Thursday, September 29, 2005

TSN is back... and CBC... and Sportsnet...

The news first appeared yesterday in a Toronto-based newspaper, which means the word had leaked directly from a major all-sports broadcasting office located ridiculously close to another major all-sports broadcasting office.

Of course, The Curling News had confirmed it a day or so earlier... but of course we do not publish until November, and we're still on vacation. Sort of.

And today, the Calgary Sun is reporting actual quotes from Canadian Curling Association honcho Dave Parkes regarding negotiations with CBC on the upcoming TV contract for Season of Champions coverage.

The point is what?

TSN is back. Yes, it's a done deal, and who knows why the news hasn't been shouted from the rooftops and spun madly out of Ottawa. Probably something to do with lawyers. But it's done. Agreement has been reached with CBC for final weekend coverage and the Mother Corp has in turn sold off weekday and weeknight – but not week-morn – coverage to The Sports Network. You wanted it, now you've got it, people.

It will be interesting to see how the broadcasters treat curling this season. Will the loss of exclusivity mean a lighter coverage effort by CBC... perhaps less online content? Perhaps no more Championship Curling DVD? Maybe the CBC On Demand crew will no longer throw old archived curling games and features onto their pay-per-view channel?

As for TSN, you can expect the Big Three of Rauter/Turnbull/Moore to be back behind the mics, and a solid presentation to appease the masses. But will those masses snap back when their live curling becomes pre-empted on Monday nights... and Wednesday nights?

One thing is for certain... the "other guys" are also back, with the fifth season of Grand Slam of Curling coverage debuting in early November. And with the actual Olympic Games scheduled for February, this means 2005-06 will definitely be a year of TV coverage to remember.

So relax, and just let each issue of The Curling News tell you what's on the tube, and when, and on which channel. It was a rocky road, but the sport's fanatical base of TV fans have made it to their destination. And not a moment too soon...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Gushue in Norway

The 2005-06 season is fully underway.

According to The Curling News Top 10 men’s ranking from Sept. 27, Brad Gushue of Newfoundland did well in his first-ever Norwegian tournament, losting the semi-final to eventual spiel champ Nils Carlsen of Sweden.

However, nobody seems to realize that the young Gushies went overseas for two events. As such, the previous weekend marked an outright Norwegian victory, as the squad won the Bompi Cup in Oslo, beating Thomas Lovold 5-4 in the final. Team Gushue went 7-0 overall.

Bompi might not have been an official World Curling Tour event (nor a World Curling Tour Europe event) but credit goes to the young screechers for a win and a semi-final finish in their first big trip of the year. Olympic Trials in Halifax, here they come.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Hot Shots in Oakville

Welcome to The Curling News Blog. First post: dateline Oakville, Ontario.

It's the second Hot Shots Fantasy Camp of the summer – the first was Aug. 26-28 – hosted for the first time at the Oakville CC. The Hot Shots sees "campers" invade for a weekend full of curling coaching, training, hits & tips, advice and fun both on and off-ice, accompanied by a small army of "celebrity" curlers and certified national coaches.

Kudos to Hot Shots organizer David Gravelle and of particular note was the remarkable ice conditions at Oakville. Truly gorgeous ice – 25 seconds with tremendous curl in all four directions – is a rare thing before October, and particularly during the hottest summer in many years. There wasn't a hint of condensation on the viewing glass, and a quick convo with ice guru Scott Foster – congrats on the new arrival Scott and Melissa! – revealed the key: Oakville's power plant is so enormous, they were using only 1/3 of their total power output to run the ice plant... even in thirty-degree heat. Hey now.

A fun weekend... and what's more, roommate Glenn Howard didn’t even snore. Much.