Thursday, December 24, 2009

We've moved!

Welcome to our 799th post here at The Curling News Blog... and our last one on the Blogger platform.

Each and every posting dating back more than four years, starting with our very first one in September 2005, has moved over to our new bloghome, which is located here.

This is, of course, also the location of our brand-new website, which launched somewhat quietly during the Canadian (Olympic) Curling Trials earlier in December.

As you can see from the screen capture above, we have kicked things off with a new blogpost at our new home. So do check back, and often, at our new location... just as so many of you curling fans did at this former location, and quite religiously, over the years.

We've moved, but we're not leaving. We are The Curling News, founded in 1957, and we love curling.

Merry Ho Ho, everyone!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Olympic Trials postscript

by Margo Weber

As I write this I can barely keep my eyes open. Immediately upon completion of this blogpost, I will put my kids into bed and fall into the sack myself.

What a week! I had a blast trying to come up with stuff to fill up your brains. I can’t wait for the Olympics. My girlfriends are discussing a girls trip out to Vancouver (oh my GAWD). We’ll see, I think my husband and kids are attention-starved right now. The good news is, there is NO curling this week to distract me.

Here's a final pic from my camera... in the midst of the Team Cheryl Bernard fan club, who dressed up to the nines in their black-and-whites.

Thanks to my editor, gk, for being pretty much unavailable and for making me want to gouge my eyeballs out. However, I did have fun and enjoyed hearing ‘What’s up Playah!?’ from my friends in the Patch.

Congrats to The Curling News on a fantastic new web site...  and don’t forget to check out the @curling Twitter feed (gk and I have a relationship eerily similar to John Mayer and Jennifer Aniston; he spends more time twittering than discussing curling with me.)

I also got a Facebook message from TCN yesterday; apparently there's a super subscription deal on, but only until the end of... tomorrow, as in December 15.

Subscribe before the end of the day and get three extra issues tacked onto your subscription, and if you happen to give a gift subscription, gk and co. will mail a special card to the recipient, in time for next week's holidays, naming you as the gift-giver. Not bad. So why not just give'r! Head to the website for the PayPal thing, or ring them at 1-800-605-CURL (or +1 905 887 1261).

Until next time... good couch curling!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dude is gonna be a star

by Margo Weber

Okay, so I didn’t go to the final game, and watched it at my in-law’s house. They had a pre-Christmas dinner. We do more than one Christmas on that side of the family.

As soon as the game was over and last rock was thrown... the TV was turned off. Sigh. My favourite part... and I missed it.

I don’t have much to say about the game, except for the obvious: the Kevin Martin squad was the team to beat. They played better, they were just plain better. They will be our best representatives from a skill standpoint... not that I’m in love with his international record but hey, let’s not beat a dead horse here.

I still see some shiny medals coming home to Alberta. I suspect gold in colour, but who knows.

I look forward to seeing how outrageous the John Morris campaigns will be. I’d imagine we’re going to be seeing him rake in some serious cash for advertisements etc. Especially if he helps bring home the gold. Right now, every curling fan in Canada knows who he is. The Olympics are a whole different animal. Dude is gonna be a star.

I like to think of opportunities for curlers at a time like this. The Martin and Cheryl Bernard team members are funded to the tune of $1,500 each a month, tax-exempt, for 30 months. And if they win gold, it will be even more profitable to stick it out and curl and curl and curl and curl and in some cases, treat it like a job.

Don’t get me wrong, nobody’s getting rich curling. But things like getting cash for Olympic medals (is it still $20,000 for gold?) certainly help out the wallet.

Just don’t blow it all on souvenirs.

Photo caption:
KMART: Geez young fellah, you are so gonna overshadow me in Vancouver!
JMO (contemplatively): Yes. I know.

[CCA photo by Michael Burns]

Sunday, December 13, 2009

These girls are Olympians

by Margo Weber

Hurry HARD! Go BerNARD!

I write this blogpost still excited about last night (and very tired, that was my latest night in the Patch for sure.) You see, I have a confession. Susan O’Connor (photo left) from Team Cheryl Bernard is one of my best friends (me at photo right). We’ve been friends since we were early teens and I had the pleasure of being her Maid of Honour this summer at her wedding to Todd Brick (now there's a curling name, eh?).

I would have been really happy with a Shannon Kleibrink win yesterday too, and I admit I’m a closet Amy Nixon fan. But I most of all was sick to my stomach nervous for a win for my friend. And I got it. When that rock stopped I jumped and jumped with my arms in the air. I sat with that crazy crowd of striped scarves and cheered and screamed and didn’t care who heard.

Susan deserves to go to the Olympics more than anyone I know, she played great all week. She plays with class. She never says anything bad about anyone. She loves her team. She has faith in her skip. And now she is an Olympian and I’m so proud.

I went to the winners banquet last night and it was so neat to talk to her family and the families of the rest of the players. They are so excited, as most of them didn’t dare to think about what would happen the next couple months. They are all going to try their best to find a way to go to Vancouver and see their loved ones play for Canada.

No matter what happens, these girls are Olympians. That can never be taken away. They are now part of a fraternity of brothers and sisters forever. Last night legendary Olympic rower Marnie McBean came up and introduced herself to Susan and said ‘Congratulations, you are now one of us.’ It was very cool. Russ Howard gave Sue the advice that she would have to ‘learn to say no.’ Haha! What a ride my friend will be on.

Way to go Cheryl, Susan, Carolyn and Cori!

Cute tidbits from last night:

Each player had to pee 90ML into a cup, sternly watched. This apparently took at least a half an hour each person, and one player (I’m not gonna say who!) had to go back again after the party.

When I went up to the Patch bar to buy some drinks with Sue’s hubby, Todd, he said to the bartender ‘My wife is going to the Olympics!’ and the bartender said ‘What sport?’  It was hilarious.

Looking forward to the men’s final, just now underway. Will it be another close one? Can’t wait.

Curling immortality

by Margo Weber

EDMONTON – Oh, what a night.

Here's a pic I snapped from last night's women's final at the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, aka the Olympic Curling Trials.

This is the quick scrum they do for media with immediate deadlines – this used to be just the print guys, but now everybody wants everything they can get right NOW – right after the last rock, and before the march down the ice to the podiums, and the TV finale.

There's more media scrumming afterwards, of course, and you can see the interviews with champion Cheryl Bernard and finalist Shannon Kleibrink here.

Awesome to see Bernard family members, including Cheryl's husband Terry Meek in the foreground (in the Bernard jacket), watching her take that big step into curling immortality.

I've got another post regarding the women's match before the men's final today, so stay tuned... but for much, much more on all this great stuff (including another one of my pics from last night) make sure you subscribe to/follow/whatever the TCN Twitter feed, located here.

Hack in the USSR

Remember this past post on the Beatles and their legendary one-time curling escapade?

Blogreader and fan of The Curling News "Shansy" came across this amusing Sports Deke posting, which lists eight Beatles tunes reworked in a curling vein... all with the Roar of the Rings in mind.

Thanks for sharing, Shansy!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Night at the Patch

by Margo Weber

EDMONTON – Last night was a good one for those that like a party, but the gist amongst the crowd was that tonight, the final night, will be the big one. Can’t wait!

Here’s some fun things you would have heard and seen if you were at the Patch last night…

• TSN talkie Ray Turnbull confirmed his departure from TV after this year, to much resounding boos from the audience. He also confirmed his homosexual relationship with Tiger Woods.

Kari MacLean from Team Krista McCarville had a steady line-up of males waiting to talk to her.

Kevin Koe’s wife, Carla, walked up to Wayne Middaugh and said “Wayne, I could have made those two shots with my hiking boots on.”

Susan O’Connor of Team Cheryl Bernard promised to be the ‘drunkest girl in the patch’ after their final game tonight, regardless of outcome.

• The rest of Jason Gunnlaugson’s team wanting to get in on autographing some boobs (heavily censored photo above).

• A re-cap on the big screen from the night before when Middaugh third Jonathan Mead danced around in undershorts (his) and a black bra (some else's).

Patch it up, folks! It's always a party!

Trials All-Star Hotties

by Margo Weber

EDMONTON – Come on. You read the blog mayhem from the Calgary Brier, right?

You know I had to "go there" eventually, right?

Okay, here they are... the long awaited All Star Hottie Teams at these here Tim Hortons Canadian (Olympic) Curling Trials.

I give no explanation for my picks, except for sheer hotness. There is a serious Alberta flavour here, but I did try not to be biased. Remember, there were six Alberta teams in the field...

I caught a lot of heck – Dalene Heck? – for my Brier picks, but I think these choices are, for the most part, obvious. Whatever.


Fourth – David Nedohin
Third – John Morris
Second – Carter Rycroft
Lead – The farmer from the Dekalb TV commercials. Note: there are two farmers, I’m talking about the scruffy cute one.


Skip – Crystal Webster
Third – Jeanna Schrader
Second – Sheri Singler
Lead – Chelsey Bell

** My husband wants a disclaimer here that his picks are Jennifer Jones, Kim Schneider and Kari MacLean and he thinks I should be playing lead on one of these teams. To THAT I say I’d have to start going to the gym.

Agree with my picks? Disagree? Feel free to discuss!

[CCA photo of Morris by Michael Burns]

Latvia makes curling history

Meet Iveta Stasa-Sarsune, everyone.

Iveta... meet everyone.

This gal has played quite well for Latvia at the past two World Mixed Doubles Championships (in Italy and Finland, respectively) but she and her teammates took it to another level at the 2009 Le Gruyere European Curling Championships in Aberdeen, Scotland this past week.

Team Latvia won the B-pool and then defeated Finland (skipped by TCN correspondent Katja Kiiskiken) in a best of three World Challenge series to qualify for the 2010 Ford World Women's Curling Championship in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

This remarkable result comes on the heels of a recent medal scored by the Latvian men's team, in the B-pool of the 2007 Europeans at Fuessen, Germany.

Congratulations to Iveta and all curling-mad Latvians! If your cheering squad is anything like that of the legendary Latvian hockey fans, Swift Current will be rocking out!

Want even more curling news?

• Subscribe to The Curling News – via our new website!

• Follow our Twitter feed – it's bursting at the seams with curling stuff!

[Photo by Bob Cowan]

Friday, December 11, 2009

Not a fashion show?

by Margo Weber

EDMONTON – There comes a time when we have to put the actual curling skills aside, and state the obvious.

As we have mentioned before, this is not a fashion show... but at these 2009 Roar of the Rings Olympic Trials, it seems the women in particular have been preparing in a big way.

There’s the TV time. There’s the big crowds. Let us ponder, for one moment, what it would cost to come and look your best while competing at such an event. A few hundred dollars, in some cases?

I’m pretty sure some entire teams got makeovers within the last week or two. There’s some serious French manicures out there. There is not one natural strand of hair in sight when the women take the ice (except perhaps on Amber Holland).

But they’re looking good! As a whole, this sport has come a long way. Gone are the days of Cathy King’s huge plastic earrings. Good job, ladies. And good on Mondetta for the attire the players are sporting. I’d say the outfits are flattering on most.

Let’s talk about the earrings. I think Kelly Scott has more piercings in her little ears than my entire six person family. Kim Schneider, from Holland’s squad (CCA photo by Michael Burns) has some seriously huge hearts dangling from her lobes.

Regarding the hair. I’ve been waiting for some of the skips to tie back their hair a bit, I got it Wednesday morning when both Crystal Webster and Cheryl Bernard ponytailed it up. Previous to that, I was thinking about leaving a little bag of ponytails behind each sheet.

I realize that although most skips don’t partake in sweeping duties... I think it’s their duty as players... possible future Olympic athletes... to look like convince people that this is indeed a sport. Maybe we could start with a bobby pin or two... just put the frickin’ hair back so you can see where you’re going!

I’ll leave the men alone... for now. I see no harm in the crazy white belts the Glenn Howard team insists on wearing. As for the hair, I do applaud the Kevin Koes and Jonathan Meads for not fighting with nature and just shaving it all off. Nice work, boys.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Playah: Brent Laing


by Margo Weber

EDMONTON – What’s up, Playah? My pick for today’s superstar is you, Brent Laing.

You rocked the house against Randy Ferbey this morning. You have Olympic rings in your eyes and you are quickly becoming one of those killer seconds. You were almost perfect in your game today, outcurling Scott Pfeifer by more than 10 per cent, and he threw mid-eighties! You made a seriously sweet long raise double, ouch! And a squeaker hit through a tiny port… I felt that, yowza!

Tonight you play off against Kevin Martin for a spot in the final, you’ll be battling another hot shot second, Marc Kennedy. You’ve got your work cut out for you, but guess what. My husband is a serious Glenn Howard fan and will be wearing a white belt at Rexall Place tonight.

I will mention that Ben Hebert made the tick shot twice, perfectly, for skipper Martin in this morning’s game against Kevin Koe… but, nah. I’m sticking with you, Lainger.

Keep 'er going, Playah!

Men keep it simple

 by Margo Weber

EDMONTON – Okay, this is the situation for the dudes.

Tonight, Glenn Howard and Kevin Martin play for a spot in the final. Loser goes directly into the semifinal.

Jeff Stoughton (4-2) and both Kevin Koe and Randy Ferbey (3-3) are still in the mix.

However, if Stoughton beats Pat Simmons tonight, he is in the semi. Everyone else is out. If he loses, then he must play a tiebreaker against the winner of the Ferbey/Koe game.

See? The men keep it simple!

PS: The editor, gk, has asked me to remind you all about the TCN Twitter feed. I just checked it out myself and my gawd, there is so much extra curling stuff on there – including big news from the Euros over in Aberdeen, Scotland – that I think you could use the info to publish an extra edition of The Curling News every month.

So click here and check it out.

[CCA photo of Kevin Martin by Michael Burns]

This is where it gets fun

by Margo Weber

EDMONTON – Okay, so with one round robin game left, this is how it shakes down today on the women’s side.

Cheryl Bernard has a bye to the final by virtue of her 6-0 record. Shannon Kleibrink has a bye to the semi.

This is where it gets fun. Amber Holland, Krista McCarville and Stephanie Lawton are all at 3-3. They all play different teams and if they all LOSE – they bring in Crystal Webster and possibly Jennifer Jones, both at 2-4… Webster in this scenario would win her game, and Jones would then have to win hers as well in order to be included in the mix. 

Let me paint the picture for you. This is very unlikely.

You see with all three of the 3-3 teams needing to lose in order for this scenario to work, Lawton needs to beat the wrecking ball that is Cheryl Bernard. Then Holland has to lose to Kelly Scott, and McCarville has to lose to Webster. Then we are looking at tiebreakers. 

And if Jones beats Kleibrink that then brings them into the mix too. So Jennifer Jones has to hope for every single sheet to go her way in order to have a chance at some tiebreakers and the Olympic Winter Games.

So we will watch here at 1:00pm and see what happens. The Bernard and Kleibrink squads likely have no interest in showing any mercy, so it should be fun to see the other teams scramble for what is still technically possible. The only team out of contention at this point is Kelly Scott.

I would like to take a moment to breathe a sigh of relief at not making predictions this week. And I shall point out that on this here TCN blog,  Mary Anne Arsenault picked Kelly Scott to win… and Cheryl Bernard to come in last. 

This is how close this field is.

[CCA photo of Jennifer Jones by Michael Burns]

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Playah: Cheryl Bernard

 by Margo Weber

Okay Cheryl Bernard, the day isn’t even over and you know you’re my girl.

You are the leading lady of the story that is unfolding before our eyes. You are having a great week, and just seem to be in the zone. You know how to squeak out these wins, and now you just need one more to guarantee a bye into Saturday’s final.

Now, the whole Playah of the Day concept allows me to only pick people who are easy on the eyes, and Ms. Bernard, you’ve got it covered.  You make me want to drop that last 30 pounds that have been nagging me, whiten my teeth and run to the nearest tanning salon. I also have to give a shout out to the ponytail you rocked this morning... super cute.

So... you’ve gone from perennial contender to now, possibly, a favourite to qualify for the Olympic Winter Games and wear the red and white. You made two awesome shots in your first game against Krista McCarville, won a very iffy measure against Amber Holland, had a solid win over Crystal Webster, wowed us against Kelly Scott and made a great little run back to beat Shannon Kleibrink in a wild game this morning. Now you’re all alone at the top of the standings at 5-0. Everyone else has at least two losses.

Girl, you go have a glass of red. You deserve it.

[Edmonton Journal photo by Chris Schwarz]

No picks! No idea!

by Margo Weber

So... I didn’t make picks, aka predictions, at the beginning of the week. And I’m getting all these emails from people asking me: why not?

In short... because I didn’t fricking know! And still don't.

This thing is a crapshoot, and I don't envy anyone who puts their picks into the public forum: just as Jim Armstrong, Sherry Middaugh, Mike Harris and Mary Anne Arsenault did for The Curling News.

I had said in an email earlier in the week that I had good feelings about Kevin Martin and Jeff Stoughton. And on the women’s side... Shannon Kleibrink and Jennifer Jones. Seriously obvious picks so... why bother, right?

And I’m not sure why anyone cares what a self-professed couch curler thinks about the field... but I do tend to shed light on who I WANT to win; so here goes.

On the women’s side... I would love to see my girl Susan O’Connor from Team Cheryl Bernard in Vancouver. And Sasha Carter? Haha, her hilarious hairstyles would totally fit in with the international crowd... although Team Kelly Scott is now in big trouble at 1-4.

I like Team Jones... they have dominated the past few years, although they've been all over the place the last month, winning spiels but then failing to qualify. Their current 2-3 record leaves them in trouble, too.  I also like the Kleibrink/Amy Nixon combo and think they might be our best chance at gold, drawing on their previous experiences in Italy in ’06. And Team Stefanie Lawton seems sooooo nice!

So for the women... for me, it’s a draw.

The men? I’d love a new face to win it all. I didn’t go bold and choose Kevin Koe to win (like my friend Al Cameron did for TCN and the Calgary Herald), but I would love that! Young team, would look good for the sport. How about Randy Ferbey? That would be fun! I don’t think it’s gonna happen, but what a comeback that would be!

I'm not into the Martin thing... and as of right now I don’t think it will happen. There seems to be two Kevin Martin zones. The ‘I can do anything’ zone... and the ‘I can complain about exterior factors and let them bother me’ zone. Kevin is in the second zone. So until this changes, he ain’t gonna win.

I’ve covered Alberta... I suppose there are others... like Glenn Howard. And I’d be totally cool with the white belts going to Vancouver.

Those are my two cents. I guess I’m saying I don’t know.  But that’s okay... someone is going to win anyway.

(CCA photo of Jacquie Armstrong, left, and Sasha Carter by Michael Burns)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Playah: Carter Rycroft

by Margo Weber

Welcome to our first installment of Playah of the Day. We thought it would be a good idea to give props to the hard-working athletes out there and, in this forum, showcase talent both on and off the ice. Daily we will provide you, the reader, with our take on who the real superstar of the day is.

This person must be tearing up the sheets. This person must be showing mad skillz. This person must be hot enough to be the curling poster boy for The Bay’s Olympic apparel... okay, there’s only one guy that fits that description: Carter Rycroft.

The second for Kevin Koe – who are now 2-0 – rocked a stellar 94 per cent in today’s afternoon game against Jason Gunnlaugson. He makes this stuff look easy.

I knew this guy would be a curling superstar ever since we both played in the 1993 Alberta Junior provincials. Even then he had boyish charm, superb curling prowess and the desire to win.

Oh Carter, I’ll never forgive you for losing not once, not twice, but thrice to Les Sonnenberg only to send him off to the Pepsi Nationals whereupon he would be disqualified for drinking at a junior event.

Carter, we know you would have done the same thing. That’s why you’re our Playah of the Day.

[CCA photo by Michael Burns]

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Margo Weber: The Olympic Dream

[Welcome back Margo Weber; blogstar from the 2009 Tim Hortons Brier, she is back to pontificate on the Tim Hortons Canadian (Olympic) Trials. Here's her big-picture portrait of this amazing Olympic canvas...]

by Margo Weber

It all comes down to this, folks... because it’s finally here, what everyone has been talking about. The Roar of the Rings.

We’ve been waiting for this for years and it promises to be the best display of curling... possibly ever. This is an event with the best men’s and women’s curlers in Canada. Two teams will be crowned Olympians and go on to represent our country at home in Vancouver in February.

This is huge.

The last Olympic Trials I saw in person was in Brandon in 1997. I held my breath when Sandra Schmirler made ‘the shot’, and I sat right behind the sheet when Mike Harris casually walked away to get a drink of water, and walked back an Olympian.

I have very clear memories of sitting down with Shannon Kleibrink after her eventual loss to Team Schmirler, and with tears in her eyes she said she wasn’t upset at that moment because she’d lost the game... she just missed her kids.

This is a big deal. People put their lives on hold for this. Some wait just a few more years to start a family. Some set their careers aside, and even let them slip. Certainly most players sacrifice every vacation day they have just to prepare themselves for what might be. The Olympic Dream is a costly one.

Schmirler famously burst into tears after her final rock in that game. She was barely able to shake hands. She later explained that she simply did not know how she was going to leave her babies.

Some teams have been a threat for years. Kevin Martin, Glenn Howard, Jennifer Jones... they all qualified two seasons ago. They’ve been waiting, planning and preparing. Jason Gunnlaugson and Crystal Webster were pleasant surprises... perhaps they have less pressure on them. Maybe they will carry less on their shoulders as they march into Rexall Place. Someone like Jeff Stoughton knows he should be there... and will just take it one game at a time.

For us spectators, we sit... and wait... and, now, finally, we get to watch. And be glad we aren’t the parent of someone out there on the ice.

But we all know there are curling superstars in the making out there. Regardless of what happens, at least some of the athletes on the eventual Olympic teams will be brand new, frst-time Olympians.

They likely have no idea how their lives will change.

[CCA photo of Cheryl Bernard (nice shaaawwwt!) by Michael Burns]

• Behind-the-scenes pics of Opening Ceremonies and gab session
• Winner of our Glenn Howard curling condom trivia contest (say what?!)
... and more!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

mrnn Trials Predictions

As promised, here is yet another fearless Canadian Olympic Trials prediction from one of The Curling News' prognosticators.

As mentioned yesterday, no less than four TCN experts have made their calls in the current December issue, available via subscription now.

Today's picks come from Halifax, and were calculated back in late November, when "it was 15C on my deck this afternoon and the thought of Winter Olympics seems sooo far away." The author? Mary Anne Arsenault, skip and former second for Colleen Jones.


1. Scott – if Schraeder is on I think they'll pull out the win.
2. Jones – scrappy enough to be among the leaders; they find the wins.
3. Lawton – if they've developed their draw game, they'll be tough to beat.
4. McCarville – my darkhorse pick; well coached; depends on Tara George.
5. Kleibrink – not seeing it for them again.
6. Holland – inexperienced but seem to have great team dynamics.
7. Webster – lacking in 'big game' experience; hard to know how they'll respond.
8. Bernard – not seeing the consistency needed to win an event of this calibre.

1/2. Martin – proven best shooters around.
1/2. Howard – next to best shooters with better team dynamics.
3. Koe – should be near the top if they can stay in the moment.
4. Stoughton – oh so close once again.
5. Ferbey – still have plenty of talent but will the drive be there?
6. Gunner – they'll turn a few heads but lack the experience to finish.
7. Middaugh – appear to be a team of individuals.
8. Simmons – could be a frustrating tourney.

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Olympians are coming

EDMONTON – Oh, the stories they’ll tell.

The Olympians are coming. No, not the handful of medallists among the competitors at the Roar of the Rings, which starts Sunday... they will soon be the stars of the show, as we all know.

We’re talking about the members of teams Sandra Schmirler – minus one, sadly,  of course – and Mike Harris (Karuizawa, 1998)... and teams Kevin Martin (incl. the two Dons) and Kelley Law (Ogden, 2002)... and even a couple of bodies from teams Kleibrink and Howard-slash-Gushue, from Pinerolo, 2006.

The Canadian Curling Association is flying them in for the opening weekend, which starts tonight with the Opening Banquet; continues Saturday with opening night At The Patch; and peaks with the start of play on Sunday, with the Opening Ceremonies and appearances in the Keith’s Patch for some interactive “Up Close and Personal” sessions.

Good on the CCA for celebrating its Olympic Trials past, and welcome to The Roaring Game’s heavy medallists.

And the stories they’ll tell!

Missing out on Edmonton? Sure, TSN TV – in High-Definition all week, for free – will help make up for it, but there really is no substitute for watching the games live in person. In our humble opinion.

As for these Olympic stories, rest assured that The Curling News will take care of you... be your fly on the wall... through this here TCN Blog, and/or through the @curling Twitter feed, and/or via the post-Trials January issue, in our popular They Said It department.

And also through the lateral efforts of our commander-in-chief, The Curling Guru, who also writes a weekly Sun Media column.

All we ask in return is for you to subscribe to The Curling News, which is delivered six times per annum to your door in a protective polybag, via first-class mail. Please support us in our quest to provide the ultimate in essential curling news and information, across multiple media platforms.

We guarantee different content in all these deliverables mentioned, and your patronage will help us consolidate our position as number one in the curling media world.

And those who give the gift of The Curling News, aka subscribe a friend or family member over the next couple of weeks – say by December 18 – will see that recipient receive a gift card notice in time for the holidays, explaining your gift.

Tomorrow, later in the day, another TCN expert gives her Trials predictions, in addition to those four who have already seen their fearless forcasts appear in the December issue – world wheelchair champion and six-time Brier skip Jim Armstrong; TCN columnist and Calgary Herald curling wizard Allen Cameron; CBC talkie and Olympian Mike Harris; and four-time bronzed STOH skip Sherry Middaugh.

That’s a fifth expert, tomorrow, right here on the blog.

Sunday, just prior to the opening ceremonies, ace blogstar Margo Weber weighs in  with her first of many Trials postings. You remember Madge, and her partner Dalene Heck, blogging from last March’s Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary, right? (use search box at top left)

We’ll have lots from Margo, and some other surprise blogstars, throughout the week here in Edmonton.

And we do it all for curling. We simply love curling, and we know you do, too. Thanks again for your support, folks.

POSTSCRIPT: Have you been following our tweets? If not, make way and follow, because you have missed the following:

Jennifer Jones, Glenn Howard first to arrive
Randy Ferbey’s alternates anger; Glenn says relax
• Will the Mythbusters blow up a curling stone? Vote for it...
• Trials predictions: what does the math say?
• Another curling calendar gal takes it off (NSFW/age warning)
• Canadian provincial playdowns in high gear this weekend
• Mammoth European championships ready in Aberdeen
• Geez, this guy seriously dislikes The Ferb
Hec Gervais, St. Albert native, would have been proud
• World Curling Tour event results and wrapups
• Ferbey credited with finding new CCA/WCF sponsor
• Curling meets Tailgating in Green Bay Packerland

... and more!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Curling News: December 2009 issue

The December 2009 issue of The Curling News, our Olympic Trials special, is ready for your to devour.

Head to our website for hints on the contents, which include multiple Trials stories and previews (including picks from four TCN experts); The Curling News TV Guide; Santa Hemmings; Hollywood on curling (again); our annual book sale is on again; three free digital ways your curling club can boost its profile; and the remarkable story of a World Curling Tour skip who is blind in one eye.

And so much more!

Check it out, and be sure to subscribe today for super-fast service.

As for other curling news, be sure to visit and click “Follow” on The Curling News Twitter feed, which is overheating with content, including:

• the shocking double-extra-end finish to The Dominion Curling Club Championship

• additional pics of the mayhem on our Facebook Group page (join today!)

• yesterday's World Curling Tour results

• two different world wheelchair curling event results

• the daughter of a famous curler is back in provincials

• a new iPhone curling application

• more Roar of the Rings team previews

• getting to know Jennifer Jones

... and more!

Friday, November 27, 2009

2010 Curling Calendar On Sale

A new curling calendar launches today, featuring action photography of some of the biggest names in The Roaring Game.

The 2010 Capital One Curling Calendar is now on sale for $16.95 (before shipping and handling) and features such rock stars as Jennifer Jones, Kevin Martin, Brad Gushue, Stefanie Lawton, Team Kevin Koe, Scottish wonderkid Eve Muirhead, and more.

“It’s a great idea and it’s an honour to be included,” said Glenn Howard, one of sixteen Olympic hopefuls who are skipping teams at Edmonton’s Roar of the Rings Olympic Trials starting December 6.

Howard’s image, captured by Capital One Grand Slam of Curling photographer Anil Mungal, appears on the cover. His team also makes an appearance inside.

“This is great for curling fans and it provides excellent exposure in an Olympic year. Curling is booming these days.”

The 13-month wall calendar hangs 9.5” x 24” in wire-o-bound for a perfect finish, and is printed in brilliant colour on the same high-grade,  glossy stock as the 2009 Women of Curling Calendar. Each calendar is also packed into a corrugated sleeve to prevent shipping damage.

The 2010 Capital One Curling Calendar is an all-ages, all-curling product and even includes event listings from far across the sport spectrum. Events both in Canada and around the world – even during the summer months – are included, making this a handy curling reference guide.

Net proceeds will be split equally between The Curling News and Shoot For A Cure Curling, the charitable campaign of the Canadian and American Spinal Research Organizations, which aims to cure spinal injuries and paralysis and boost awareness of wheelchair curling, an official 2010 Paralympic sport.

Click here to order your 2010 Capital One Curling Calendar... just in time for the holiday season!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


What’s all this, then?

Meet Buttons, the newest curling mascot (photo by Anil Mungal, click to zoom in). Buttons was unveiled as The Dominion Curling Club Championship sprang into gear yesterday, and here he/she (?) is with L’Equipe Québéc, aka Team Quebec.

There are 28 teams here representing, for the first time ever, all 14 provinces and territories, including Nunavut... whose ladies team is a remarkable 2-1 early in the competition.

The action runs through Sunday at Toronto’s St. George’s Golf and Country Club. Fans can also follow online through The Dominion curling website which features the Canadian Curling Association’s live scoring system, Curlcast.

There’s another photo on our Twitter page (actually a Twitpic image) as well as more stuff on:

• Curler slays demons and turns his life around, now off to Olympic Games
• Regina to host 2011 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship
Glenn Howard returns to Brantford today and thru the weekend
• Olympic curlers set to invade Kelowna, BC
• Wheelchair and vision-impaired curling workshops to PEI

... and more!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What's the difference?

Q: What’s the difference between an Olympic curling year and any other curling year?

A: Media. media. media.

Curlers in San Jose, California managed to get NFL football player Vernon Davis out onto the curling ice earlier this month, and in any other year, the story would have run in local media only. Perhaps with a photo.

We know this because various celebs have tried curling in the past couple of years... and we’ve promoted their experience, right here at The Curling News. Us, and local media where the experience took place.

However, with Vancouver 2010 less than three months away this story has exploded in this viral media universe, complete with video and multiple still pics.

Example: between 9:00am and 9:30am eastern time this morning, no less than 45 media outlets had posted the story online, and the counter was still running.

May we suggest more of these kinds of promotional efforts, from now until Games time. The recipe is simple: grab celeb; apply to ice; write and film.

Rinse and repeat.

Did you miss The Curling News Blog? This may be our first post since last Thursday, but there’s been lots to follow on our Twitter feed. Such as:

Rizzo beats Kleibrink for 11K; McEwen wins on a measure
Glenn Howard, Mike Harris and “Buttons” open The Dominion Curling Club Championship tonight
• When will they curl on Vancouver's super-cool new/old city rink?
Wayne Middaugh would like to set the record straight:
• Canada loses to Japan at Vancouver wheelchair curling exhibition
• You can follow the Olympic Torch journey online
• No tolls on Team Gushue highway
• 30K raised in little Carmen
Kevin Martin moves into top spot on Tour money list
• The Daceys are off to Chelyabinsk, Russia
• Vernon, BC gets a Grand Slam
• TSN HD channel available free during Olympic Trials

And so very much more. Click on "Follow" at the top left of this page...

[Photo by Associated Press]

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Martin's Battle of the Blades

We must admit, we were having fun with this headline.

"How about: Martin traded to Storm... for Goldline brush and and bag of Chee-tos?"

You know, that sort of thing.

But on to the story.

In advance of his appearance at The National in January, the second Capital One Grand Slam of Curling event of the season, Kevin Martin made a series of promotional appearances in the Guelph, Ontario area earlier this week.

Martin started with a Monday morning trip to a curling club he has visited before. It was the KW Granite Club in Waterloo, the host venue of two TV Skins Games held earlier this decade.

Martin stepped into a club game to call an end and throw a couple of stones (he stole a point). He then answered an unending stream of questions from club members and autographed pictures and brooms.

According to the Waterloo Record, his best story was on the eccentricities of third John Morris. Morris once showed up for a Brier morning draw with an incredibly wrinkled, squashed team jacket. Fearing Morris’s dishevelled appearance was due a late night, the Alberta skip was relieved and amused to hear that Morris had this particular jacket rush-mailed to him from home in an superstitious effort to snap a shooting slump. It worked.

On Tuesday morning, “The Old Bear” dropped by the June Avenue Public School in Guelph, meeting approximately 60 Grade 5 and 6 students to discuss the importance of hard work, and staying focused to achieving goals.

Later that afternoon, Martin laced up his skates to become a Guelph Storm hockey “Player for a Day.”
The 2008 world champion met with Storm players at the Sleeman Centre, site of The National, to provide a motivational address. Afterward, Martin hit the ice with the team and took part in the club’s preliminary practice drills… and even scored a goal (TCN photo by Anil Mungal).

“It was an absolute blast,” Martin told The Curling News. “The guys were real friendly. It was fun to get hockey equipment on for the first time since 1982.

“The biggest message I was trying to get across was believing in themselves. Everyone at this level is good enough to do it. Only the ones that believe deep down they can do it will succeed.”

The Edmonton skip concluded his Ontario spin with a trip to the Guelph Curling Club on Tuesday night. There was another on-ice tutorial session, this time with players from the local Guelph high school league, followed by a meet and greet autograph session with club members, and Guelph Mayor Karen Farbridge.

Curling Getaway contest

As our Twitter followers know, today is the last day to enter the Uncle Ben's Curling Getaway contest.

The Team Kevin Martin sponsor is offering two western Canadians a chance to win a trip to the Roar of Rings, the Tim Hortons Canadian (Olympic) Curling Trials, on the championship weekend.

Click here to enter before 11:59pm ET tonight.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tim Hortons curling stories

Curling sponsor Tim Hortons  introduced a curling contest back in early October, part of their “Every Cup Tells a Story” campaign.

Websurfers were invited to tell their own curling story (involving Tim Hortons, of course)  and the public gets to vote, online, for the best tale.

The winning storyteller will be named Grand Prize Winner of a trip for two to the final weekend of the Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials in Edmonton, which starts on December 6. The trip includes flights, accommodations and tickets to the Women’s and Men’s Finals at the Roar of the Rings.

Storytellers could even upload their own photo to accompany their story.

Why are we using the past tense? Apparently, the contest is now closed.

Geez. While we are somewhat amazed we didn’t hear about this contest, we are also miffed no one told us about it. Like.... Tim Hortons? The Canadian Curling Association, perhaps?

While TCN Blogreaders might not be able to submit their own story, they can still vote on their favourite story, and help declare the winner. Visit this page and scroll through the multitude of curling stories, and cast your vote today!

TCN readers could definitely play a role in the decision, for there seems to be an eight-way-tie going on between For the love of the game (from Hubbards, NS); 3 Generations (from Waterford, ON); The Day I Knew (Bowmanville, ON); Horsmans take on Jimmy The Kid (Quispamsis, NB); Summer of 2001 (Chase, BC); How I Met My Husband (Belnan, NS); Twilight Curling (Calgary) and the story we voted for: A Curling Legend (Norwood, ON).

Anything else? Yes, lots, but you need to follow the TCN Twitter feed, to learn more about:

• how you can watch the Olympic Torch run LIVE online
• Fox Sports Austalia and their curling insults
• Roar of the Rings tickets: are sales lagging?
• video of Olympian Deb McCormick on Last Call with Carson Daley
• Yowza, Mr, Zawada
• Manitoba team heads to Dominion Club Championship
• PEI teams chasing Canada Games berths

and more to come throughout the day, of course...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Middaugh a changed man?

What’s in the news today?

• TCN publisher George Karrys suggests in the Toronto Sun that Wayne Middaugh (CCA photo by Michael Burns), fresh off his qualifying run in Prince George, might want to grab some of that “piss and vinegar” that young Jason Gunnlaugson has been talking about. Is the “black hat” version of Team Middaugh ready to Roar?

• Speaking of the Gunner, a CurlingZone troll has sniped a guess at a poor won/loss record for the Beausejour, MB squad at the upcoming Olympic Trials. Does anyone remember Mike Harris in 1997? Bob Weeks certainly does...

• Sweden wins in Bern, Ulsrud captures another title, the 50th Monctonian is history; Fowler, Epping and McCarville are pumped, Mark Nichols wants to “get away from curling”, Sherri Singler speaks, the Canadian Mixed, curling academy goes green, and more. It's all on the TCN Twitter feed, that is ...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Olympic flame on curling ice

From the last post, to the big reveal.

2006 Olympic champion Mike Adam, alternate for Brad Gushue’s victorious foursome and the young man who committed one of “the most selfless acts in sport history” became the first Canadian high-performance curler to carry the Vancouver 2010 torch... and the first-ever human to slide with it down a sheet of curling ice.

The Katie Greene photo above shows Adam alongside former Team Gushue Olympic coach and 1976 Brier champion, Toby MacDonald.

“It was awesome,” Adam told The Curling News.

“In spite of it being Friday the 13th I didn’t wipe out... and I didn’t set the club on fire, either.”

Adam was on the ice at the St. John’s Curling Club in Newfoundland and Labrador, the traditional home base of Team Gushue and many of the island’s top competitors, and accepted the torch from the previous bearer, 2007 Canadian junior champion curling skip Stacie Devereaux.

Adam then proceeded to slide halfway down the sheet of ice. Then, he did it again... nice and slowly, for the assembled media.

“I was thinking, if I slide past real fast to get to the other end, I’ll blow by the people that are lined up to see it, and they don't get a chance to see it that well,” said Adam.

“So I figured I’d go slowly, and give everyone the real gist of it, show the symbolism.”

Adam enjoyed the technical term VANOC organizers gave to this particular segment of the torch’s unprecedented 45,000 km journey, which will visit 1,000 Canadian communities.

“They call it an ‘Alternative Mode of Transportation,’” Adam chuckled.

Adam was one of 160 torchbearers who carried the flame more than 110 kilometres across Newfoundland on Friday.

On a day when his Olympic teammates with Team Gushue were officially eliminated in the race to defend their championship in Vancouver, thousands of miles away in Prince George, British Columbia, Adam spoke poignantly about his return to the club.

“It’s been almost a year and a half since I’ve been back here,” said Adam, who now lives in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.

“It would have been great to have everybody back here for this, but the boys had to be out west.

“I give the organizers full marks for including curling, and our team, in this amazing journey.”

There’s more from Adam and his big Friday in today’s edition of the St. John’s Telegram.

Later today, Alberta front-end curling legend Don Bartlett runs with the torch, in his original hometown of Gander, Newfoundland.

Other Olympic curlers slated to carry the torch are Russ Howard (Moncton, Nov. 29), Don Walchuk (Moose Jaw, Sask. on Jan. 10), alternate Ken Tralnberg (Hague, Sask. on Jan. 11), Marcie Gudereit (Lloydminster, Sask. on Jan. 12), alternate Sandra Jenkins (Salmon Arm, B.C. on Jan. 27) and Georgina Wheatcroft, who will bear the flame at Whistler Olympic Park on Feb. 5.

The full list of 300 Canadian Olympians who will act as torch bearers can be seen here.

What the heck pt II

A couple of days ago, we asked: What the heck is going on here?

And now we ask it once again: in the Katie Greene photo above, what the heck is going on here?

We’ll tell you shortly. But for now, follow The Curling News Twitter feed and discover:

• who is in or out of Olympic contention, and the fate of the defending champions
• which country just saw TV curling fall into the endangered zone
• which city is hosting an on-ice border battle
• which low-profile curler is featured in the Financial Post
• what’s red, menacing, and located 55 feet from each curling hack

And much more later on... of course!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Margo's pre-Trials picks

[She's baaaaaack! Margo Weber, guest blogger during last February's STOH (controversially) and also the Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary (archive here) has been watching the Road to the Roar in Prince George, courtesy of TSN. What's on her mind?]

by Margo Weber

CALGARY – So, I entered a curling pool.

And this morning I had a looksee at the draw for the men’s side of the Road to the Roar, and I realized three of my qualifying picks fall to each other in the C-side.

On the women’s side, it’s not looking much better.  I did not have Crystal Webster qualifying, although I must say I’m thrilled all these Alberta teams are doing so well. I, for the record, with many others... had Kelly Scott (cue downer music).

It seems I will not win this pool. But overall, I’ve had a pretty good history of predicting who is going to do well at these things – in other sports, mind you – with a few minor blips.

However, just being in a pool raises some questions. There are curling pools? Who knew? I think it’s the first one I’ve been involved in. Maybe I’ve seen a Brier pool once or twice. The person who organized the pool itself is a well-known competitor who has already made it to the Roar of the Rings in Edmonton. Whom did she pick? Did anyone actually curling in this event enter the pool? Is that okay... or is that really, really bad?

It was only $25.00 but... let’s say someone bet on themselves, or bet against themselves... let’s say someone bet against his wife? Or his/her sister? Teams have a long history of buying themselves in calcuttas at cashspiels, so I suppose it’s all been done before.

Sigh. I believe I’m just bitter because, at best, only five of my eight picks have an opportunity to qualify. Not that any of my picks are out... they just fall to each other in the draw.

Can I get on another tangent here? Speaking of the draw...

Since when is it okay that teams which lose their first two games all get bundled up to play each other in the C-side? These teams arguably are the bottom four of twelve... yet because of the draw, one of these teams will make it to a C-final just by beating each other out. Horrible.

The only saving grace is that the loser of the B-side qualifier drops into that spot. Perhaps this is to make is easier for that team. Except it’s not easier if they are coming off a loss, and the C-side team just rattled off two wins.

So... will  I enter a Roar of the Rings pool? Of course. I’m assuming my friend – the competitor – will not have time to organize that one. Nor would she want to know who would or wouldn’t bet on her!

Maybe I will organize the pool myself. But I will inevitably struggle between whom I want to win... whom I think should win... and who I actually picked in the pool.

Maybe if I bet on who I don’t want to win... I’ll be happy either way.

Oh, and for the curious? Here were my picks:

A – Wayne Middaugh
B – Bob Ursel (CCA photo by Michael Burns)
C – Jeff Stoughton
C – Brad Gushue

A – Kelly Scott
B – Cathy King
C – Marie-France Larouche
C – Krista McCarville

Two in, six to go

And then there were 10.

The field for December’s Roar of the Rings grew by two teams yesterday as Winnipeg’s Jeff Stoughton and Calgary’s Crystal Webster (CCA photo above by Michael Burns) qualified for the Canadian Olympic Trials.

One more will be added by about 7:30pm ET tonight, when Kelowna’s Kelly Scott finishes her battle with Thunder Bay’s Krista McCarville in the women’s B-final. That game starts at 4:00pm ET (live on TSN).

Another will be added later tonight, when the men’s B-final takes place (starting at 9:30pm ET, again on TSN). That one will feature the winner of Edmonton's Ted Appelman versus Mike McEwen of Winnipeg facing off against the winner of Pat Simmons (Davidson, SK) and Wayne Middaugh (Toronto).

What else is happening?

Well, the TCN Twitterfeed is humming again, click here (and click on Follow) to see nine Tweets from earlier this morning...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shout it out loud

What the heck is going on here?

Hang in there... you'll find out later today.

BTW, today's Twitterfest – so far – includes:

• TSN curling season kicks off today
• Two features on Debbie McCormick’s Olympic Team USA
• The fabled Monctonian turns 50 this weekend
• U.S. curlers invade Peterborough, Ontario
• Four summaries of Day Two pre-Trials action

Go to the TCN Twitter page and click "Follow" to... er... follow...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

2-0 at Olympic Pre-Trials

The action has been intense at the CN Centre in Prince George, with lots of late steals throwing the “Road to the Roar” pre-Trials race wide open.

Another example was yesterday’s show from 2007 world champion Kelly Scott. Her Kelowna team took two in the 10th end and then stole the extra frame to shock Cathy King of Edmonton by an 8-7 count.

Top seeds are falling left and right, and as a result you’ve got teams like Calgary’s Crystal Webster, Saskatchewan’s Sherry Anderson and Pat Simmons, Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen and Ottawa’s youthful Rachel Homan all sharing the lead at 2-0... and only two wins away from a berth in the Canadian Olympic Trials.

Other big names at 2-0 include Jeff Stoughton and Brad Gushue, the finalists from the 2005 Olympic Trials in Halifax.

Homan, the junior phenom we first profiled two years ago, is shown above in yesterday’s action (CCA photo by Michael Burns). In her second match, Homan gave a quick three-spot to Marie-France Larouche of Quebec but roared back to score a 7-4 win. She won her first one 8-6 over Quebec’s Eve Bélisle.

You can also see more Road to the Roar pics on The Curling News Facebook Group page – join the group!

Meanwhile, yesterday’s TCN Twitterfeed was belching smoke, as we posted 36 times, 17 of them retweets from CurlingZone’s excellent live game coverage.

Today’s Twitterroll so far includes:

• news from Wawa, Brighton, Guelph and Chatham, Ontario
• a former WCF prez is to unveil war memorial
• two Canadian Mixed preview spotlights
• viral video mixes hockey and curling (previous blogpost)
• a new Canadian athlete Twitter list has three curlers included
• a quickee look at pre-Trials co-leader Crystal Webster

And there is much, much more curling news to come throughout the day! Go to the TCN Twitter page and click on “Follow” at top right...

Hockey curling stone

Olympic sponsor Samsung has a new series of viral videos out and about, including this one featuring a hockey player, a goaltender and curling stone.

One guess as to what happens.

AdGabber’s Steve Hall bemoans the fact that while we all know such videos are faked, we still feel compelled to watch them.

“We are still amazed,” says Hall. “It’s like a Saw movie. We don’t want to watch but we can’t turn away as people are slowly and gruesomely mutilated in new and different ways.”

We don't blame Hall for his dismay: after all, he's paid to watch hundreds of these things each month. Talk about maddening.

But for curling fans, this is fun stuff.