The Red Deer Curling Classic features top-tier talent every year from all over the world.
Including some teams, most curling fans have grown accustomed to hearing about such as Team Matt Dunstone, Team Brendan Bottcher, and Team Kaitlyn Lawes.
But competing in Red Deer for the first time is the number 11 world-ranked men’s Team Korey Dropkin from the United States.
“We’re pretty happy to get here. It’s a beautiful club,” Dropkin said. “Rarely ever do you see a 12-sheet curling club so it’s pretty cool to have so many games so much action here… It’s pretty darn cool to be here and experience what Red Deer has to offer.”
Dropkin is joined by fellow American teammates Andrew Stopera, Mark Fenner, and Thomas Howell. On Friday afternoon they played Canadians Team Ryan Jacques and lost 9-8 in extra ends.
“It’s not easy when you get down six nil to begin any game. It’s not where you want to be but I’m pretty proud of the guys for sticking with it and battling back… It’s nice to get our feet wet with this ice here,” he said. “I’m sure every sheet is a little bit different too so we’re pretty happy to be in a situation where we can go out and grind the next one and every game matters here.”
This season for Dropkin’s team has been all about chasing World Curling Tour points, which determine the world rankings. Since they’re ranked 11th they’re 660 points from the world’s number one team Gosgens out of the Netherlands.
“We’re trying to battle to become a regular [Grand Slam of Curling] team. We started early going over to Europe with the purpose of trying to get into our first slam and we achieved that goal… A lot of it is continuing to chase points but also continuing to get great games,” he said.
Howell, Fenner, and Dropkin have all played together for approximately 16 years but the team has seen a few changes over time. Despite that, they’ve developed a chemistry that has helped them climb the rankings and be regarded as one of the top teams in the world.
He added it’s always fun to be a part of an event with so many of the top curling teams and it’s important to know they can compete against them as well. They travel to Canada roughly two to three times a month outside of a few bonspiels in the U.S.
“In order to be the best you’ve got to compete against the best and you’re going to find all the best competing up here in Canada,” he added.
The 2022 Red Deer Curling Classic will continue throughout the weekend with the championship final on Monday at 3:30 p.m.