An announcement is expected today that Home Hardware has taken title sponsorship of the first Grand Slam of Curling event of the Insight Sports era, The Masters in Waterloo, Nov. 28-Dec. 3 (CurlTV and finals on CBC).
The Home Hardware Masters of Curling also has a new website, located here, and Al Barber's local organizing committee has a great traveller's deal up for grabs, located here, with two options available for a combo game ticket/hotel package.
Prior to this big move, the hardware chain had been slowly warming to curling. They had taken minor sponsorships in the old M&M Meat Shops Skins (remember that?) and are selling Rusty Drew's famous Extender throwing stick. Also, a group of no less than 10 franchise stores in the Kitchener-Waterloo and outlying area (which also includes Galt and Elmira) recently banded together in time to sponsor the 40th anniversary of the big interclub competition, the Home Hardware (formerly Clarica) Bonspiel, which runs Nov. 20-25.
Welcome aboard, HH.
• Brad Gushue's Thursday started at 1:45 am eastern time, when he crawled out of bed to catch a 3:50 am flight from St. John's to Toronto. When he landed, he was scheduled to do three media interviews before hitting the ice at Brantford's Tim Hortons Classic tour event. Next week he starts a book tour for Golden Gushue, of which you can follow along and read blogposts from either the CurlingZone main page, or here. Busy, busy.
But if you want to see his squad in person this weekend, act fast... tickets are sold out for Saturday and Sunday, meaning today is your only chance to see them. Or Glenn Howard. Or Guy Hemmings. Or Jean-Michel Menard. Or... you get the picture.
• Meanwhile, Gushue's Olympic teammate Russ Howard is in P.E.I. for the popular Rodd Curling Classic. Howard will appear at the Charlottetown Curling Club today from 5:30 to 6:30 pm to meet fans and sign autographs, as well as to show off his golden hardware.
PS: Did you know Russ spared for Team Ferbey rock-tosser David Nedohin at last weekend's Meyers Norris Penny tour stop in Portage, where the Ferbs lost the semis to Russ' brother Glenn, the eventual champion? Well... now you do.
• Doug and Joan Middleton had quite a Wednesday. The Regina couple showed up at the Tartan for their weekly curling match, only to find out – from friends who had watched the TV news – that they had won a brand-new, fully furnished house, the top prize in the Hospitals of Regina Foundation's Lifestyles Lottery.
Oh... they also picked up a new Audi A3 2.OT car and $7,500 cash, to go along with the 2,400-square-foot, professionally decorated Wascana View showhome. The total prize is estimated to be worth more than $523,000.
"We just could not focus on what we were doing (on the ice)," said Doug. "It was the first game I can ever remember that I didn't mind losing."
• According to the Conman, Alberta's St. Albert Curling Club is rededicating the Friendly Giant Lounge tomorrow night in honour of the late, great Hec Gervais. Former teammates and family will be there ...
• Hamilton's mayor recently chucked a puck to launch the sale of mini-pack ticket packages for the 2007 Tim Hortons Brier. You can read Adam Daifallah's story about a possible new mayor of nearby St. Catherines in the November issue of The Curling News, now off to the mailhouse and headed your way. If you don't subscribe, you'd best get on that, eh?
• Finally... guess who's back? And taking shots at the CCA?
Er... that would be the Canadian Consumers' Association, not these guys. Whatever. Welcome back, Statman!