Canadas Kevin Koe is trying his best to avoid distractions and focus on curling as he prepares for the upcoming mens world curling championship. There have been a few challenges for Koe in the leadup to the competition, which opens Saturday at Beijings Capital Indoor Stadium. Chief among them is news that there are changes coming to his rink next season. Koes current lineup features second Carter Rycroft, third Pat Simmons and lead Nolan Thiessen. Rycroft, whose wife is pregnant, has already said hell be taking a year off after this season. Kevin Martin confirmed to The Canadian Press that Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert will be leaving his rink to join Koes team next season. Koe preferred to keep his focus on the world championship and declined to comment on the coming changes. The future plans of Simmons and Thiessen were unclear. It was the first major shakeup in whats expected to be a summer of significant change on the mens curling scene now that the four-year Olympic cycle is complete. The timing is less than ideal for Koe and his teammates. Gerry Peckham, the Canadian Curling Associations high-performance director, expects Koe to be able to lock in on the immediate task before him. "Our analysis of his performance skills and performance attributes would suggest that hes an incredibly focused individual and is seldom distracted by anything external to the game at hand," Peckham said. "I think those teammates have looked in each other in the eye again, squared their shoulders, are shaking each others hands and are now moving on to complete this journey of a world championship." Koe won gold in his only previous appearance at the world championship, taking top spot at the 2010 playdowns in Cortina DAmpezzo, Italy. At this years event, Canada will be a favourite along with Scotland, Sweden, Norway and China. The 12-team field is rounded out by the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Russia, Switzerland and the United States. "Canada used to be known obviously as a big favourite going in all the time but you quickly realize how the gap is changing," Koe said. "Our experience in 2010 was awesome in Italy and it was a great feeling to win. But this is just as important for us. "To get to be two-time world champs would be pretty neat and kind of validate our first win." Koe arrived early in the week so that hed have time to adjust to the 14-hour time change. He was greeted by plenty of smog, heat and humidity. Hes also still getting used to the various culinary options in the Chinese capital. "Its a bit of a culture shock for us," Koe said in a recent interview. "Big difference from what were used to. Obviously a huge city but it will be a great experience." Koe had a strong performance at the Tim Hortons Brier and is enjoying another solid year on the World Curling Tour. Hes third on the money list and fourth in the order of merit standings behind only Olympic champ Brad Jacobs, Howard and Jeff Stoughton. The only change from the 2010 lineup is that Simmons has replaced Blake MacDonald on the Calgary-based rink. "We dont get too excited or too worked up as a team," Koe said. "Were pretty calm. Obviously the experience of being to one (world championship) will help for sure, especially when youre coming to a foreign country where everything is different. "At least we can rely on the experience once we actually get on the ice of knowing weve been to the worlds and we did well last time." Its the first World Curling Federation world championship event to be staged in China. The venue was used for volleyball competition at the 2008 Summer Olympics. The Chinese team skipped by Rui Liu is coming off a fourth-place result at the Sochi Games. Scotlands Ewan MacDonald has three world titles to his name although this is his first appearance as skip. Thomas Ulsrud, who won Olympic silver at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, will skip the Norwegian team. "We know most of these teams and theyre all pretty good," Koe said. "Not too many easy games out there." Swedens Niklas Edin is not back to defend the title he won last year in Victoria. Instead, Oskar Eriksson will skip the Swedish entry. Round-robin play will continue through Thursday evening and tiebreakers will be used if needed to determine the top four teams. The Page playoff system will be used ahead of the medal games on April 6. Koe said the ice conditions in the venue will be a huge factor. "They do have some great icemakers but its really warm here," he said. "Its supposedly pushing 30 (degrees Celsius) here and they had an event in the facility early in the year and there was a lot of problems. But I think theyve brought in some dehumidifiers and air conditioning to cool the arena down. "Thats the big worry here. If the ice is good, I for sure like our chances. Bad ice would be a bit of an equalizer I think. But when you have some of the best icemakers in the world, Im sure theyll get it figured out." Canada has won gold three of the last four years at this event. Stoughton was victorious in 2011 at Regina and Howard won at Basel, Switzerland in 2012. The Canadians are scheduled to open against Denmarks Rasmus Stjerne on Saturday. "You have four very solid, confident, resolved individuals (who are) mentally tough," said Peckham. "I think they realize the significance and the importance of this world championship to themselves individually and as a collective, and then of course representing this curling nation of Canada. "So I think theyve gone out the door with their game face on." The world championship will return to Canada next year as Halifax plays host. Chuck Howley Jersey
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. Langer appeared to be in trouble when his second shot on the par-5 18th ended up in the rough short of the green. He hit a brilliant pitch to 5 feet and made the putt after Slumans birdie attempt rolled just wide.Charlottesville, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - Ralph Sampson was in attendance for Thursday nights ACC showdown between No. 2 Virginia and Georgia Tech, but mightve had mixed feelings. His alma mater is still undefeated following another splendid defensive effort. His son Robert, meanwhile, felt some of the brunt of that stingy Cavaliers Pack Line defense. Malcolm Brogdon had 13 points and four assists as Virginia shut down the Yellow Jackets 57-28 to remain one of two unbeaten teams in the country. Virginia (18-0, 6-0 ACC) held Georgia Tech to just 24.5 percent (12-of-49) shooting from the floor and didnt allow a 3-point basket (0-of-12). The Cavs are off to their best start since 1980-81, when Ralph Sampson helped them win their first 23 games. Marcus Georges-Hunt led the Yellow Jackets (9-9, 0-6) with just seven points. Robert Sampson was 1-of-6 from the field and finished with two points and seven rebounds for Georgia Tech, which is off to its worst start in ACC play since beginning 0-6 during the 2008-09 campaign. Final Score: (3) Gonzaga 68, Saint Marys 47 Spokane, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Pangos had 14 points, Przemek Karnowski scored 12 and No. 3 Gonzaga pulled away down the stretch to blow out Saint Marys 68-47 on Thursday night. Both teams entered the game unbeaten in the West Coast Conference and Gonzaga led just 27-21 at halftime. Pangos scored four points during a 22-2 run in the second half that pushed Gonzagas lead to 23 points with under four minutes remaining. Kyle Wiltjer added 11 points and Domantas Sabonis scored seven with a game-high 13 rebounds for the Bulldogs (19-1, 8-0 WCC), who have won 12 in a row since a 66-63 loss to current No. 7 Arizona in overtime on Dec. 6. Gonzaga, the best shooting team in the country, shot 52.9 percent in the game while the Gaels (15-4, 7-1) shot 36 percent, bringing an end to their nine-game winning streak. Brad Waldow had 14 points to lead St. Marys. Final Score: (7) Arizona 89, Stanford 82 Stanford, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Stanley Johnson had 19 points, Brandon Ashley scored 17 and No. 7 Arizona pulled away in the second half for an 89-82 win over Stanford on Thursday night. Gabe York added 13 points and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 12 for the Wildcats (17-2, 5-1 Pac-12), who have won three in a row to share first place in the conference with No. 12 Utah. Arizona was coming off a 69-51 win over Utaah on Saturday.dddddddddddd Chasson Randle scored 26 points to lead Stanford (13-5, 4-2), which had a three-game winning streak snapped. Anthony Brown added 18 points and nine rebounds and Stefan Nastic scored 10 in the loss. Final Score: (8) Notre Dame 85, Virginia Tech 60 Blacksburg, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - Pat Connaughton made five of Notre Dames 12 3-pointers and the eighth-ranked Fighting Irish cruised to an 85-60 road victory over Virginia Tech on Thursday. Connaughton finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds in the wire-to-wire win for the Irish (18-2, 6-1 ACC), whose only loss in the last 15 games came against No. 2 Virginia. Jerian Grant totaled 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists, Zach Auguste added 16 points and eight boards, and Demetrius Jackson scored 12 in the rout. The Hokies (8-10, 0-5) have been trending the opposite way and dropped their sixth straight overall, though the last three came against ranked opponents. Ahmed Hills 13 points paced Virginia Tech in the absence of leading scorer Justin Bibbs, who sat out a second straight game due to a concussion. Final Score: (23) Indiana 89, (13) Maryland 70 Bloomington, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Yogi Ferrell went 7-of-8 from beyond the arc en route to 24 points as the 23rd-ranked Indiana Hoosiers took down the No. 13 Maryland Terrapins, 89-70, on Thursday. James Blackmon Jr. added 22 points for the Hoosiers (15-4, 5-1 Big Ten), who shot 60 percent from the field and went 15-of-22 from 3-point range. Troy Williams and Collin Hartman tallied 16 and 15 points, respectively, with Williams also pulling down seven rebounds. Jake Layman ended with 13 points for the Terrapins (17-3, 5-2), who had a three-game winning streak snapped. Jared Nickens and Melo Trimble contributed 12 and 10 points, respectively. Final Score: DePaul 64, (24) Seton Hall 60 Newark, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Myke Henry collected 14 points and Billy Garrett posted 13 points and DePaul dispatched No. 24 Seton Hall by a 64-60 count on Thursday. Darrick Wood added 11 points while Rashaun Stimage had 10 points with seven rebounds for the Blue Demons (11-9, 5-2 Big East), who have won two in a row and four of their last six. Angel Delgado poured in 19 points and 19 boards for the Pirates (13-5, 3-3), who have dropped three of four since beating Villanova on Jan. 3. Khadeen Carrington picked up 12 points in a losing cause. Cheap Authentic Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys 2018 Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale Authentic Jerseys Cheap Authentic Jerseys Cheap Authentic Jerseys
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