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Homan, Canadian team ready for world championship

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The Canadian Press
3/15/2013 4:58:37 PM
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RIGA, Latvia -- Canadian skip Rachel Homan took a few pictures shortly after stepping into the playing area on the eve of her first world women's curling championship appearance Friday.

She then raised a hand to her mouth to stifle a yawn. You can't blame her for feeling a little tired.

Homan and her rink from the Ottawa Curling Club were hamstrung by a blast of winter weather that forced an extended layover on their trip to Latvia this week. They were stuck in the Frankfurt airport for over 30 hours after a dumping of snow forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights across Europe.

"It builds character I guess," said Canadian third Emma Miskew. "We sucked it up and we got through the whole airport experience. It feels nice to get here.

"I appreciate a bed a lot more now."

The Canadians arrived in Germany on Tuesday morning and planned to catch a connecting flight to Riga. Instead, a series of cancellations and postponements forced them to wait.

With city hotels all booked, the Canadians were left with no option but to settle into a quiet corner of the terminal. They killed time by checking out the retail outlets, chatting and playing cards.

"The terminal we were in didn't have a ton of stuff to do, so we did a lot of browsing through the same stores not expecting to find anything new," Miskew said with a laugh.

When night time rolled around, the players curled up on benches to get some rest. Each player used a travel cushion as a pillow.

"We all had three seats to lay across and get a few hours of sleep," said team alternate Stephanie LeDrew.

They finally boarded a mid-afternoon flight Wednesday and were pleased that all of their luggage and equipment made it as well. Homan and crew practised at a local rink Thursday and had some badly needed massage therapy work done.

They were feeling much better at Friday's practice session after two straight nights of quality sleep.

"It's a good test for your team dynamics," LeDrew said. "If you can get through that kind of experience as a team and come out the other end smiling, then you're doing well.

"You can get through a couple of hiccups on the ice."

Homan will open against Eve Muirhead of Scotland on Saturday at the Volvo Sports Center. Round-robin play will continue through Thursday with the medal games set for March 24.

Homan, Miskew, second Alison Kreviazuk and lead Lisa Weagle won their first Canadian title last month in Kingston, Ont., by defeating Manitoba's Jennifer Jones in the gold-medal game at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

"We're just going to keep playing with our strategy that's been working for us through the whole way here," Homan said. "Just stick with our game plan, no matter what team we're playing. It doesn't matter what country it is."

Homan, who won a silver medal at the 2010 world junior championships, will attempt to give Canada its first world women's title since Jones won in 2008.

Edmonton skip Heather Nedohin finished third at last year's world championship in Lethbridge, Alta. Switzerland's Mirjam Ott beat Margaretha Sigfridsson of Sweden for the 2012 title.

Sigfridsson is back in the 12-team field this year along with two-time world champ Andrea Schopp of Germany, 2009 world champion Bingyu Wang of China and reigning European champion Anna Sidorova of Russia.

The field is rounded out by Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland, Lene Nielsen of Denmark, Diana Gaspari of Italy, Satsuki Fujisawa of Japan, Iveta Stasa-Satsune of Latvia and Erika Brown of the United States.

The tournament will be the last chance for countries to gather qualifying points to make the field for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

Canada has already locked up a spot in the Olympic tournament. The Canadian representative will be determined at the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings in Winnipeg this December.

Rachel Homan (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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