Thursday, May 08, 2008

Burtnyk, Now and Then

Okay, let’s see if we can plow through all the Manitoba curling stories and thus free ourselves, finally, to look at other curling news... eh?

Kerry Burtnyk finally acknowledged that he is bringing an Edmonton import into his team: and it is, of course, former Kevin Martin third Don Walchuk. Story from the usual suspects here and here, but only The Curler posted a photo of the news conference, which you can see here. Uh, a photo without Walchuk, although we was on the telephone. And with two team sponsor reps who look somewhat out of place. Whatever.

Some are questioning why Burtnyk held a news conference to announce what everybody already knew? First of all, if arch-rival Jeff Stoughton is going to hold a news conference, then you can be darned sure Bubba is going to host one. Secondly, there was additional Bubbaspec on who is going to play lead – perhaps another Edmonton import? – and Burtnyk took the opportunity to declare that Garth Smith will be returning.

Still with Manitoba:

• Much like the recent long-overdue celebration of the 1976 Canada Cup hockey champions, Burtnyk’s 1981 Brier and Worlds team (see ancient photo above) were recently inducted into the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame. The only sour note was the no-show by lead Ron Kammerlock (at right), who was supporting a curler who got the chop from Burtnyk’s squad just a few days earlier – his son.

Ron should have been there, plain and simple.

Here’s what Burtnyk said about that particular team, back when the inductees – which also includes former Stoughton third Jon Mead, Winnipeg skip Janet Harvey and the infamous Johnny U – were first announced. The Curling News ran this quote in our popular They Said It section of the April issue:

I think it put us ahead of many experienced teams that played the wide-open game. And it’s hard to believe, but there were actually a lot of experienced teams that feared us because we’d basically draw to anything early in the game, and people just couldn’t understand what we were doing. So at the time, I think we were kind of ahead of the curve for what young teams were normally like.

We did something that nobody else has really been able to do as that young a team. And I think that was an outstanding accomplishment. We were almost a team that maybe was a bit ahead of its time.

• Naturally, there’s a bunch of other men’s changes taking place in the Peg ...

• Earlier on, Jim Bender had an interesting possible prediction of Burtnyk’s new third: Joe Frans?! Meanwhile, over at Hacks & Wonks, PolicyFrog thinks young Reid Carruthers is... er, making a mistake ...

This fellow suggests a list of reasons why Ryan Fry took off to The Rock to begin with ...

• A fan built this tribute video to Team Jennifer Jones and then posted an apology on the team website for not having enough images of the front end! Judging by the skip’s personal reply, the result is a fine piece of work ...

• And finally, DID YOU KNOW that the arson suspect in Winnipeg’s 2006 Thistle Curling Club destruction – who had confessed – was freed by the judge? Want to guess why? Well, here is the story, and here is an editorial comment on the matter.

And here is another link to Paul Wiecek’s “Memories Of the Thistle” story we linked to back in June, 2006 ...

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