After a change in venue and a coronavirus scare, the top female curlers in the world will finally get to play for their countries on Friday, as the 2021 World Women’s Curling Championship begins in Calgary, Alberta.

World Women’s Curling Championship odds
Team Einarson will represent Canada at the World Women’s Curling Championship and comes in as the clear favorite in the tournament. (Image: Mike Cleasby/Grand Slam of Curling)

Initially, the World Curling Federation had awarded the tournament to Schaffhausen, Switzerland, but local officials canceled the event due to COVID-19 protocols in the country.

Calgary bubble steps in to host Women’s Worlds

Canada offered a solution. With Canada Olympic Park already hosting five events in a bubble environment, adding Women’s Worlds emerged as a logical solution. So after the Brier and Scotties, Men’s Worlds, and two Grand Slam tournaments, the World Women’s Curling Championship joined the busy bubble schedule.

Men’s Worlds faced a COVID-19 controversy of its own after false positives delayed the start of the playoff rounds. The women are dealing with a potentially bigger issue, as two members of the German team tested positive for the coronavirus when they arrived in Calgary for the event.

“We want to apologize to our fellow athletes and everyone else involved with the event for the disruption to their preparations and also any worry this situation has caused them,” Germany’s Team Jentsch said in a statement. “We don’t know how this situation occurred or where our players contracted COVID, but we will continue to do everything asked of us by the fantastic medical team here in Calgary in order to safely return to the ice in some capacity.”

Ultimately, all teams – except for Germany – were able to participate in Thursday’s pre-event practices. On Thursday evening, the WCF announced that the three members of Team Germany who didn’t test positive for COVID-19 were medically cleared to play in the World Women’s Curling Championship. The team will compete with three players, provided they continue to test negative throughout the tournament.

Einarson looks to continue bubble success

As for the action on the ice, Canada’s Team Einarson comes in as the clear favorite to win Women’s Worlds. Einarson won the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, as well as the Players’ Championship. They beat Team Homan in each of those finals, and only Homan – who won’t be at Women’s Worlds, as even Canada only gets one representative – managed to knock them out of the Champions Cup in the semifinals.

World Women’s Curling Championship Odds (via Coolbet)
Canada: +140 Sweden: +300
Switzerland: +400 Russian Curling Federation: +800
Scotland: +1000 Korea: +1400
China: +2000 Japan: +2000
USA: +2500 Czech Republic: +6000
Denmark: +8000 Germany: +8000
Italy: +15000 Estonia: +15000

Online sportsbook Coolbet rates Canada as the +140 favorite to win the World Women’s Curling Championship. Canadian second Shannon Birchard says her team just has to keep doing what it’s doing to find success this week.

“I think we’ve just got to keep with our processes, doing small things and keep communication up,” Birchard said, via Sportsnet. “It’s a long stretch here in the bubble and a long stretch with each other, so just make sure we’re doing the right things for ourselves and for each other out there.”

Sweden’s Team Hasselborg and Switzerland’s Team Tirinzoni stand as the biggest threats to Canada. All three teams expect to make the top six. That’s critical both because it means making the playoffs at Women’s Worlds, but also because it guarantees Winter Olympics participation in 2022.

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