Thursday, May 28, 2009

Curling Camps: the Glenn Howard Fantasy

In today’s post: the first in a camp series, Kelly Scott’s new lead, Kevin Martin writes his own press and the weirdest curling music video EVER.

So... here’s a first in a series of posts on some of the various “curling camps” available in the off-season. Today, we spotlight the last such camp on the calendar before the “start” of the 2010 Olympic season: the Team Glenn Howard Fantasy Camp.

The second-annual camp takes place in Guelph, Ontario from September 11-13. By all reports, last year’s inaugural camp was a smash hit, complete with a special appearance from 2007 world champion women’s skip Jennifer Jones. The camp even attracted the attention of Team Brazil (photo above), who of course went on to challenge the United States for a spot in April’s Ford Worlds in Moncton.

The 2009 edition promises more for curlers of every skill level. The registration form is available from this page and there’s a special offer available from team sponsor BalancePlus.

Register by June 15 and your name will be entered in a draw to win a new pair of BP 500 Series curling shoes!

Still with the Howards, front-enders Brent Laing and Craig Savill will be teaming up with former teammates Heath McCormick and Andy Ormsby for a four-man charity hike from July 24-26.

Here’s the catch (there are two). First, the entire distance must be covered on foot and all four team members must reach the checkpoints and the finish line together, and within 48 hours.

The second challenge, and the most important part, is for each team to raise a minimum of $2,500 for designated charity Oxfam Canada. But this team, named The Hacks, wants to raise double that amount.

To contribute, head to the Oxfam Trailwalker page and click on “sponsor a hiker”, type in The Hacks, and then choose on of the four team member names to make your donation.

In other news...

• Kelly Scott has announced the name of her new lead player. If you missed the news of the dismissal of former teammate Renee Simons, here’s two links to catch up on: the first and the second. Note the 22 comments posted from readers ...

• DID YOU KNOW: that Brooks may lose the Pheasant Classic, the two-year-old Tour event that has been declared the best event on said Tour?

• The final pieces of the 2009-2010 Season of Champions calendar have fallen into place, with the news that the Canadian Seniors will be in Ottawa; the CIS/CCA University Championships, presented by The Dominion, will take place at the Saville Sports Centre in Edmonton; and that the 2010 TSX Canadian Wheelchairs will be hosted by Kelowna ...

• Did you catch the final CBC Sports curling blogpost of the season from Grand Slam host Scott Russell? Well, there you go ...

• DID YOU KNOW II: that Winnipeg heat-thrower Jason Gunnlaugson has found a player for next season? The young team is into the Road to the Roar, aka the Olympic Pre-Trials qualifying spiel in Prince George, but contrary to public expectations, the Gunner did not pick up an experienced skip ...

• Who loves curling? Alfaj0r loves curling ...

• And so does new fan Hannah, a grade eight student in Moncton ...

• And so does Jamie Jay Singh, who asks, “Say do you like curling?” And we ask: “Uh, say what?”

Have you voted for the Curling emoticon yet?

• And finally, DID YOU KNOW III: that Kevin Martin is now a journalist? It’s true. He wrote a story about himself in the Mississauga News, check out the byline ...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

KMart and the Tamils

TORONTO – Curling superstar Kevin Martin missed a live radio appearance in Toronto on Wednesday due to the Tamil protests rocking Canada’s largest city.

Martin and cohorts, including third John Morris, are in Toronto for appearances with team sponsor Uncle Ben’s, which will see the curlers attend tonight’s Blue Jays baseball game at the Rogers Centre.

Yesterday, Martin was to appear alongside former pro hockey GM and current Rogers Sportsnet personality Doug MacLean for the last half hour of the Prime Time Sports show on FAN 590 all-sports radio, which is also broadcast on Rogers Sportsnet.

But the latest in a series of metro Tamil protests – which saw some 12,000 people marching along downtown streets while police barricaded all connecting sideroads – jammed up traffic to the point that Martin finally arrived at the FAN studios with just seconds left in the program.

Globe and Mail columnist Steve Brunt was the guest co-host, and he offered his opinion that Canadian curling has the most difficult qualifying procedure of all the Olympic sports, due mostly to the sheer number of elite-level teams that hail from from Canada.

What about hockey, asked host Bob “Bobcat” McCown?

No, replied Brunt, that team is selected and besides, there is still a much higher percentage of Canadian elite players in curling than in hockey.

In case you are wondering, Brunt doesn’t talk or write much about curling, but he has scripted the occasional gem, such as this one from 2007.

MacLean was then introduced and both McCown and Brunt guffawed that “MacLean hates curling anyways”.

MacLean, of course, immediately protested. “No, I love curling,” he said, and the Sportsnet guy then proceeded to declare that he knows “Canadian junior champion Susan Gallant, who is from Summerside, PEI.”

Uh... did MacLean mean Canadian junior men’s champion skip Brett Gallant, who is from Charlottetown?


The show then moved on to hockey, which is at least 80 per cent of the show’s content at any given time.

Martin finally arrived and was rushed into the studio.

“So were back, and we’ve got about sixty seconds,” said McCown. “Kevin Martin is here. Hi Kevin. Bye Kevin.” Laughs all around.

“Welcome to Toronto.” Indeed!

Brunt noted KMart is a “pro curler” and the Old Bear promptly denied this, saying “Nope, there’s no such thing.” Everyone promptly agreed there wasn’t enough time to start debating that issue... which could lead, of course, to this issue.

The only real question for Martin concerned his summer plans. “You take an hour off in the summer and then you’re back at it?” asked McCown.

Martin replied, to some surprise, that he is on vacation now and gets back into training on August 4. And that was that, show over.

Hi Kevin. Bye Kevin.

Martin photo by Anil Mungal/Capital One.
Protest photo by Mark Blinch/Reuters.