Skip Chelsea Carey leads Canadian team at women's world curling playdowns

Chelsea Carey will soon begin her quest to give Canada a rare three-peat at the women's world curling championship.

The Calgary skip leads her team of third Sarah Wilkes, second Dana Ferguson and lead Rachel Brown in the March 16-24 competition in Silkeborg, Denmark. Carey is coming off a dramatic comeback victory over Rachel Homan in the final of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts last month in Sydney, N.S.

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Homan won the 2017 world title in Beijing and Jennifer Jones was victorious last year in North Bay, Ont.

It's Carey second appearance at the competition and the first for Wilkes, Ferguson and Brown. Carey, who settled for a fourth-place finish in 2016 at Swift Current, Sask., will open against South Korea's Min-ji Kim on Saturday.

"I can't put into words what an honour it is to wear the Maple Leaf," Carey said. "It's the best and most humbling, incredible experience I've ever had in my life. I can't believe I'm lucky enough to get to do it again. I'm just beyond words."

Kim, who won World Cup gold in Sweden last month, is making her women's worlds debut after four straight appearances at the world junior championships. Carey will face Germany's Daniela Jentsch and Latvia's Iveta Stasa-Sarsune on Sunday.

Joining Carey as event headliners are Olympic champion Anna Hasselborg of Sweden, American Jamie Sinclair and Switzerland's Silvana Tirinzoni.

Rounding out the field are China's Rui Wang, Denmark's Madeleine Dupont, Finland's Oona Kauste, Japan's Seina Nakajima, Russia's Alina Kovaleva and Scotland's Sophie Jackson.

Canada's last extended golden run at the women's world championship was a four-year streak in the mid-1980s.

Connie Laliberte won the 1984 title in Perth, Scotland and Linda Moore followed with gold the next year in Jonkoping, Sweden. Marilyn Bodogh won in '86 in Kelowna, B.C., and Pat Sanders took the '87 crown in Chicago.

Round-robin play continues through March 22 at the 700-seat Silkeborg Sportscenter.

The top six teams will make the playoffs, with the top two seeds earning semifinal berths. The third-place team will play the No. 6 seed in one quarterfinal and the Nos. 4 and 5 teams will meet in the other.

Semifinal winners will play for the gold on March 24 and the semifinal losers will play for bronze earlier in the day.

Carey teamed with Amy Nixon, Jocelyn Peterman and Laine Peters in 2016. Both Homan and Jones ran the table over their wins so Carey's 9-8 loss to Russia's Anna Sidorova in the '16 bronze-medal game was Canada's last defeat at this competition.

The Calgary skip feels more prepared for the experience this time around.

"Your first one is just your first one," Carey said on a recent conference call. "It doesn't matter how many people you talk to. I don't think I could have done anything different for my first world championship. But now having been through it once, it's different.

"It's no different than my second Scotties. Once you go through it once, you kind of have a different level of expectation."

Her current lineup is ranked sixth in the world. Jill Officer is serving as a team alternate and the coaching staff includes Dan Carey and Elaine Dagg-Jackson.

Canada leads all countries with 17 gold medals since the women's world championship was first held in 1979. Sweden is next with eight titles.

Kevin Koe will represent Canada at the March 30-April 7 world men's championship in Lethbridge, Alta. Brad Gushue won silver for Canada last year in Las Vegas.

The next world women's championship will take place March 14-22, 2020 in Prince George, B.C.

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Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

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