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Local curlers looking for back-to-back world championships

Geoff Walker and Team Gushue are in Las Vegas to defend their world men’s curling championship. Ahead of their flight down Tuesday, the Beaverlodge curler said they plan to treat it like any other tournament.

“Obviously having that extra year of experience is always nice when you’re going into an international competition like this, but we’re going to approach it the same way once the first game starts. All the way through we’re going to try to keep to the same routine we usually do.”

The rink booked their ticket to worlds with a repeat Brier win earlier this month. They’re again bringing with them Grande Prairie’s Tom Sallows as an alternate, for what will be his third appearance after last year with Gushue and 2015 with Pat Simmons.

This year’s world championship will be different for Team Canada, as it’s not being held on home ice. While they may not be the crowd favourite, they believe they won’t be far behind in terms of fan support. Lead Walker says that’s largely due to veteran skip Brad Gushue and third Mark Nichols.

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“Early on in Brad and Mark’s career they had some success, obviously going to the Olympics in ’06 and winning and stealing the hearts, I think, of a lot of Canadians; it just sort of followed our team all the way through. It’s unbelievable for a guy like me and Brett [Gallant] to go to these events and kind of have fans at such a young age and sort of early career.

If the team successfully defends its world title, it will be only the fifth team ever to do so. All four others have been Canadian as well. The championship gets underway Saturday, with Gushue first taking the ice at 2:30 p.m. Mountain Time against Russia.

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