A trib­ute to Shorty

Nor­way’s Team Ul­srud made sure to pack the pink pants for trip to Corn­wall

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - SPORTS - KEVIN GOULD

The Shorty started in style, Thomas Ul­srud and his team from Nor­way made sure of that.

The Ul­srud rink beat Swe­den’s Nik­las Edin 7-5 in one of two open­ing matches to start the AMJ Camp­bell Shorty Jenk­ins Clas­sic at the Corn­wall Curl­ing Cen­tre. They also won some fash­ion points, with those bright pink pants.

“A trib­ute to Shorty,” said Ul­srud, whose team is known for its colour­ful at­tire. “We’ve got like a hun­dred dif­fer­ent pants, so of course we had to go with the pink.”

It was a favourite colour of the late Shorty Jenk­ins.

Tough as­sign­ment to start the event for Ul­srud, fac­ing Edin — the sil­ver medal­ist at this year’s world cham­pi­onships, and a two-time win­ner of the cov­eted ti­tle.

“We’re ac­tu­ally good friends, and we only live a few hours from each other,” said Ul­srud.

They had played four pre­vi­ous times, split­ting the games. “So, I guess this puts us one ahead,” said Ul­strud, whose team is in Corn­wall — and Canada — for a very brief time.

“We came here just for this,” said Ul­srud. “We de­cided we wanted to play the Shorty. We heard so much about the city, and the ice, we de­cided we had to come and play it.” So far so good then. “Any­time you can play Nik­las Edin and win, that’s a good thing,” said Ul­srud.

It’s right back to Nor­way af­ter the Shorty for the Ul­srud rink, which also con­sists of third Torger Ner­gaard, sec­ond Christof­fer Svae and lead Haavard Vad Peters­son.

Team Ul­srud is one of two en­tries from Nor­way at the Shorty — St­ef­fen Wal­stad is the other.

A trip to Switzer­land is up next for the Ul­srud rink.

“It’s Olympic sea­son, so it’s a lit­tle busier than usual,” said Ul­srud.

He’s rep­re­sented his coun­try in two Olympics, win­ning a sil­ver medal in 2010 in Van­cou­ver. He’s hop­ing for a third trip.

“We don’t have play­downs or any­thing like that. They (na­tional curl­ing as­so­ci­a­tion) de­cide who goes and we’ve been told one team will go to the World Cham­pi­onships, the other to the Olympics,” said Ul­srud.

The Wal­stad rink would be “the other” and Ul­srud knows which event he’d rather at­tend.

“Olympics, by a mile,” he said. “Even if they play the World Cham­pi­onships in Ve­gas, I don’t care.”

The 2018 men’s World Curl­ing Cham­pi­onships are in­deed be­ing held in Ve­gas, from March 31 to April 8.

“They can have Ve­gas, I’ll take the Olympics,” said Ul­srud, whose team has been to­gether for 10 years.

This is the third year for the Shorty in Corn­wall, af­ter mov­ing to the city fol­low­ing a long stint in Brockville.

There are 10 coun­tries rep­re­sented at the event, with teams from Canada, the United States, Switzer­land, Swe­den, China, Ja­pan, Italy, Scot­land, Nor­way and the Nether­lands.

There are 24 men’s teams at the Shorty, and 16 women’s rinks. They’ll be com­pet­ing for a to­tal prize pack­age of about $90,000, which in­cludes $15,000 for the men’s win­ner and $10,000 for the women’s.

Com­pe­ti­tion con­tin­ues all day Fri­day and Satur­day, with quar­ter­fi­nals, semi­fi­nals and fi­nals on Sun­day. The fi­nals take place at 3 p.m.

Fans can also watch the ac­tion out­side, from the World Fi­nan­cial Group tent. Co­geco will broad­cast the ac­tion from sheet five through­out the event, show­ing it in the tent.

KEVIN GOULD/CORN­WALL STAN­DARD-FREE­HOLDER

Lead Haavard Vad Peters­son of Team Ul­srud from Nor­way makes the shot, dur­ing Shorty Jenk­ins ac­tion at the Corn­wall Curl­ing Cen­tre on Thurs­day. At left is sec­ond Christof­fer Svae, with third Torger Ner­gaard at right.

Thomas Ul­srud

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