it stopped spinning. From the curling perspective, COVID-19 took away a few major tournaments such as 5 world championships and 2 #gsoc events. Numerous national events around the world were also cancelled such as the Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Championship and Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship as examples. There were also a few mixed doubles tour events cancelled due to social distancing and facility closures. But lets also break down what is truly happening around us. People are getting sick. People are dying. People are scared. It puts sports in perspective. Disappointed to have the season abruptly end? Sure. But the cancellation of sports is not the be all end all when put in comparison to the health crisis facing the world. Lets be sad. Lets be disappointed. But lets not mourn the end of a season. At least curling had a majority season. The World Curling Tour, for the most part, was complete. Other sports might not be as fortunate. Lets not let this virus win and instead celebrate what we had, work together to put this to an end and hope for a 2020/21 season. We still do not know what next season will look like, if it even happens. The fallout could be felt for another season or more. And we should expect change in what events look like, if we as fans can even attend let alone if they even happen for the athletes. The tour and the sport overall will look different. But, for this moment in time, lets focus on celebrating the season we did have even if it was a shortened one. The biggest miss of the 2019/2020 season will be COVID-19 so congratulations on winning your award. We hope to never invite you to an award ceremony again!


TEAM OF THE YEAR - MIXED DOUBLES

2019 Winner: Team Kristin Skaslien / Magnus Nedregotten

Nominees: Team Anastasia Moskaleva / Alexander Eremin (RUS), Team Dorottya Palancsa / Zsolt Kiss (HUN), Team Daniela Rupp / Kevin Wunderlin (SUI), Team Kristin Skaslien / Magnus Nedregotten (NOR)

And the #GoldenGranite goes to: Team Anastasia Moskaleva / Alexander Eremin

With no world championship this season, this award gets to be a bit more difficult. Luckily the mixed doubles world curling tour has grown over the past few seasons and provides some statistical information to help select a winner. Based on #wct results this season, Russia's Team Moskaleva/Eremin were clearly one of, if not the, top team. The duo picked up 3 tour titles (Moscow, Tallinn, Budapest) and reached another final (Portage). Not to mention 2 additional Top 4 finishes (Pinerolo ITA, Vladivostok RUS). The Russian team competed in 10 events overall and qualified in 9 of them. Plus they competed in 7 different countries. They finished the shortened year with a remarkable record of 46-13 overall, a .780 winning percentage and a 5-2 record vs. their fellow nominees. They were prepared to enter the world championships on a 12-match winning streak with back-to-back tour titles and a combined 13-1 record in those two events.To say they were a gold medal favourite would be an understatement. This team is only in year three of curling together. In that short time frame they have won three straight Russian mixed doubles championships and finished 5th at the world championship last season. As we look forward (hopefully) to the 2022 Winter Olympics, start considering this team as an early gold medal contender. Congratulations Anastasia Moskaleva and Alexander Eremin on the outstanding season and winning the Golden Granite Award as Team of the Year - Mixed Doubles.



TEAM OF THE YEAR - MALE

2019 Winner: Team Brendan Bottcher

Nominees: Team Epping, Team Gushue, Team Jacobs, Team Mouat

And the #GoldenGranite goes to: Team Brad Jacobs


This award may be a bit more controversial compared to other award winners previously announced. People often attribute a Canadian championship to an auto spot as the Team of the Year. But is that accurate? Team Gushue won the Brier and did have a strong season on tour, finishing #2 on the Power Rankings. Team Epping won one of the most important events of the season, The Canada Cup, earning the first direct entry spot in the Roar of the Rings Olympic Trials. And Scottish champs Team Mouat were arguably one of the most consistent teams on tour this season. But they all fall to the wayside compared to our 2020 Golden Granite award winner for Team of the Year - Male: Team Brad Jacobs. Look at the overall piece of work put together by the Northern Ontario squad this season. They competed in 8 events. They qualified in 7 of them. They reached 5 finals. They won 4 titles, including the elusive #3peat on the Grand Slam of Curling ice (Tour Challenge Tier I, National, Canadian Open). The only slip up this season was at The Canada Cup, where they finished 2-4 and missed the playoffs. Of course they came out of the event winning the next two slam events and the Northern Ontario title. Yes they struggled a bit at The Brier but they reached the Championship Pool and playoffs, both were goals heading into the event. Plus they survived two TB games just to make the playoff bracket. This team gutted out hard wins and rebounded from the few hard losses. Overall they own a remarkable 59-17 record with a .776 winning percentage. And they remain one of the most polarizing teams among curling fans. Some may look at that with a raised eyebrow but I look at it as a positive for the sport. Love them. Hate them. At least you are talking about them. And that is what makes great sports teams and, ultimately, helps #growthesport. Congratulations on the Golden Granite Award Team Jacobs!



NATION OF THE YEAR

2019 Winner: Canada

Nominees: Canada, Russia, South Korea, Sweden

And the #GoldenGranite goes to: Canada


This award was close for most of the season actually. Sweden made a charge with the double gold win at #ECC2019. South Korea struck gold and bronze at #PACC2019. And Russia made a late push with gold at #WWhCC2020 and bronze medal wins at the Youth Olympics and from the junior girls squad. But, in the end, Canada retained their spot atop the mountain for the second straight season. And the stats support the award. Canadian teams competed in 6 international events this season. How many times did they finish the competition atop the podium? 4! Canada took home gold medals at the World Mixed Curling Championship, World Wheelchair-B Curling Championship and swept the World Junior Curling Championships. The maple leaf also won silver at the World Wheelchair Curling Championship. Outside of the missed podium finish at the Youth Olympics, losing in the QF, Canada was almost perfect this season in playing for gold. Other nations are pressing of course and these results are based on 5 world championship events being cancelled due to #COVID19. Last year Canada finished #1 by almost 1300 points. This year the gap is just over 1100. Who knows if the gap would have widened or shrunk if those world championship events hit the ice. As for right now though, Canada stands tall atop the curling world and is your 2020 Golden Granite award winner as Nation of the Year. Congratulations to all athletes who wore the maple leaf this season.



TEAM OF THE YEAR - FEMALE

2019 Winner: Team Rachel Homan

Nominees: Team Einarson, Team Fleury, Team Fujisawa, Team Hasselborg

And the #GoldenGranite goes to: Team Anna Hasselborg

Shocker!!! Naw just kidding. This should be the biggest non-surprise award winner from the entire 2020 Golden Granite Awards. How can anyone argue against Team Hasselborg winning their second  Team of the Year award (first back in 2018)? They dominated this season. Swedish Champions. European Champions. 3 grand slam titles (Tour Challenge Tier I, National, Canadian Open). And not just 3 #gsoc wins but the rare #3peat in winning three IN A ROW! Plus they won their season-opening #wct event in Oakville. Outside of a small hiccup the following week at the Shorty Jenkins, this was one of the most dominant seasons we have seen on tour. The team finished atop the Power Rankings, distancing themselves by more than 2500 points from #2 ranked Team Fleury. The overall record sits at 53-9 for an eye-popping .855 winning percentage. They had 9 competitions this season, including a Euro qualifier vs. Team Wrana. With only 9 losses, it averages out to 1 loss per event. And remember they are not just playing tour events people. The schedule is mostly slams and the European Championship. This is not "easy" competition. Their record against their fellow Golden Granite nominees? 5-1 with only Fleury besting them in the Masters SF. It is unfortunate the world championships could not happen. Team Hasselborg was on such a roll it is hard to imagine them not winning the world title, the one missing piece to the team's impressive resume. With the skipper on an early maternity leave, hopefully the team can come back with the same momentum next season to chase down the coveted world title. Congratulations to the #SwedishVikings Team Hasselborg on winning the 2020 Golden Granite Award for Team of the Year - Female.



TEAM OF THE YEAR - WHEELCHAIR

2019 Winner: Team Wang (China)

Nominees: Team Ideson (Canada), Team Kurokhtin (Russia), Team Petersson-Dahl (Sweden), Team Wang (China)

And the #GoldenGranite goes to: Team Kurokhtin (Russia)

Photo Credit: World Curling Federation
Tough category to call here with four strong contenders. Two of these teams had to fight from the World Wheelchair-B Curling Championship just to qualify for the 2020 World Wheelchair Curling Championship. Another was the defending World and Olympic champion, not to mention winner of this prestigious award last year. And then we have our winner. Russia's Team Kurokhtin had their own hurdle to overcome this season. Last year's Russian team struggled at the world championship, just avoiding relegation. The national team was rebooted and the new Team Kurokhtin was born with only two members from last year's team but the addition of 2016 world champion Konstantin Kurokhtin at skip. Entering the world championships there was a bit of a question mark surrounding the team and how they would perform.  The team played a few tour events, including winning a title in Turin, ITA in September. But they also struggled in other tour events, including a very disappointing T13 result a few weeks later in Switzerland. They were a bit of an outside playoff contender. And the results in the RR showed some ice struggles. At one point they lost 3 straight RR games, needing a W in their final RR game just to make the playoffs. But once in the playoffs, it was magical. They wore the #StealPants for a majority of their victories. They stole 2 in the extra end to defeat Norway in the Qualification Round. They dominated the defending champs from China in the SF. And in the final, after trailing 2-4 after 5, the scored a single in 6 and single #StealPants in 7 and 8 to take the world title over Canada. To say this team battled would be an understatement. New team formation. Strong and experienced world championship competition. Never give up attitude. Russia's Team Kurokhtin fought hard for their world title and deserve the season-ending Golden Granite award as the Wheelchair Team of the Year. The question now is, will this be the same team to #DefendTheIce in Beijing next season?




#TEAMUPSET OF THE YEAR - FEMALE

2019 Winner: Team Min-ji Kim

Nominees: Team Y. Han, Team Koana, Team Walker, Team M. Wilson

And the #GoldenGranite goes to: Team Y. Han

Photo Credit: World Curling Federation
These are four very strong contenders. Each had successful seasons. But when a newly formed team goes out and wins a continental championship and boosts themselves into the Top 25 on the Power Rankings, tough not to give them the honour. China's Team Han had an outstanding opening season together. Quick, when the participating teams were announced for the 2019 Pacific-Asia Curling Championships, raise your hand if you had this team winning the gold medal. I am not going to see many hands in the air. On the podium sure, given the competition. But gold? Hardly. Did you know the #PACC was also their first event of the season? And they won. Collectively the team competed in 8 events this season, including #PACC. They qualified in 7 of those events. They reached 4 finals. Their only title was the #PACC win but winning a continental championship trumps winning a #wct event. Plus their #PACC win qualified them for not only the world championship but also the season-ending Champions Cup. It is too bad those events were cancelled. It would have been interesting to see how this team stacked up against those other top teams. Oh and don't forget Han is still junior-eligible, being only 19 years old. You may remember her from the 2019 World Junior Curling Championships when she skipped Team China to an 8-1 RR record, good for first place. The team suffered a SF loss (vs. eventual champ Russia) and a bronze medal loss (vs. Switzerland). But she seemed to get over those losses quite easily this season. Overall they posted a season record of 38-21 for a strong .644 winning percentage. A few notable wins include: Team Walker, Korea's Team Kim, Korea's Team Gim, Japan's Team Nakajima, Russia's Team Kovaleva, Germany's Team Jentsch, Switzerland's Team Schori and USA's Team Sinclair. Pretty solid world championship-type resume right there. Last year a fellow #PACC contender took home this award and it translated into a successful follow-up season. With Beijing hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics, China may have found the perfect home ice contender for the podium in this team. Lets see if they can continue the momentum into next season though.



UNDERACHIEVER OF THE YEAR - NATION

2019 Winner: USA

Nominees: Belarus, Estonia, Slovakia, Spain

And the #GoldenGranite goes to: Spain


To be fair, this is a very difficult award to hand out considering 5 world championship events were cancelled. Similar to the #TeamUpset of the Year - Nation category, some nations may exceed expectations at some of those events while others may have had surprising slip-ups. It is tough to say what may have happened. However, the award show continues and so does handing out this Golden Granite. A year ago Spain was nominated for the #TeamUpset award (alongside fellow nominee here once again and winner last year Estonia). But the momentum from the Spaniards just was not there in 2019/2020. Trying to replicate the silver medal win at the opening World Mixed Curling Championships was going to be difficult. The team did go undefeated in the RR but lost in the opening round of the playoffs, costing them valuable ranking points. The men's and women's teams were unable to make any major movement at the European Championships, competing in the B-division. Similar to the junior teams, again both competing in the world B-division, collecting a combined 1 win through the event. Now a caveat should be placed of course that Spain is still a developing curling nation so expectations at European and World events need to be tapered. The big reason for the drop to #25 from #15 a year ago on the Power Rankings is due to the mixed result to open the season. Couple in the fact of the nations who finished Top 15 last season, 13 ranked within the Top 15 at the end of this season, Spain took quite the fall (with Estonia). The difference between Spain winning the award and Estonia? Spain fell off a world podium and could not gain traction anywhere else. On the flip side, there is a rumour circulating around the house a future European Curling Championship may be hosted by Barcelona. Imagine if that rumour became true? We saw what hosting the Olympics did for Italian curling. Could hosting a Euro do the same for Spain?



#TEAMUPSET OF THE YEAR - MIXED DOUBLES

2019 Winner: Team Kadriana Sahaidak / Colton Lott

Nominees: Team Gill/Hewitt, Team Grandy/Janssen, Team Kapp/Muskatewitz, Team Szekeres/Nagy

And the #GoldenGranite goes to: Team Grandy/Janssen


What an incredible mixed doubles season for Clancy Grandy and Patrick Janssen. Neither name should be unknown to curling fans. Grandy played many seasons on Team Flaxey, winning a grand slam title, and played with her last season alongside Team Kaitlyn Jones. Janssen is a familiar name from his days curling with Team Epping, reaching the 2018 Brier. The individual player resumes are nice. But sometimes that does not translate over to the mixed doubles game. Not the case this past season with these two. Together they put together one of the best mixed doubles seasons we have seen. The duo competed in 4 tour events. Not only did they qualify for the playoffs each time, they reached 3 finals and 1 SF. Oh and those 3 finals appearances all happened to become tour titles. They were a perfect 3 for 3 in championship finals. Their overall record for the season? An astonishing 22-3 for a .880 winning percentage. And two of those losses came at the hands of Jolene Campbell/John Morris and Anna Hasselborg/Oskar Eriksson. Losses to one-half of the defending Olympic champs and the current world mixed doubles champions are not considered a "bad loss". It really is unfortunate the Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Championship had to be cancelled due to #COVID19 because this team was a strong dark horse title threat....in their debut season nonetheless. We can only hope they can continue the momentum into next season. This could be one of the up and coming mixed doubles teams to watch out for.



#TEAMUPSET OF THE YEAR - MALE

2019 Winner: Team Scott McDonald

Nominees: Team Dunnam, Team Harty, Team V. Roberge, Team R. Whyte

And the #GoldenGranite goes to: Team V. Roberge

Transition. A common discussion in the curling world is how a junior curling will transition from the junior game to the men's game. Will they still find success? How long will it take for them to find success? Or will they even survive the transition? Welcome Quebec's Vincent Roberge! Roberge is a two-time Quebec junior champion (2017, 2019). At the 2019 Canadian Junior Curling Championships, Roberge qualified for the Championship Pool and finished T5th overall. Not to mention he played a light men's tour schedule last year with strong results, reaching #wct finals in each of their 3 events and winning two titles (with a slightly different team than his junior team). Last year his men's started opening the door. This season they busted through and put the curling world on notice. They played a stronger men's tour schedule this season, entering 6 events. How many finals did they make? 5. How many titles did they win? 3. Heading into the Quebec Tankard their overall record from October 2019 - January 2020 was 27-7, an astonishing .794 winning percentage. The young team reached the Quebec men's final with a 9-1 event record before coming up short in a 7-2 loss to Team Bedard. And this was their first full season competing on the men's tour. We have seen strong teams emerge out of Quebec in the past with the likes of Guy Hemmings, Jean-Michel Menard, Martin Crete and, recently, Michael Fournier. But the future may just be the now with Vincent Roberge. Transition? Forget questioning transition. This team is talking about the next key word in Quebec curling: Succession! And what a way to do so with the recent announcement of adding Eric Sylvain as their new coach. Sylvain has won a Brier (2006 with Menard), a world silver medal and has represented Quebec at 12 Briers overall. Pressure will be on next season to avoid the sophomore slump but Roberge seems ready to continue making a move up the mountain, ending this season in the Top 30 and looking to go higher.


UNDERACHIEVER TEAM OF THE YEAR - FEMALE

2019 Winner: Team Jamie Sinclair

Nominees: Team Clark-Rouire, Team S. Jackson, Team K. Jones, Team Scheidegger

And the #GoldenGranite goes to: Team Clark-Rouire


This was a tough award to hand out. If you follow the blog you know I have a soft spot in my heart for #TeamJCR. We are initial buddies. But the awards committee also must be objective and let the results speak for themselves. It was a tough season for the JCR team. A year ago the team entered 7 #wct events, qualified in 6, reached 2 finals and won 1 title. Fast forward to this season and the stats falter off. The team entered 8 events, qualified in 4 and failed to reach a final. And they were only able to pick up 1 win at the Manitoba Scotties. The end result was a sub-.500 record overall (22-26) compared to the .725 win percentage the season prior (29-20). They entered the season ranked #27 on the Power Rankings and finished the year just outside the Top 100. The big difference? How they performed against their provincial counterparts. Last year the team had a strong 23-17 record vs. MB teams. This year? 12-16. We do not fault teams for sticking close to home and playing provincial events. It is a smart way to earn points, familiarize yourself with your opposition and try to build momentum towards a provincial championship run. However, if you are not beating those rival teams your ranking, and perhaps your confidence, will take a tumble. Of course there is a small silver lining for skipper Jennifer Clark-Rouire as she was the alternate on the 2020 Scotties champion Team Einarson. But I am not sure if that is a consolation prize the rest of the team, including her, was hoping for this season. We have seen teams win this award one season and bounce back the next *ahem Jamie Sinclair ahem*. The talent is still there for this team to be a challenger within Manitoba. And there will be a change at lead remember. Rachel Burtnyk is take a curling hiatus and the team will welcome Janelle Vachon to the fold. Next season will show which of the past two seasons was the anomaly.


#TEAMUPSET OF THE YEAR - NATION


2019 Winner: Estonia

Nominees: Germany, Hungary, Italy, Turkey

And the #GoldenGranite goes to: Turkey

The Republic of Turkey enjoyed a surprise rise in the curling world this past season. The transcontinental country moved from a Top 25 final #PowerRanking position last year to a Top 20 final position this year. The movement of 5 spots may not feel like a #TeamUpset but when you consider they are competing against a plethora of strong European nations on a regular basis, their movement this season is a great result. The men's and women's teams enjoyed strong European Curling Championship results in Sweden last November, While competing in the Euro B-division, both teams reached the playoff round. The women reached the B-division final, claiming a silver medal and earning promotion to the Euro A-division for next season. The result also qualified the women's team for the 2020 World Qualification Event, where they would just miss out on a world championship spot finishing with a bronze medal. The men lost a tough Euro B-division bronze medal match, just missing out on a chance to compete at #WQE2020 as well. Not to mention the Turkish mixed team, comprised of both men's and women's team skips, reached the Sweet 16 at the season opening World Mixed Curling Championship. Turkey will enter next season with strong momentum as both men's and women's team continue to climb the Euro table while closing in on world championship spots while the mixed and mixed doubles teams continue to be #TeamUpset threats on the world scene. Tebrikler Turkiye!



UNDERACHIEVER TEAM OF THE YEAR - MALE

2019 Winner: Team Reid Carruthers

Nominees: Team Calvert, Team Glukhov, Team McDonald, Team Ulsrud

And the #GoldenGranite goes to: Team Ulsrud

Photo Cred: Rune Bendiksen
When the announcement was made in the off-season of Thomas Ulsrud and Steffen Walstad joining forces there was a sense of excitement on the ice in Norway. Could this be the new "Super Team" out of the Scandinavian nation? We all remember the #TeamUpset result, at the time, of 2017 when Walstad skipped his team to a victory over perennial powerhouse Ulsrud in the Norwegian championship. It was Walstad's coming out moment for the men's game after finding main success in the doubles game up to that point. Walstad would also win the 2018 national title and put his slider on the ice as not the future of Norway curling but the present. Ulsrud took the natural response last year: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. He asked Walstad to join forces and the new super team was formed. And then this season happened. A super team they were not. The expected results just did not follow. They qualified in only 3 of 7 tour events. They did reach 2 finals and did pick up a #wct title (Bern) but they were not looking like the world championship threat people were expecting. We put an asterisk perhaps next to the Euro Championship finish. We do not need to rehash that incident. But they were then upset in the finals of the Norwegian Championship to #NextGen star Magnus Ramsfjell. The team was scheduled to represent Norway at the 2020 World Men's Curling Championship. Who knows what the result would have been there. But one would have to guess, based on the recent announcement of Walstad leaving the team, the end result for this team was written in ice regardless. Ulsrud went back to the drawing board, inviting former teammate Torger Nergaard back to the team. Walstad has yet to make an announcement on his curling future. Either way, the joined alliance proved to be a bust.

1 comment:

  1. Good choice for underachiever team, but the most baffling to me is still Team Edin. Yes, they won World's in 2018 and 2019 and silver and gold at the ECC in 2018 and 2019, but they have only won one other international tournament since a fairly successful 2017-18 season. Wildly floppping in several events. If they weren't gunning for the 2022 Olympics I don't think they'd last much longer in this configuration past that date.

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