READY TO ROCK: World-famous curlers arrive in Cornwall

CORNWALL, Ontario – Who’s who in the curling world has begun to arrive in Cornwall – and they’re ready to rock.

“We’re impressed. We didn’t know what we were coming to,” said David Murdoch, skip of Team Scotland and a silver medalist at the 2014 winter Olympics in Russia. “For us it’s a blank page and you just have to learn quickly. That’s what good teams do.”

Teams from around the globe, the elite of the sport, will begin playing Thursday at the Cornwall Curling Club in the Shorty Jenkins Classic.

The bonspiel is a World Curling Tour event that has been based out of Brockville since its inception, but a technical glitch at that facility forced organizers to move the event to the Seaway City.

A handful of teams, including both the men and women from Scotland, were on the ice Wednesday morning in Cornwall to stretrch their legs and get an idea of the conditions.

South Korea’s female team was practising, as was the men’s team from Switzerland.

“We just got here 10 minuets ago,” lauighed Sven Michel, skip of Team Switzerland. “But it looks like great out here. It’s awesome.”

Michel won a gold medal for Switzerland at the 2013 European championships, and also competed in the 2014 Olympics.

Both skips agreed the competition this weekend will be fierce – much to the delight of local curling fans.

“We’re in a tough group,” said Michel, who begins play at 4 p.m. Thursday against Denis Cordick. “Our goal is to make it to the final. We’ll go hard for that.”

In his thick Scottish brogue Murdoch said teams are trying to improve their curling tour records to compete in slam events on the schedule.

“There’s a lot to play for. The top 15 are trying to be at the slams and we’re on the bubble of that. There’s a lot of teams fighting for that,” he said. “Obviously you want to have some good performances.”

But what about a last-minute switch to Cornwall – a place new to nearly every curler who will play this week.

“Curlers are used to going to different places and experiencing different conditions,” said Murdoch. “For us it’s a blank page and you just have to learn quickly. That’s what good teams do.

“For us it’s the same mentality.”

Draw information for the four-day bonspiel can be found here. The event is open to the public, and tickets can be purchased at the door.

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