Scratch two big names off the board from the curling free agent frenzy. Laura Walker and Kirk Muyres will be “fully focused” on the mixed doubles discipline over the next quadrennial as they aim to represent Canada at the 2026 Milan Olympics.
Scratch two big names off the board from the curling free agent frenzy.
Laura Walker and Kirk Muyres will be “fully focused” on the mixed doubles discipline over the next quadrennial as they aim to represent Canada at the 2026 Milan Olympics.
“Ultimately, I had a hard time getting excited about anything other than mixed doubles with Kirk,” Walker said. “When he decided to take the same path, he felt good.”
Walker’s four-man squad announced last week that the players would part ways next season. Muyres, who plays second to Matt Dunstone, was in a similar position after his side announced this campaign would be his last.
“We always had fun and we always joked, ‘Why don’t we just play this? ‘” Walker said of mixed doubles. “Every time we go out, we have so much fun, and we finally pulled the plug.”
Walker and Muyres were both national team championship regulars, but neither player reached the top step of the podium.
However, they won a Canadian title in the 2018 mixed doubles qualifiers and won world bronze later that year. Walker and Muyres also won national silver in the discipline in 2016 and added bronze in 2019.
“We have noticed a transition in mixed play over the past two years and a need for increased focus and commitment if we are to be the best in the world,” Muyres said in a statement.
“We are thrilled to now be able to make a commitment to work to be the best we can in mixed doubles and help Canada win on the world stage.”
Canada did not make the podium at last year’s world championship and missed the playoffs completely at the recent Beijing Olympics.
Walker and Muyres are ranked 11th in Canada.
“To be honest, it’s a little scary to make a commitment like this,” Walker said. “There’s still not that much money in the mixed doubles game. There’s not that much support and exposure.
“I think maybe we’re hoping to be part of a change in that regard. I think we’re pretty happy with where we’ve ended up.”
Spain will replace Russia’s entry into the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship next month.
The World Curling Federation Board of Directors recently withdrew registrations from the Russian Curling Federation for the remainder of the season.
China has also withdrawn from the April 23-30 qualifiers in Geneva due to ongoing travel restrictions related to COVID-19, the WCF said in a statement on Wednesday.
Like Spain, Denmark were given the green light to fill the vacancy as the previously unqualified top-ranked team.
Scotland will replace Russia in women’s competition at the World Junior Curling Championships May 15-22 in Jonkoping, Sweden. South Korea will be the alternate team in the men’s draw.
GUSHUE RECEIVES AN APOLOGY
The hosts of the ‘Inside Curling’ podcast have apologized for comments suggesting Brier champion Brad Gushue was trying to ‘convince’ Curling Canada to change its residency rule to benefit his team.
“It turned out to be a bit incorrect in that I seemed to suggest that it was Brad trying to do this just for himself,” co-host Warren Hansen said in the episode. from this week. “And no, he’s trying to change it for the whole sport of curling and I think most of the best players in the game are.
“So if that came out incorrectly, we apologize, but that wasn’t what we meant.”
On last Friday’s episode, Hansen and co-host Kevin Martin mentioned Team Gushue’s addition of EJ Harnden as a replacement and Brett Gallant’s second plan to leave the team at the end of the season. season.
Martin said the team were trying to reclaim Harnden as second, but the federation’s residency rule limiting teams to one imported player was a problem.
“Brad, I think now, is trying to convince Curling Canada to adjust the rule to do something for them on their behalf,” Hansen said on the podcast. “But to some extent that’s a problem.”
In a weekend interview with The Canadian Press, Gushue said it was “completely inaccurate, reckless and stupid for them to say that because it’s not the case at all.”
Gushue added that his only interaction with Curling Canada came “months ago” when he asked about future plans for the residency rule. At no time did he pressure or push for a change, he said, adding that his team “will follow the residency rules, whatever they are.”
The Gushue team is gearing up for the upcoming World Men’s Curling Championship in Las Vegas.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on March 23, 2022.
Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.
Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press