Kevin Koe is hoping to lead his top-ranked Canadian team to a gold medal at the 2019 World Men’s Curling Championship in Lethbridge, Canada.
Koe will look to win a world title in front of a home crowd in Alberta, the province his team represented in the Brier earlier this month.
Koe Unfazed by Olympic Disappointment
Last year, Koe’s rink underperformed at the Olympics, failing to medal after losing in both the semifinals and the bronze medal game. Now, with a new team and a new outlook, the hope is that Koe can bring a medal to Canada – even if it isn’t quite as prestigious as an Olympic gold.
“Going back to the Olympics, we put the work in and things just didn’t go our way in the playoffs. We had a decent week…in the playoffs, teams played well against us and unfortunately we didn’t play our best games come the semifinal and the bronze medal game,” Koe told the Postmedia News Service. “That was a different event, different team, so for us, we’re not going to approach it any differently.”
Koe has reason to be confident heading into Worlds. His team is ranked No. 1 in the world, and has made the playoffs at every Grand Slam event this season, even if they have yet to actually win one of those events. Along with winning the Brier, the Koe rink can also boast a win in the first leg of the Curling World Cup.
Those accomplishments have made Canada the team to beat at this year’s World Championships. At Canadian-facing sportsbook SportsInteraction.com, Canada is a +113 favorite to claim its 37th world title, as well as the third for Koe, who has previously won the title in 2010 and 2016.
Sweden Looks to Defend World Title
But while Canada may be the favorite, they are far from the only team that is capable of winning the tournament.
Sweden is represented by three-time world champion Niklas Edin, who is looking to repeat as champion after winning last year’s Worlds. While Edin’s rink hasn’t been winning regularly on tour, they are still the No. 5 ranked squad in the world, and comes into the World Championship as a clear second choice. Sports Interaction has the Swedish team as a +212 second choice to bring home the championship.
One squad that is sure to attract plenty of attention is John Shuster’s team from the United States of America. The Shuster rink shocked the world last year when it won the gold medal at the Winter Olympics.
While Shuster comes in as only the No. 13 team in the world rankings, they have shown the ability to mix it up with the best in the world again this season, winning the second leg of the World Cup series over Edin in the final. While the United States may come into the tournament as a +1400 underdog, few would be surprised to see the American team make a run at a medal.
Also in contention are Bruce Mouat’s team from Scotland (+458), as well as the Peter de Cruz rink from Switzerland (+1000).
The 2019 World Men’s Curling Championship begins on Saturday, with the finals scheduled for April 7.