Nolan Thiessen had one of the most hectic 10 days of his life after he won the Brier in Kamloops on March 9.
The 33-year-old former Brandonite and the rest of his Alberta-based team skipped by Kevin Koe had a couple days to prepare for the Syncrude National bonspiel in Fort McMurray, Alta., while trying to get their trip to the world men’s curling championship in China organized.
Thiessen, Koe and third Pat Simmons had to get their visas in order for themselves and their family so they could leave for China last Sunday, which gave them a couple days to adjust to the time change and to do some sightseeing with their families before the event begins this Saturday.
"It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to go to China," Thiessen said before flying out. "We probably never would plan to go to China on our own. To have this opportunity to go there, we’re going to see some of the sights and experience that and get the family comfortable. Once we’re over there for a few days and seeing the sights and knowing which restaurants are good and which ones to stay away from and get everyone comfortable and settled in so that once we start curling we can concentrate on that and winning a world title."
The timing of the trip was ideal as Thiessen’s kids are on their spring break from school, so they won’t miss many classes.
Once the competition starts this weekend, however, the players will be focused on their games. This a chance for Thiessen to win a second world title after also winning one back in 2010 with Koe, and he doesn’t want to come up short.
"I think we’ve proven in the last eight years that we’re one of the top five teams in the world," he said. "To go over there, I know everybody gets up to play Canada, so we’re going to get a lot of good games from teams. But I know that at the end of the day, we’re one of the best teams there and we should be there in the final weekend and hopefully we come to play well then and stand on the podium at the end of the week."
Thiessen believes the key to having success is finding good restaurants and getting into their routines of eating, sleeping and curling during the week.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Press reported that Kevin Martin’s front end of Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert will be joining the Koe team next season. There wasn’t any immediate word on what Thiessen’s plan is for next year.
JUNIORS: Carberry native Braden Calvert and Quinn Robins’ Rivers-based teams are in Gimli this weekend to compete for a berth at next year’s junior men’s provincials.
EXTRA ENDS: Former Brandonite and Olympic gold medallist Jill Officer will be at the Shoppers Mall on April 5 from 1-2 p.m. … The Souris Survivor bonspiel starts on Tuesday and runs through to April 6.