|Plenty of local support (Photo USCA)|
8 Dec 2014 – The harsh reality of the World Curling Federation's updated world rankings hit home for New Zealand's Curling teams at the just-completed US Curling Grand Prix.
The made-for-TV event featured Men's and Women's rinks from the USA, China, Japan, and New Zealand competing at Minnesota's Fogerty Arena, home of the Four Seasons Curling Club.
The Kiwi sides were the lowest-ranked there, and both finished true to their rankings at the tail of the field – but there were some encouraging moments in their tournament. The Chinese sides, both highest-ranked at 5th in the world, won both events.
The NZ Men started with an extra-end win against Pacific-Asia champions Japan, and this proved to be their only success of the weekend.
Their next game against the host USA side was locked up after 6 ends, but a bad 7th end let down the NZ side. They were well beaten in their next 3 games before losing 6-4 to China in their last match.
The NZ Women lost all 6 of their matches, but were heartened by pushing the winning Chinese to last stone in both of their encounters.
Kiwis to play in US Curling Grand Prix
2 Dec 2014 – New Zealand curling teams are heading to USA Curling's National Training Center in Blaine, Minnesota to play in a made-for-TV international curling event this weekend.
The U.S. Curling Grand Prix will feature Men's and Women's rinks from the USA, China, Japan, and New Zealand competing at Fogerty Arena, home of the Four Seasons Curling Club, in a double round robin.
Six episodes from the event will be featured on NBCSN in the USA next year in a "Curling Night in America" series.
World Curling TV will produce the coverage for NBCSN. The NZ Curling Association is working with WCF (the CNIA rights co-holder) to have the New Zealand games broadcast in NZ.
NZ Women's skip Chelsea Farley was looking forward to the experience. "We're feeling confident following a positive PACC in Japan with several close results," she said. "We feel we improved throughout the competition and are hoping to carry that into the Curling Night in America event! We learned a lot in Karuizawa about our strengths and weaknesses as a team, and have a strategy we are confident we can execute well."
Just as enthusiastic was 2006 Olympian Hans Frauenlob, who will be returning to skip the NZ Men's side for this event. "I think it's brilliant that the USCA has created this event," he said.
"It will be shown on NBC Sports Network, and so will really promote curling in the USA, which is such an important market for our sport. It's an honour for New Zealand to be invited to compete in this event, and our team is really looking forward to it. We know the competition is going to be very tough, but we're ready to give them a scrap!"
He added, "It's always a shock to the system to go from a beautiful New Zealand summer to a Minnesota winter though!"
The host club were looking forward to the new tournament. "On the heels of record viewership for curling during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, hosting the first made-for-TV curling series at our facility is a very exciting venture," said John Benton, director of curling operations at Fogerty Arena. "Our hope is that the event can showcase our world-class facility and attract even more people to our favorite sport."
|Men:||Jialiang Zang, Dejia Zou, Dexin Ba, Qiang Zou, Jinbo Wang|
|Women:||Sijia Liu, Jinli Liu, Xinna Yu, Rui Wang, Jie Mei|
|Men:||Yusuke Morozumi, Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, Tetsuro Shimizu, Kosuke Morozumi|
|Women:||Ayumi Ogasawara, Sayaka Yoshimura, Kaho Onodera, Anna Ohmiya, Yumie Funayama|
|Men:||Hans Frauenlob, Dan Mustapic, Scott Becker, Warren Dobson|
|Women:||Chelsea Farley, Thivya Jeyaranjan, Tessa Farley, Eleanor Adviento|
|Men:||Heath McCormick, Chris Plys, Joe Polo, Colin Hufman, Ryan Brunt. Coach Pete Fenson|
|Women:||Nina Roth, Jamie Sinclair, Becca Hamilton, Tabitha Peterson, Aileen Sormunen. Coach Ann Swisshelm|