Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Ooooh. That looks sweet.

Back in black, baby.

The Black Book of Curling is back. The second edition rolls off the presses later this summer, chock full of new features, stories, stats, previews and you-name-it. It's a whopping 300-pager, it's the essential guide to curling and you simply must have it. And now you can reserve it – saving cash on shipping (plus tax for Canucks) – by pre-ordering today.

And yes, TCN is shilling this in rather shrill fashion. Hey, we're biased, but we admit it. Fact is, we think it's just that darned good... and it makes the curling fan within us all warm and fuzzy.

Produced by CurlingZone, the 2006/07 edition boasts a whack of new content, plus the return of the controversial rankings of men's and women's teams. Said Dallas Bittle, CurlingZone co-founder:

We're totally jacked about the new Black Book, and there's tons of new stuff in here that I can't reveal yet. There will be more previews and setups on teams and events happening this season. As for last year's rankings, the formula had just enough subjectivity in there to freak people out, like when Colleen Jones ended up ranked 16th. We have a new formula that is totally objective, and we're listing the Top 100 Men and Top 50 Women's teams in the world.

• Meanwhile, it's still camp time, folks. Adults can get in on the Fantasy action at multiple HOT SHOTS camps, while both adults and juniors can work with Kevin Martin and friends at two Edmonton-area camps in late August. Juniors alone are curl-camping right now, in F├╝ssen, Germany and also in Saint John, N.B.

In fact Saint John is hosting the fifth annual Whitecap Curling Academy, which encompasses two full weeks and wraps up on July 21. The star factor is high, with three members of Team Gushue's Olympic Gold champs – Mark Nichols, Jamie Korab and Mike Adam – there for the entire thing.

Said Curl Atlantic's Karen Ouellette:

It’s wonderful to have the guys back this year. They’ve always been a hit among the kids and this year is especially significant after their gold medal win. They set a great example of what this camp wants to project to our region’s future champions.

Said Nichols:

It’s important for us to be here at camp to remind these kids that they could be there (the Olympics) someday. It wasn’t that long ago that we were sitting on the floor listening to speakers like the kids here this week and wondering if we could ever win a gold medal. We want to give back to them the way others helped us.

Also instructing are world junior champ Stefanie Richard from Summerside, P.E.I and Canadian junior winners Andrea Kelly, Jodie DeSolla and Jared Bezanson from New Brunswick.

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