Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship: Draw 29 - Weagle/Epping 7, Sweeting/Kennedy 5
Two-time world champion Marc Kennedy will join Brendan Bottcher's Team Canada rink as an alternate for the upcoming World Men's Curling Championship, Curling Canada announced on Friday.
Kennedy, who played with Team Brad Jacobs at this year's Tim Hortons Brier and Val Sweeting at the recent Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Championship, will be available to play if third Darren Moulding is forced to the sidelines with his back issues.
Team Bottcher received a scare during the mixed doubles nationals last week when Moulding, 38, and partner Joanne Courtney were forced to pullout of the tournament due to Moulding having back spasms. However, it appears rest and recovery has gone well as Moulding is expected to be ready for the start of the worlds next Friday.
“We are still very optimistic that Darren will be ready to go for Game 1 against Scotland, but having Marc available and ready to jump in at any time during the competition will certainly be a great option for us,” said Bottcher. “Considering how important this World Championship is for Olympic qualifying, we decided as a team, and through talking with national coach Jeff Stoughton, that we needed to make sure that we were as prepared as possible for every eventuality. Marc’s experience speaks for itself, he’s a consummate teammate on and off the ice, and he will be a valuable addition."
This year’s field at the world championships has expanded from 13 to 14 teams as the top six finishers will earn their respective nations a spot at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.
Curling Canada says Moulding will continue to receive treatment leading up to the major tournament.
“I’m making progress, and I’m feeling much better than I was last weekend,” said Moulding. “I’m really hoping to be able to play, but I also know the big picture here, and I’ll do whatever it takes to give our team the best chance of success at the World Championship.”
Kennedy says he's looking forward to the opportunity with Team Bottcher.
“I have a ton of respect for Team Bottcher; their success over the past few years is remarkable, and I look forward to being a part of the team at the World Championship,” said Kennedy. “My preference would be to watch the entire event and see Darren compete at the high level we all know he’s capable of, but I’ll be ready to go if needed to give Team Canada a chance to succeed.”
Bottcher, Moulding and Kennedy will be joined by second Bradley Thiessen, lead Karrick Martin and coach Don Bartlett. Regular alternate Patrick Janssen will remain with the team in a support role.
“We are very excited, too, that Patrick will be part of this journey and we look forward to seeing him on the ice with us for every game alongside Don at the coaching table. He is a crucial piece of the puzzle for us, and he brings a lot to our lineup regardless of whether he plays,” said Bottcher.
Janssen is fully supportive of the decision to bring in Kennedy.
“I couldn’t be more supportive of the team’s decision to bring in Marc; this is a hugely important event for Canadian curling, and I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to remain with the team,” said Janssen. “I’ll be doing whatever I can to make sure all the pieces are in place to help the team succeed at the World Championship.”
The men's worlds run from April 2-11 inside the curling bubble at WinSport Arena in Calgary.