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Defending world champ Niklas Edin of Sweden feels right at home in Canada


LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — Niklas Edin was about to enjoy a swig of coffee during a mid-game break at the world men's curling championship when he noticed a photographer had stopped to capture the moment.

The brew was from a popular domestic chain. Edin gave the photog a knowing nod and smile before taking a gulp.   

The Swedish skip feels quite comfortable making the most Canadian of poses. It's not a surprise considering how often he's in this country.

"I'm spending 120 to 150 days a year here and I'm closing in on 100 (trips) to Canada now," Edin said Tuesday. "So it definitely feels like a second home."

A regular on the domestic Grand Slam circuit, some of Edin's biggest curling moments have come on Canadian ice.

He made his Olympic debut at the 2010 Vancouver Games and led the first non-Canadian men's team to win a Slam when his crew took the 2016 Masters in Okotoks, Alta.

The 33-year-old from Karlstad also won two of his three world titles in Canada. He beat Canada's Brad Jacobs for the 2013 crown in Victoria and topped Norway's Thomas Ulsrud to win two years later at Halifax.

"I think the championships are the ones you remember the most," Edin said. "The two wins here on Canadian soil — I think it's pretty rare that non-Canadian teams win the worlds in Canada.

"So it's definitely a big confidence boost, especially going into this one knowing that we've won two of them (here)."

Edin settled for world silver against Canada's Brad Gushue in 2017 at Edmonton. He avenged the loss in last year's final at Las Vegas.

The fifth-ranked skip is among the favourites this week at the Enmax Centre. Edin opened with five straight round-robin victories before dropping a 6-5 decision to Scotland's Bruce Mouat on Tuesday morning.

"We're getting easy wins with no (10-end) games until the sixth game," Edin said. "I think pretty much everything is good so far."

Edin's first significant international title also came in Canada. He was 18 when he won the 2004 world junior championship in Trois-Rivieres, Que.

"I don't really remember much from the competition itself but I remember the feeling," he said. "It was a really great feeling. That was kind of the start to my career at least. We were rolling pretty well after that.

"We got a huge confidence boost showing that we could win those big ones."

He's in his third season with the foursome of third Oskar Eriksson, second Rasmus Wrana and lead Christoffer Sungren.

Sweden and Japan's Yuta Matsumura, who needed an extra end to get by South Korea's SooHyuk Kim 8-7, were at 6-1 after evening play.

Canada's Kevin Koe improved to 6-0 after posting a 7-4 win over Germany's Marc Muskatewitz in afternoon play. Koe scored three in the sixth end and ran Muskatewitz out of rocks in the 10th.

Switzerland's Peter De Cruz (6-1) kept pace with the Calgary skip with a 7-4 victory over American John Shuster (4-2) before falling to Edin 9-4 at night for his first loss.

Italy's Joel Retornaz (4-2) dumped Norway's Magnus Ramsfjell 10-4 in morning play, then beat Russia's Sergey Glukhov 5-3 in the night draw. Ramsfjell scored a 9-4 victory over Jaap Van Dorp of the Netherlands (2-4) in the afternoon.

Glukhov defeated China's Qiang Zou 7-1 in the other afternoon game. Scotland was 3-3, Russia is 2-5, China and Norway are 1-5, while Germany is 1-6.

South Korea (0-7) was the lone winless team through Tuesday. Round-robin play continues through Friday night.

The six-team playoffs begin Saturday and the medal games are set for Sunday.


Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press

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