Sweden tops Canada in final of World Men’s Curling Championship in Victoria

Sweden’s Niklas Edin claimed the 2013 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship on Sunday, defeating Canada’s Brad Jacobs 8-6 in the final at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

Edin and his rink of third Sebastian Kraupp, second Fredrik Lindberg and lead Viktor Kjall becomes the first Swedish rink to claim a men’s world title since 2004 when Peja Lindholm, now the national team coach, defeated Sebastian Stock of Germany.

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It’s also the first European team to sweep the Euro and world championship in the same season.

Edin, 27, recorded deuces in the first, third and eighth ends as he controlled the game and had Jacobs and his rink of third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden and lead Ryan Harnden chasing all afternoon. Edin did dodge a bullet in the first end, which was shaping up to be a force of one.

“It’s been a wonderful week — the final we played here, it was almost perfect,” said an elated Edin. “We executed our game plan perfectly and I’m so proud of my team.

“I think the key moment was the second deuce we got in the third end with the small tap. If they steal one there and get back to 2-2, it’s a totally different game. Once we got to 4-1, we felt comfortable. Although we let them get back, we were always ahead in the game.”

The Jacobs crew fell short of pulling off three straight wins in the Page Playoff system, as they had to win the Brier in Edmonton last month and qualify for worlds.

Sunday’s loss ended a run of three straight world men’s titles for Canada.

It was the seventh time the two nations have met in a men’s worlds final, with Canada winning four.

The most recent Canada-Sweden showdown was in 2000 at Glasgow, when B.C.’s Greg McAulay defeated Lindholm for the gold medal.

“I’m proud of the guys,” said Jacobs. “This was such an amazing experience for us. We were just on the wrong side of the inch in that game, and that happens sometimes."

Jacobs struggled slightly in the final, curling 75 per cent.

“You know what?” he said. “We’re going to hold our heads high. We fought as hard as we could. Congratulations to Sweden — they played awesome.”

Edin — who won the Victoria Curling Classic here exactly two weeks ago — was also recognized as the Colin Campbell memorial award winner, voted upon by the curlers for playing ability and sportsmanship.

His team finished fourth at the 2010 Olympics and has made a charge the last few years, with the hard work finally paying off this season.

“We played in the last Olympics, and our main goal was to get to the next Olympics and maybe grab a medal there,” Edin said. “After the [2010] Olympics, we set up a goal to win the Europeans and worlds. Three years later, we’ve won both and it feels amazing.

“The plan was there all the way. We struggled a little this season, but putting it all together in this world championship feels amazing.”

The game was played before a crowd of 5,340 fans, which pushed the total to 60,382 for the nine-day event. Organizers were pleased with the final weekend attendances and admitted Sunday that they are going to sit down and discuss the possibility of bringing a Brier to Victoria.

“That’s the natural [event] that we would look at in this community,” co-chairman Chris Atchison said. “We’ll take some time to reflect on what we did well this time and what we need do better. I think in terms of a natural progression of events, absolutely, that would be the next thing to go after.

“We would need to make sure all our partners are in place, including the Canadian Curling Association. There needs to be buy-in from them. There needs to be buy-in from the province of British Columbia and City of Victoria, primarily, and then we work from there with the rest of our sponsors.”

The 2014 Brier will be held in Kamloops so it would be several years before it returns to B.C., but Atchison said he hopes the capital could see it within the decade.

mannicchiarico@timescolonist.com

Twitter/tc_vicsorts

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