Hoping third time’s the charm for Team Einarson at World Women’s Curling Championship – Winnipeg |

In the world of curling, Team Kerri Einarson has been there before. Twice as a matter of fact.

After failing to make the semifinal round of the 2021 World Women’s Curling Championship – behind closed doors at the Markin MacPhail Centre at Olympic Park in Calgary because of COVID restrictions, and then capturing the bronze medal at the 2022 event in Prince George, B.C. – the four-time Scotties Tournament of Hearts Champions from the Gimli Curling Club are preparing to take that next step.

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And that third attempt at winning a title for lead Briane Harris, second Shannon Birchard, third Val Sweeting and skip Kerri Einarson – as well as fifth Krysten Karwacki and coach Reid Carruthers – begins Saturday, March 18 at the 2023 World Women’s Curling Championship in Sandviken, Sweden. The team won their fourth consecutive Scotties Tournament of Hearts Championship with a 9-5 victory over Jennifer Jones in the final at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, B.C.

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“Our number one goal is to bring gold back to Canada,” said Einarson during a media Zoom call following a Friday morning practice at the Fort Rouge Curling Club in Winnipeg.

“We have some unfinished business to take care of so we’re going to focus on taking it one game at a time.”

Einarson said she actually had a Facebook memory of being in that same spot three years ago, when the onset of the pandemic forced a last-minute cancellation of the 2020 Worlds in Prince George.

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“When we got the phone call we were pretty upset. I had quite a few tears and felt very angry,” recalled the 35-year-old from Gimli, Man. “But now having this opportunity it’s absolutely an amazing feeling and it’s nice to know that COVID’s behind us now.”

Click to play video: 'Kerri Einaron’s team achieves four-peat title win in Canadian women’s curling'

Kerri Einaron’s team achieves four-peat title win in Canadian women’s curling

After playing on home ice for the two most recent World Women’s Curling Championships, Team Canada is looking forward to making the trip overseas for the 2023 tournament. Although Sweeting admits, aside from a quick conversation with Curling Canada Director of Media Relations and Communications Al Cameron, Team Einarson is heading into unfamiliar territory.

“Al told us that (Sweden is) kind of like northern Alberta, so I’ll probably feel right at home,” said the 35-year-old Sweeting with a chuckle because home is the hamlet of Lottie Lake, about 140 kilometres northeast of Edmonton. “We’re really excited to explore the country. I think it’s the first trip there for all of us so it will be really cool to experience that together. I think we might have some time for the first little bit to see around.”

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Team Einarson leaves for Sandviken, about a two-hour drive north of Stockholm, on Sunday to get acclimated to the new surroundings. It’s seven-hour time change from Winnipeg; eight hours for Sweeting and fellow Albertan Renee Sonnenberg of Grande Prairie who will be part of the support staff as the analytics lead for Curling Canada.

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“I’ve spent a lot of time with this Team Canada. Reid and I have an incredible working relationship. There’s lots of trust there,” said Sonnenberg, a two-time former Alberta junior champ and also a math teacher in addition to her duties with the national curling program’s high performance staff.

“I’ve been preparing for this championship all year for whoever Team Canada was going to be. Watching video, scouting opposition – looking for tactics that they employ. I’ve watched every team at least three times, so we have a good sense going in. And I know (Team Einarson) very well.”

Team Canada will meet an opponent they know well – the host country’s Team Sweden skipped by Anna Hassalborg – in their opening game next Saturday at noon CT. “It’s going to be exciting, it’s going to bring energy and whatnot,” said Sweeting in anticipation of the rematch of the 2022 bronze medal final – won 8-7 in an extra end by Team Einarson. “We’re really well prepared for it.”

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Coach Reid Carruthers feels the addition of Sonnenberg to the group will only help on the preparation front.

“I don’t have the support when we’re at the Scotties and I feel like with Krysten and I behind the bench, we’re able to do a certain amount of duties and jobs and responsibilities,” said the veteran curler who just finished competing at the 2023 Brier in London, Ont.

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“You throw in someone like (Sonnenberg) to help us with that scouting and preparation – we have everything we need to get the job done,” Carruthers said.

And as Einarson stated rather specifically, getting the job done will be ending the reign of three-time champion Sylvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland (2019, 2021, 2022) and bringing home Canada’s first World Women’s Curling title since fellow Manitoban Jennifer Jones won in 2018 in North Bay, Ont.

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