Wednesday, February 25, 2009

China update: CAN in semis

by Paul Webster

HARBIN, China – Our girls team, the Wilfred Laurier team skipped by Hollie Nicol, has secured the top spot in the playoff round (9-0) and will face Great Britain in the semifinal (6-4) of the WUG – the World University Games.

Playing in the other semi are pre-tournament favourites Russia (6-3) and China (7-2).

The GB girls had to win a tiebreaker against the Czech Republic this morning and despite a rough start (down 5-1 after three ends) the ladies from Scotland pulled it off in 10 ends, winning 8-5.

I’m writing this blog as our girls get ready to hit the ice for a 12:00pm practice. It’s an interesting situation as they get to practice on the semifinal sheet but the GB team will not be given this option.

Of course, we haven’t complained.

The girls chose hammer over rocks and we’ll find out soon what rocks they’ll be given.

The Canadian men’s team, the Laurier squad skipped by Mike Anderson, has been relegated to the position of number one fans! They had a disappointing tournament, to choose their own words, finishing in the middle of the pack at 4-5, and definitely struggled to find their A-game all week. I have to say, however, that they have definitely done our country proud in how they represented themselves both on and off the ice. Victories against Great Britain and USA made the tournament result a little sweeter. This is a funny game sometimes.

We met up with the men's team from Great Britain last night in the residence bar and had a few beers – truly only a few, as the supply ran out! Our Canadian men’s hockey team had a table full of empties and really got the jump on us.

It was really cool to sit down with your fellow competitors and talk about the game – any game, any sport. We really don't know how lucky we are in Canada to have a such a strong base of athletes. When people find out that the teams we have sent are our 38th-ranked women’s team and 86th-ranked men’s team, they just shake their heads.

Men’s playoffs: Sweden verus China in the 1 vs 4 game, and Norway vs Korea in the 2 vs 4 match. Sweden has simply been the class of the tournament, and China are the surprise team in the other direction; the y squeaked through a tiebreaker (over Switzerland) after leading the pack the majority of the week.

Both Chinese teams are looking like they are having trouble with the pressure of being the top teams in an event hosted on their home soil.

Today will hold a lot of... shopping. I have been instructed from afar to look for cheap Coach purses... and the girls have promised to help me out.


A&A said...


shelagh said...

Great job that Russ Howard is doing commentating at the Scotts this year.
It is refreshing to hear his views of the players. He keeps everything positive even when they miss. He knows the strengths of these Canadian players and never fails to give us the strategy of the game for every shot.

He surely has outplayed the other 2 commentators at night.

Thanks Russ.