Thursday, July 20, 2006

Curling Stratusfaction?

Not really.

Although seeing as professional wrestler Trish Stratus (laying the boot in photo) is not only Canadian but hails from – and still lives in – TCN's current hometown of Richmond Hill, we're happy to lead off with "her" story today.

One of the worst-kept secrets in Canadian TV sports – er, "Sports Entertainment" – is now official: WWE wrestling, primarily a Monday-night show, has left TSN and will settle in at The Score as of August 7.

In the past, the soon-to-be exclusive curling network has come under fire for pre-empting the Scotties and Brier in favour of wrestling. No problem now, right? Wrong, as the Globe reminds us why the rasslers are departing in the first place: Monday Night (NFL) Football is taking their place this fall. And there's no way curling will beat out the NFL for the live spot.

One aspect of the WWE news conference struck us as oddball: according to this report, the wrestlers joked about TSN's recent misbehavour, ie. that "now there would be no pre-emptions from hockey or curling." The Sun Media chain went so far as to quote wrestler Edge, who took umbrage at the "primal Hurry Hard" crowd.

These are definitely jokes: as Canadian curling fans know, their sport almost always took a back seat to the rasslin', not the other way 'round. TSN did earn some props this past season for finally putting curling first, and the wrestling divas (male and female) firmly in second, but this was a fairly new legacy.

So there you go. Now curling fans have to worry about NFL football... as well as hockey. As for TCN? We're still hoping to someday run in to Trish at the local DQ.

In other news:

VANOC, still dealing with constant budget queries, is under fire today for the failure of Toronto's Olympic Spirit. The $50 million interactive complex closed its doors yesterday after first launching during the 2004 summer Olympics. Curling was represented by a land-based game, several displays featuring Olympic curling gear, and also equipment donated by Asham Curling Supplies. Read about the closure – and the infighting within Canada's Olympic family – here and here...

• The Royal Montreal Curling Club will celebrate 200 years of curling in 2007, and members have started a petition to have a stamp commemorated in this honour. Add your name and support by clicking here...

• Speaking of clubs, police and other emergency services seem to be using them quite often in the summer. During the Edmonton Oilers' run to the Stanley Cup hockey finals, wild street parties forced cops to set up a prisoner processing centre at the Granite Club. Earlier this month, raging forest fires in B.C. and Saskatchewan forced fleeing residents to shelters at the Dawson Creek and Chetwynd clubs. And just this week in tiny Spiritwood, Sask., the local curling rink served as police manhunt command centre before a murder suspect eventually turned himself in ...

• Across the pond, 2002 Olympic curling heroine Rhona Martin is one of two athletes touring about to promote the London 2014 summer Olympics, and one of her (hopeful) heir apparents is thrilled to receive new government funding...

ESPN 2 recently rebroadcast the Ford World women's championship final, giving fans another look at U.S. champion Debbie McCormick's close battle for the title, eventually won by Sweden's Anette Norberg. But could you ever guess that ESPN Brazil would also show it, followed by another packaged show from the men's world's in Lowell? Of course you couldn't, but here's the proof...

• Finally, a fun look back in time, particularly for those following the current growth of curling in the U.S.

In celebrating the 125th anniversary of The Aspen Times, their editorial staff has been reprinting a story or two from each year the newspaper has existed – a total of 125 historical selections over 125 days. Here's a recent reprint, dated 1967:

National curling tourney in Sept.

Enthusiasm generated by last weekend's curling competition here between Denver and Aspen teams has resulted in a larger-scale return match April 15 through 17 and plans for a national bonspiel at Aspen Sept. 1-4.

In the weekend tilts, Denver sweepers won three out of four contests at the Brown Ice Palace. Saturday, they posted 8-4 and 9-7 victories.

On Sunday, the Carbondale Quik Brooms registered the only local win, an 8-7 triumph. Denver bested Aspenites in the final 13-5

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