Friday, December 22, 2006

The Curling News: Jan 2007 issue

White Christmas? Green Christmas?

How about pink?

The January 2007 issue of The Curling News is off to the mailhouse, and with it comes the official start of our 50th Anniversary Year. Founded in Calgary in 1957, TCN – previously known as CCN, or Canadian Curling News – has been here, there and everywhere in the sport, giving you all the news, rumours and professional sports journalism that can be found amid sticks and stones.

As regular subscribers know, the 50th Anniversary season has already started, with every issue thus far also including a retrospective section dedicated to our archives. Don’t miss this very special publishing season: subscribe today, or give the gift of TCN to a loved one.

In this issue:

• December’s Masters Grand Slam and European Championships provided a great finish to the traditional "first-half" of the season, and there’s more to come in 07

• A stunning action photograph from a rookie curling shooter, and more photo awards

• Inside Basel: Rodger Schmidt asks What Happened?

• Mixed Doubles? Its coming to a signup sheet near you

• This month’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations: the previous Masters (in 1963); a very young Kerry Burtnyk provides a Labatt Curling Tip; Larry Wood on the World Challenge and more

TSN Broadband... whither CurlTV?

• Is Team Gushue becoming Team Turmoil?

They Said It, our popular collection of interesting and outrageous commentary

The Curling News TV Guide: where to get your TV curling fix in Janaury

Teri Lake on why you should be seeking next year’s sponsors right now

Jill Officer with an inside peek at the movers and shakers on the Women’s Tour

... and more!

The Curling News Blog is now on vacation through January 5 (or so), so here’s a pile of clickables to tide you through the turkey. Have a great 2007 celebration, everyone!

• Canuck Elliot Hicks lives and breathes curling way out in San Diego ...

Bender loves his calendar (who wouldn’t?) ...

• Notes from Ottawa’s CCup East: of note is Team Kleibrink’s full end replay, and a witty reference to a classic British TV comedy; plus a look at surprise Kamloops qualifier Karen Porritt, and still more Cup East media ...

• 2006 will be a year remembered for tragedy. Just a couple of months after the loss of Ontario curler/journalist Derek Whitehill, Manitoba’s Kyle Flett was also tragically killed last weekend (story here and also here).

And there’s still more. Brandon has honoured a sport – and curling – pioneer who is suffering from rare Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; and just before the January press deadline, word came of the death of Don Turner, the tireless curling booster and proprieter (along with his wife Elva) of Turner’s Curling Museum in tiny Weyburn, Saskatchewan. Read the January issue for more ...

• Ford Worlds tix are going great, and now the nations have been decided (if not the athletes themselves) for the big shootout at Edmonton’s Rexall Place ...

• DID YOU KNOW: that Russ Howard is feeling a bit blue about his gold-edged Olympic experience? There’s a teaser here, and surely more to come, when his book Hurry Hard comes out in March ...

• And here’s Russ’ brother Glenn, in a snapshot at his other life at The Beer Store ...

• Here’s a TV report from Bismark, North Dakota, site of the 2002 Ford Worlds ...

• DID YOU KNOW II: that Ontario’s Waterloo region is becoming a hotbed for big curling events? Yesterday it was announced that the local K-W Granite and Westmount clubs will co-host the 2008 Ontario men’s championship – the TSC Stores Tankard – at the Waterloo Rec Complex. In the last three years this region has been busy, hosting the national Tournament of Hearts (2003), the $100,000 M&M Skins (2004), the Canadian Mixed (November), and the Masters of Curling Grand Slam... which is coming back again next season, by the way ...

• Some Bear Mountain qualifiers were decided last weekend:

• Edmonton reporter Cam Tait is miffed when curlers don’t put up the score on their sheet of ice quickly enough. Gadzooks... is he aware of the tens of thousands of angry fans who snap when those scores aren’t posted online within seconds?

• In an echo of June’s Canadian curling TV deal between the CCA and TSN, which shut out CBC, the Canadian Football League has now done a similar deal, taking effect in 2008, exclusively with TSN ...

• DID YOU KNOW III: who made it all the way to the final of the Canada Cup West in Edmonton? Yeah, Kevin Martin won it, but who did he beat? Gushue? Burtnyk? Stoughton? Middaugh?

Nope. John Base.

Fresh off his surprise semi-final appearance at the Masters, Base once again did things the hard way. He down to his last life in the C-side and had to win six consecutive games to reach the final. Included was a steal of four points in the seventh end of an 11-5 win over rival Wayne Middaugh in the quarters, and an 8-7 decision over Winnipeg’s Jeff Stoughton in the semi.

“We’re a little tired, playing 11 games since we got here – but we’re happy with ending up in the final,” Base told the Edmonton Journal. “We’re a new team and just in our fourth event of the year.”

Remember what we said after the Masters, folks?

• And finally, don't forget the 2006 Rutabaga Curling Championships going on this weekend in Ithaca, New York (Wikipedia's entry here, and 2005 event photos here and here). Seriously.

Well, okay, not too seriously.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Model Curling

Well, this is certainly different.

Looks like The Look magazine, Canada's Fashion and Beauty Quarterly, has featured curling in their recent fall issue, with a photo spread titled Bonspiel Knits. The shoot was held at the Guelph Curling Club in Ontario during late summer's Trillium Curling Camp, with chief camper and CCA National Team Leader (and occasional TCN writer) Jim Waite lending a hand.

Some new calendar talent, perhaps?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Swiss men end 20-year Euro curling drought

BASEL, Switzerland – It was going to take a special performance to upend defending world champion Scotland in the final of the 2006 Le Gruyère European Curling Championship (WCF photo by Urs Räber).

To the joy of a boisterous home crowd at St. Jakob Arena, Switzerland's new – and now disbanded – all-star team did just that, beating Scotland's David Murdoch 7-6 to win the championship (WCF photo by Urs Raeber).

Skip Andreas Schwaller and new temporary teammate Ralph Stöckli rode their experimental lineup right through the eight-day event, ably supported by front-enders Thomas Lips and Damien Grichting, in winning their country's first European title in 20 years.

Now Stöckli returns to his regular team, and will challenge Schwaller for the Swiss championship in January, for the right to compete in the Ford World Curling Championship in March.

"Yes, he goes back to his team and we will actually play each other in the first game next month," said Schwaller. "It's funny how it goes. We will be opponents as always, except for this one event, this one time, and that makes it special."

Murdoch's men fell behind 3-1 and 5-2 before roaring back with a three-ender in the seventh frame. With the Swiss clinging to a nervous 6-5 lead in the 10th, the Scots maneuvered well to lurk for the deuce, but an uncharacteristic miss on Murdoch's first stone forced him to take the tying single with his last rock.

Switzerland held the hammer in the extra-end, played it cool, and after a critical double-takeout on his first rock, Schwaller made a cool draw to the four-foot for the win.

After the top three placements - Per Carlsen's Swedish foursome claimed the bronze - an additional five teams claimed berths in the Worlds for their nations: Germany, Norway, Finland, France and Denmark, which held off a stubborn Czech Republic, the B-pool champions, in a challenge series.

Italy took the B-pool silver, and Russia the bronze.

It was a day of firsts in Basel as Russia's women, led by 20-year-old Ludmila Privivkova, won their first-ever major championship in a 9-4 victory over Italy in the women's final.

The Swiss men, well known for Olympic medals and decent showings at world events, last won the European Championship in 1986, when Felix Luchsinger defeated Sweden's Göran Roxin in Copenhagen.

At next year's Le Gruyère European Curling Championship in Fussen, Germany, B-pool qualifiers Italy and the Czech Republic graduate to the A-division, while Ireland and Wales both drop to the B-pool.


1. Switzerland, 9-2, Gold
2. Scotland, 8-4, Silver
3. Sweden, 7-5, Bronze
4. Germany, 6-4
5. Norway, 6-5
6. Finland, 5-5
7. France, 5-6
8. Denmark, 3-7
9. Ireland, 3-7
10. Wales, 1-8

A new era in world curling

BASEL, Switzerland – Russia defeated Italy 9-4 to win the women’s 2006 Le Gruyère European Curling Championship, the first major curling title for the country that made its international curling debut in 1994 (WCF photo by Urs Räber).

Skip Ludmila Privivkova, the defending world junior champion, added the prestigious European title to her growing trophy case by scoring three points in the third end and stealing the sixth and seventh ends. Italy’s Diana Gaspari scored three in the second end but could only muster a single point the rest of the way.

Privivkova and teammates Olga Jarkova, Nkeirouka Ezekh, Ekaterina Galkina and Margarita Fomina went undefeated in the round-robin with a 9-0 record before losing to the Italians in the first “Page” playoff game 7-5. The Russians then defeated Switzerland’s Mirjam Ott 7-5 in the semi-final before today’s final.

“It’s so very great, so amazing,” said the 20-year-old Privivkova, who is a student in Moscow. “I’m so very happy for the team.”

“We hope to win more medals but it will be difficult. All the teams at the events are strong.”

Privivkova will lead her team into the 2007 Winter Universiade in Pinerolo, Italy the same venue where her team finished fifth at last February’s Olympic Winter Games. Then, the squad will travel to Aomori, Japan in March for the World Women’s Curling Championships.

Privivkova believes the European Championship gold medal will increase curling interest in Russia.

“It is more popular back home after the Olympics and now it will be even bigger. It was shown on TV and it is very popular.”

For Italy’s Gaspari, the 2007 Euro titleshoot was sweet redemption following a disaapointing performance at the Olympics.

“In Pinerolo we thought we had a stronger team. Here we had two new players and we didn’t know how the team would come together. To win six games and then a playoff to be in the final is great.”

Gaspari’s run to the final captured the attention of major newspapers and TV networks in Italy. On Sunday she will travel to Milan for a TV interview with Sky Sports.

“This medal will help Italian curling for sure,” Gaspari said. “After Pinerolo, Italy needs something to continue the curling wave. Hopefully this is it.”

Italy also qualified with Russia for the World Championships in Aomori, along with the remaining top six finishers in Basel: Switzerland, Scotland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and the Czech Republic, which beat back a challenge from the women’s B-pool champion, Austria.

Finland earned the B-pool silver and England captured bronze.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Swiss joy, Russian flourish into Euro curling finals

BASEL, Switzerland – It was a truly and methodically grand display of high-performance curling for Andi Schwaller's newfangled Swiss team against Scotland's powerhouse David Murdoch squad in this morning's semi-final of the Le Gruyère European Curling Championships (WCF photo by Urs Raeber).

Switzerland are through to Saturday's final and the St. Jakob Arena will be throbbing for Eurosport's live TV coverage to some 100 million households. Hopp Suisse!

Now for the women's semi. Moments ago, Swiss second Valeria Spälty made a wicked come-around in the extra-end against Russia and somehow the Swiss managed to cling desperately to that steal stone through the next six rocks. On the final Russian stone of the game, skip Ludmila Privivkova was facing that stone – now double-guarded on the centre line – with only a Swiss guard tight to the rings, but a full three feet off to the side.

Bedlam ensues. Privivkova made the runback double on the side rock, removing both Swiss stones, to count her two biters for the 7-5 win.

Oh yeah... did we mention she had to spill the counter and the shooter amid two Russian stones in the rings?

Earlier, the Italian women had beaten the Swiss in the Page 3/4 game, so it's Russia and Italy, ranked first and second in the round-robin, in tomorrow's ECC 2006 finale.

Are you kidding me?


• Great run by Ott, who, as we've mentioned, was all over the place at this event. Alternate Manuela Kormann came in after their 0-3 start and seven wins and a last-gasp loss later, the Swiss had one helluva tournament. And through it all, as the WCF writes, Ott careened and lurched through her victories, surrendering late steals before prevailing, and even suffering a spectacular fall during a winning shot attempt on Wednesday.

• Austria's impossibly telegenic sister duo of Claudia and Karina Toth – both of them calendar girls, by the way – have won the Euro women's B-pool, and will compete in next year's Euro A-division along with Finland. They now compete in a best two-of-three challenge series against the Czech Republic to go to Aomori for the Worlds in March. Who is out of the Worlds and down to next year's B-pool? The Dutch and, wait for it... Dordi Nordby's Norway. Oops.

• In men's B-pool action, the Czechs have won the gold and will play in the "major league" along with Italy next year. They are battling Denmark in the challenge series for a spot at the Ford Worlds in Edmonton in March. Gonzo from Edmonton and down to B are Ireland and Wales, both of whom might have deserved better.

• A surprise howdy (Hallo dort) to TCN in the arena from Mike Reid, a fine Toronto shooter now living in Suisse, who is married to a delightful curler, speaks great Swiss-German and is making ice in Biel. Mike's mom is former CCA President/Sherry Middaugh coach/COC curling rep and still a fine shooter herself, Pat "A." Reid. Small world (kleine Welt).


• There's still time, we think, to check out CBC Calgary's recent feature on the curling calendar, it's posted at the Absolutely Canadian webpage located here (look for Sunday Edition), but you'd better hurry hard, we think they'll change the content by Saturday at noon ...

Kelley Law and her (pre-Olympic) ex-teammate Marla Mallett are into February’s B.C. Scotties provincial, and speaking of Law, she’s in action this weekend in Ottawa at the humungeous Canada Cup East, while most of the best Canadian men’s teams are in Edmonton at Cup West ...

• And, Ontario curling fans can watch tape-delayed Cup East action across the province via Rogers Cable on Monday, where all three of that day's quarters, semis and final will be broadcast. There’s also a curling theme to the Big Bad Sports Show, which kicks things off at 2:00pm ET ...

• More relieved Sackville, N.S. curlers speak out about their club’s near-closure:

• Seen this Gushue spotlight in a recent issue of the Toronto Star? Interesting ...

• Oh, the pain...

• More stat geek musings from outside the sport, concerning the recent Black Book of Curling story...

• Finally, this is just beautiful. Click here, then go find the name Ian MacPherson ... and consider condemning someone you know to eternal damnation ...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

World Mixed Doubles Curling Championships!

BASEL, Switzerland – There's another world championship event starting up, and soon: the 2008 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championships.

It's no lie. The 46 WCF member associations voted yea to the concept whilst meeting here in Switzerland, and it's Game On. Mixed Doubles (photo at left). We're serious.

And a world championship event means a national championship program must be built from the ground-up, right now, although details on when and where these playdowns will start are unknown. That's because the world venue and exact format won't be confirmed until the WCF Annual Meetings in Aomori, Japan, in March.

In fact member assocations, including the CCA, are jetting home from Europe right about now and probably wondering:

a) how to rush about to get this thing rolling, and;
b) where the heck to find a budget for it.

Read the news here at the WCF website or on Eurosport, and start thinking about partnering up with a buddy – or buddette – this coming fall.

As well:

• Newsflash in Nova Scotia: a variety of campaigns and pressures have forced politicos to back off from their plan to shut down the newish Lakeshore Curling Club facility in Sackville at the end of this season. Stories here and here, and a summary editorial here. Way to go, folks, the squeaky wheel strikes again ...

Wayne Middaugh does the latest Q & A on The Curling Show, but Dean didn't get the scoop on who he'll be playing with at the Perth Masters in Scotland next month (it won't be his regular squad)... hrrmmm ...

• Canada is shipping the Jo-Ann Rizzo (Ontario) and T.J. Perepolkin (B.C.) squads to Japan next month ...

• Tiebreaker madness at the ECC 2006 can be found here, with the latest story here, and last night's result story posted here and here ...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Russians are coming

BASEL, Switzerland – OK, they're not coming, they're already here. And we kinda knew that.

But even with a 5th place finish in Turin, and the recent world junior title win by the skipper – the telegenic and only-20-years-old Ludmila Privivkova – we're not sure that many would have predicted the Russian gals to be 8-0 at the ECC 2006.

BTW, this site rocks – the official stats site of the event.

Italy is looking great, too. Nice to see.

But we've just got to say that Switzerland's Mirjam Ott is all over the place! 0-3 to start, then suddenly 5-3... but still not playing that great, IOHO. Her squad dropped three consecutive steals a fortnight ago and had to play an extra before winning; and this morning was just bedlam.

Situation: the Dutch are lying three but Suisse are up three, and with the hammer. Just make one go away, right? Guess what: Ott actually falls on her last rock of the game, sprawls all over the ice, and gasses the hit. The shocked Netherlands foursome are suddenly into an extra end.

Yes, Ott won it in the extra frame, and nice recovery given what happened. But, wow. Maybe lending her team brushes to David Murdoch's woe-begotten Scots on the opening weekend was bad karma...?

More on the men later...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Masters/Euros score in Waterloo/Basel

A recap of the first Grand Slam of the season, The Home Hardware Masters of Curling, before we spend a lot of time in Europe ...

ICE – Muy bueno. Scotland's Tom Brewster called it "the best he's ever played on". That's good praise, coming from a Slam veteran who benn known to make a keen sheet of ice himself.

TEAMS – Great lineup, and a lot of snickering was abruptly shushed when Oakville's John Base made it all the way to the semi-finals – after an 0-2 start – before blowing out his leg in a blowout loss to eventual champion Glenn Howard. Come on, people, this is curling and you're supposed to know the basic rule – anyone beating anyone on any given day blah blah – plus the team's basic personnel bios, so there's no surprise at the Baseman's performance. Smarten up.

TV – The return of CBC Country Canada (!!) and then the main CBC network debuting its Slam coverage was something that old goats (like us) once doubted we would ever see. But it was a great show, and it scored 360,000 viewers for the Sunday final (average) with a peak of 450,000. And speaking of the show...

FORMAT – The eight-end debate is back in a big way, and the reactions are mixed; see this thread on CurlingZone for a variety of interesting thoughts. And this has spawned two other big discussions (here and here) on first-end hammer value, and the caveat that a change to eight ends may require adopting the draw-the-button-for-hammer rule. Could be the way of the future, folks, and the near-future at that...

EXTRAS – Inducting Eddie The Wrench and both sets of 1983 and 1990 teammates into the Asham WCT Ambassador Award club (see the autograph card above) was a brilliant idea, and a great evening was had by all. The Ambassdor Award banners hanging from the arena rafters, which will travel to each and every Slam moving forward, is another great touch. Volunteers: top-notch, and a special congrats for pulling it all together in three months. Venue: somewhere between good and perfect, the display booths (well, hello there TCN) along the upper "running track" were a great touch. Prize money and Olympic qualifying points: lots were up for grabs, and Team G Howard are loving both of them. As Slam chief Paul Boutilier told the K-W Record: "You would have to win the Ontario title three-and-half times to get the same points." Indeed.


• This big Globe & Flail story by Bob Weeks on CurlingZone's fantabulous Black Book of Curling has piqued the interest of some Sabremetrics disciples; could be the beginning of a fascinating mathematical relationship ...

• In Basel, the Le Gruyère European Championships are in full roar, and in no particular order:
- Mighty Uusis is still winning late after losing early;
- Andrea Schöpp is actually smiling;
- and Scotland’s David Murdoch was having a really, really, REALLY bad day – also explained here – but his 5-0 record must be cheering him up by now.

And if anyone’s wondering, we weren’t at the arena (er, whoops) to see Murdoch’s big shot against the French on Tuesday, which means we can’t quite help you decipher this Times writers’ delightfully inexplicable description of it. However, TCN's own Mike Haggerty did a wee better job, and we give him props for great use of the word "outrageous" ...

Also, a few pieces of luggage are still apparently outstanding; a member of the women’s team is running short (and dry) of contact lenses, which could pose quite the problem. And the coaching staff are, en masse, S.O.L. regarding their bags, and are probably washing their sole set of clothing in the bathtub at night. Welcome to your new job, Delboy ...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Harris returns to Toronto

BASEL, Switzerland – Wir sind hier in der Schweiz und bereiten vor, um zu schreiben, but first, an announcement: The Curling News has the exclusive news that Mike Harris will abruptly return to Toronto, as of mid-January.

Just seven months after relocating his family to Banff, Alberta for the job of head golf professional at the Fairmont Banff Springs Resort, the CBC curling commentator has resigned his new post to take the head pro job at the Donalda Club in Toronto.

Donalda was Harris' first club, where he worked as an assistant pro from approximately 1989 through 1995.

"They were surprised," said Harris, regarding his employers in Banff.

Harris went on to describe the Donalda gig as "irresistible" and assured TCN that he enjoyed his time in Alberta, but he also allowed that his wife and three children will be pleased with the return home.

It goes without saying that Harris hopes this move will be his last one for a while. His new Calgary team will have one final fling next weekend at the Canada Cup West in Edmonton, but there will be "no playdowns", either in Alberta or Ontario.


• European sports behemoth Eurosport is right into this weekend's Le Gruyere European Curling Championships (ending Dec. 16), and have launched a new all-curling page. They were also quick to hop onto the story concerning the host Swiss men's team and its lineup controversy, which can also be read here ...

• Meanwhile, the World Curling Federation has released a new World Curling Rankings system, which sees Canada first among men and Sweden atop the women’s rankings. Read the full story here and the rankings themselves are listed here ...

Who dis? Funny. We like her ...

• Just a few days after reading about doom and gloom in Ingerlund curling, here comes this jolly website, and good on them ...

Here's a story on Halifax's Team Jill Mouzar, which of course stars TCN’s own Teri Lake at second stone ...

• Check back often over the next 10 days, as we blog live and on site from the ECC in Basel ...

Monday, December 04, 2006

December 2007 issue: The Curling News

The December 2007 issue of The Curling News is in the mail – are you getting yours? – and it's jam-packed with all the latest and greatest from our sport, namely:

• The rundown from Chillywhack: what was great, not so great, and the future of the Continental Cup

• Calling all curling contributors: Matt Hames has been browsing curling on Wikipedia, and he's issued a call to arms... er, keyboards...

Book madness: there are nine – that's right, NINE – curling books out there; TCN provides the lowdown on each and every one

• Euro 2006: European curling's biggest show is ready to start in Basel, Switzerland, and Rodger Schmidt has the preview

• 50th Anniversary Celebration: our season-long birthday party continues, with incredible archived content republished from 1958, and 1967, and more

PCC 2006: Who did what at the Pacific Curling Championships in Tokyo

The Curling News TV Guide: where to get your curling TV fix this month

Larry Wood, but of course

The Curling Newsdesk: NBC's Korbel weekend; a look at China's disappointed men's team the Canadian Mixed; and more

Mary-Anne Arsenault dishes the inside scoop on her new team – versus the previous skip

• Calendar Offer: a 2007 women's curling calendar update, plus a special holiday offer!

You've heard the chant: don't delay, subscribe today ...

In addition:

• OK, so we didn't blog very much from the Masters. Quite busy. Quite busy having fun, actually. So here's a nifty roundup of stuff for you, from the CP story to the host broadcaster's story to the TorStar story; and it's always nice to see Brian McAndrew on the scene, may we say. Finally, the event – and the Grand Slam series as a whole – got a plug from the Globe's Bob Weeks on Saturday ...

• Anyone know of any other curling scribe who spends a weekend covering junior city zones? Other than Bender, that is ...

DID YOU KNOW: This is a Canada Games curling year? Didn’t think so. Here’s a look at the NS playdown and here’s the website for the Games themselves, out in Whitehorse in February ...

• The club closure in Nova Scotia isn't happening without a fight. Over 1,500 signatures have been collected thus far to peitition against the city-mandated closure of the Lakeshore Curling Club, and you can sign it online here ...

DID YOU KNOW II: That Calgary club ice is apparently (still) lousy? Heather Rankin thinks so. She gets the quote(s) of the day award(s) for her utterances in today’s Calgary Herald, after winning a spot in the Alta Southerns on the weekend. Apparently, Rankin used to call a colourful aggressive draw game, but due to Cowtown ice conditions, she’s given up:

If you want to get out of Southern Alberta, you have to hit. I've played nine years (here) and I've got there (provincials) once (a second-place finish in 2001), so obviously my style of game is not working. So I have to change it. And we're gonna hit right through to the provincials.

It's bad for the fans and all of that, but it's all about winning. I apologize, but that's what you're going to see: bang, bang, bang. I may be stubborn, but I'm not stupid.

You go, girl. And maybe, just maybe, some ice techs will start listening, eh?

Friday, December 01, 2006

IOC denies Mixed Doubles bid

WATERLOO – Here in this part of Ontario, curling fans are in rapture. Just weeks after both the Asham World Curling Tour (Brantford) and Canadian Mixed (Kitchener) blazed through town, the Tour is back with the first of the marquee Grand Slam of Curling events, the Home Hardware Masters of Curling.

But first, big news.

As some have expected, the International Olympic Committee has said no to curling's bid for another discipline at the Olympic Games: Mixed Doubles. The interesting sight from last week's Continental Cup (CCA/Michael Burns photo) will not make its debut at Vancouver in 2010, but it could show up at Wherever (South Korea, perhaps?) in 2014.

Here's the scoop, courtesy of The Curling News:

KUWAIT CITY – The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee, the body responsible for deciding on events and disciplines – the composition of sports within the Olympic Programme – released the results of the IOC Programme Commission report on November 28.

Mixed Doubles curling, a new discipline submitted for inclusion into the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, was rejected, as were five other sports (Bobsleigh and Skeleton Team Competition, Luge Team Competition, Alpine Skiing Nation Team Event, Biathalon Mixed Relay and Women’s Ski Jumping.

The IOC comment regarding Women’s Ski Jumping and Curling Mixed Doubles was that “their development is still in the early stage thus lacking the international spread of participation and technical standard required for an event to be included in the programme.”

The only sport accepted into medal-status competition for 2010 was Ski Cross, a sport similar to snowboard-cross, which made its debut at the 2006 Olympics in Turin and was an instant hit with spectators.

More on this in the days to come.

CurlTV is also here in Waterloo, and CBC is in for the semis on Saturday (the Country Canada digital channel) and the main net on Sunday. The Wrench, Eddie Werenich, is in town Saturday with both sets of his 1983 and 1990 Brier and world champion teammates, to receive the Asham WCT Ambassador Award... and, in fact, Saturday has been declared “Wrench Day”. So haul out those old carboard & tinfoil wrenches and head on down.

After all, you can buy this hotel and game ticket package.

Want more? Sunday's finale will live band on the ice, along with a disc jockey, and the ever-present mascot, “Slammer”.

And they're not done yet. Don't forget, all games at all four Slams this year are eight ends in length.

“Curling has to take the next step to attracting not just the core fan but the sports fan,” WCPA honcho Paul Boutilier told The Record. “It becomes for the sports fan two hours and 15 minutes, not three hours, of entertainment even if they don't understand the game. It's a whole different model from what we're used to.”

The shorter games allow the Slams to fit into a 2-1/2-hour window that would seem to accommodate the NBA, Formula One and the NHL. Eight-end games are common in clubs and have been talked about for a long time – and were almost adopted globally in 1999. The Slams are the first big event to move to the shorter games.

“I would think everyone on the Tour will be going to this in the next year or two,” Boutilier said. “There isn't any need for 10 ends with the ice conditions we have now. The game is on right from the start.”

On ice, the forgotten man, Don Walnut Walchuk beat Stoughton and Ferbey yesterday... not bad. And look who’s playing with him, allegedly this week only.

Stay tuned to the blog through the weekend, as we post the latest and greatest.

Oh... and we almost forgot. Stop on by and visit! That's right, The Curling News has a gargantuan display booth set up on the concourse, or "running track", located beside Asham Ontario and the 2007 Tom Hortons Brier. We're offering a special subscription deal (on-site only) and we're also selling the 2007 women's curling calendar, which saves customers $8.95 in shipping costs. This weekend only!


• Williams Lake CC in B.C. is getting well-deserved kudos for their off-ice performance in hosting the 2006 B.C. Scott, won by B.C.’s Scott, as in Kelly, of course ...

• Meanwhile, Parksville CC is growing, bucking the current provincial club trend ...

• It’s true there are real fears of curling’s demise in England, but can Manchesterians really claim to be hosts to curling’s “spiritual home”? Due to an event in 1877, it seems they can ...

• The folks at Alberta Curling are happy with with the way the Alberta Tour is progressing... just one question: is Ontario listening?

• The feedback on the imminent closure of the fairly-new curling facility in Lower Sackville, NS is not at all good ...

OUCH: Hamilton Spectatorcolumnist Steve Buist isn't a fan of the Continental Cup; just check this zinger out:

Memo to the CCA: pull the plug on the Continental Cup and don't even give it a second thought.

It will be missed about as much as Battle of the Network Stars or Beat the Champ.

Canada joining forces with the U.S. to take on Europe in curling makes about as much sense as England joining up with Malta to take on the West Indies in cricket.