Norwegian rink makes fashion statement

Skip Thomas Ulsrud of Norway watches his rock during the opening draw on Wednesday evening at the...

Skip Thomas Ulsrud of Norway watches his rock during the opening draw on Wednesday evening at the Masters Grand Slam of Curling at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre in Brantford, Ont. (Brian Thompson/QMI Agency)

DARRYL G. SMART, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:08 PM ET

BRANTFORD, ONT. - Since capturing silver at the 2010 Olympics, Thomas Ulsrud and his Norwegian rink of Torger Nergaard, Chistoffer Svae and Havard Vad Peterson, have been known more for their fashion sense thanks to the loud pants they wear.

This week at the Masters Grand Slam of Curling at the Wayne Gretzky Sport Centre, they want to start making some more noise on the ice with the way they play. And after their first game, a 3-2 victory on Wednesday's opening day over Rasmus Stjerne and his rink from Denmark, things are looking up for the guys wearing the funky pants.

"It was a good game for us," Ulsrud said.

"Actually, it may be the first time we've played a European team at a Slam, so it was nice. I didn't want to admit it, but this was a must win. Games are always tight in the round robin and to get an early win feels good."

Ulsrud started the Masters Grad Slam the way he wanted, earning a point in the first end, and then adding singles in the fourth and sixth.

In the seventh end, Stjerne had a chance for a deuce but came away with one to cut the lead to 3-1.

In the eighth end, the Danish team again threatened, laying two with a high guard. But on Ulsrud's final shot, he was able to remove one for the win.

"It was nice, these are the guys that we play at the European championships and to meet them on Canadian ice in an arena like this is good," Ulsrud said. "It really was a start we were looking for."

After earning silver at the 2010 Games, and with the Sochi Games fast approaching, Ulsrud said they're beginning to gear up.

And he hopes this stop in Brantford is the start of another magical ride.

"One of the good things about going to the Olympics and getting all the way to the final is you know what it takes," Ulsrud said.

"As the boys say, this is a big tournament and we'd love to do well in the Slam, but now we're starting to build it up.

"Right now I don't think we can match the level of the Howards and the Stoughtons. But if you give us a year, I think we'll be up there," he said.

"This is the best practice for us. We practice a lot at the rink back home but you can't beat coming here and try all of the things we practice back home."

He said he'll be happy if they qualify for the playoffs this week. "Usually eight teams qualify; this week there's six," Ulsrud said. "When you play the top 18 teams in the world, you'll have to do a great job to qualify. If we qualify I'll be very happy. I think we'll need a 4-1 record"

As for the now-famous pants, Ulsrud said it all came about days before they hit the ice at the Olympics.

"We always wore black and it was boring," Ulsrud said. "When we went to the Olympics we wanted something a little more Norwegian. He (Svae) found the red, white and blue. I said there's no way I'm playing in them.

"In the Olympic village we were with the girls in snowboarding and ski cross watching TV and Chris was putting on a fashion show," he said.

"The girls totally digged them. And as soon as the girls left our apartment, he said 'young girls dig these pants, so we're going with those.'"

And ever since, Ulsrud and his team haven't looked back and have rocked a different pair of www.loudmouth.com pants since.

"I think I have 40 different pairs," Ulsrud said. "I don't think I've played the same pants to a tournament. Chris mixes it up and this week he has four pair for us."

Action at the Masters Grand Slam continues all day Thursday, with games starting a 8:30 a.m. The final games start at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

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