Joe Pavia

Liverpool Curling Club may be forced to shut its doors

Courtesy of Nova News Now>

Barb McKennaPublished on July 21, 2015

LIVERPOOL – It should be celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, but instead, the Liverpool Curling Club may be shutting its doors due to lack of membership.


John Armstong is president of the club. He says the organization’s remaining 30 members are struggling to figure out ways to open this fall, but the prospects are looking bleak.

“We just haven’t got enough members,” says Armstrong. “Last year we had 30 seniors, and the operating costs are $40 thousand a year.”

Armstrong says the club could survive if it had between 60 and 100 members, and possibly a little help from the Region of Queens Municipality.

The remaining members are currently undertaking a membership drive, trying to attract new and former members to the club.

“We have a list of all the old members that belonged they’re all going to get a phone call to find out if they’re interested,” he says. “If they’re not interested, why they are no longer interested, to see if there’s things that we can do to make them interested.”

To make matters worse, he says, the club has been slapped with a $900 electric bill for a twenty-day period when the club wasn’t even operating. Members are now trying to figure out of there is an electricity leak somewhere.

The club is asking the Region of Queens Municipality for help, not for cash, but perhaps forgiving the water bill or taking over the snow plowing in winter.

“We’re already in the process of having and meeting and going before them and trying to decide do you want to be the only community of this size in Nova Scotia that doesn’t have a curling club?”

The club is also hoping for some help from the Emera Centre.

“They have qualified people at the Emera Centre,” he says. “We have to pay a fee now to when you set the ammonia in motion, you have to have a certified licenced person to oversee that procedure for safety purposes, so we’ll ask them for maybe possibly your people could come over.”

Currently, that service is performed – for a fee – by a refrigeration company in Kentville.

The club also has a committee looking into how other curling clubs, like those in Barrington and Digby, manage to stay open.

The club does rent out its premises to groups and organizations, but Armstrong says it’s looking for ideas from the public for more uses for the facility when curling is not in season.

And, he says, people who take up a membership would probably not regret the decision.

“We had six new members this year, all six were retired people who just moved into the area. It’s a place for them to meet people and get acquainted. I think it would be sorely missed,” he says.

“It is a place where not only do you go to go to curl, there are social events on weekends and night times it can be a viable place for both curling and sociable things.”

He says the 30 current members of the club are becoming burnt out, not only with maintaining the building, but with constant volunteer fundraising and trying to attract more members.

The club is hoping to meet with the region soon to ask for some short -term assistance.

Without it, he says, he is not optimistic.

“Without municipal help it doesn’t look good.”

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Curling teams change with eye on Olympics

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


Chelsea CareyAlberta skip Chelsea Carey is looking for a new team. (QMI Agency)


The teams they are a-changing.

Sportsnet’s Kevin Martin predicted during the Brier that with the season coming to an end there would be some movement of teams at the elite level. He reasoned that the moves would come now because the quest for points during the present Olympic quadrennial really starts next season, not this season.

Chelsea Carey is seeking a fresh foursome after her Alberta-based rink decided to seek a new skip. Carey isn’t sure where she will be playing next season. Her ex-team picked up the current two-time world junior champion Kelsey Rocque, saying it was a move to position them better for an Olympic run.

In Saskatchewan, Stefanie Lawton said the Olympics is why she decided to replace the 51-year-old Sherry Anderson with the 2011 national junior champion, Trish Paulson, who is 24. Anderson took the hint and will be skipping three much younger players next year.

Closer to home, last year’s Ontario Brier skip, Greg Balsdon, is no longer with his team. He is re-uniting with his former teammate Don Bowser from Gatineau. Aaron Squires, a former Ontario junior champion, joins Balsdon’s old team.

With Jenn Hanna lead Trish Scharf asking on Facebook if anyone needs her services, it looks like Hanna, sister Stephanie, Brit O’Neil and Karen Sagle are getting together.

It could be an interesting off-season as more changes are expected.


Calgary’s Charley Thomas and Kalynn Park defeated Bowie Abbis-Mills and Tess Bobbie in the final to seize the national championship. Abbis-Mills is from Carleton Place. The winning duo was last year’s runners-up.

Over and above that, two things were apparent at the event. For a game that uses just five thrown rocks and one stationary rock an end, there were always plenty of stones in the house almost every end. The second thing was how well the Hunt Club handled the event. It was its second consecutive year hosting the Trials and sets it up well to handle next season’s national Travelers Curling Club championship.


The Rideau rink of Brett Lyon-Hatcher, Ben Miskew, Kurtis Byrd and Chris Lewis captured the provincial Tim Hortons Colts banner on the weekend.


Team Homan won the Pomeroy Inns & Suites Prairie Showdown in Grand Prairie, Alta., where they collected $12,000. Their only pool loss was to Silvana Tirinzoni, whom they then defeated in the final.


There is a send-off for Ontario’s Senior Men’s Champs tonight 9:30 p.m. at the Ottawa club. Team McCrady begins its quest for a national title in Edmonton beginning March 21 … The Alexander Keith’s City of Ottawa Men’s bonspiel begins today. The Grand Aggregate winner earns $5,600 plus money for previous events won … The Over the Rainbow Spiel begins Thursday with 36 teams coming from Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa … A new Pinty’s Grand Slam event, the Syncrude Elite 10 from Fort McMurray, Alta., begins Thursday. The 10 best men’s rinks will be there. The number of ends a team wins will decide each match. There are two ways to win an end: the team with hammer scores two or more points or the team without the hammer steals at least one point. Television coverage on Sportsnet begins Thursday afternoon. CBC will show the quarter-final as well as Sunday’s 1 p.m. final.

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The first of many shots in the Pre-Qualifying battle with Curling Canada. They are trying to get people to carry signs into Scotia Bank Place in Halifax during the Ford Men’s Worlds to show their annoyance with the new system. They are also threatening to boycott Curling Canada sponsors.

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Ottawa on curling map

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


Ontario skip Mark Kean will be in Ottawa for the mixed doubles curling trials beginning March 11. (QMI Files)Mat Camm.


Ottawa might just be the centre of the curling universe from now until the end of 2017.

There is the Tim Hortons Brier in 2016, the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings in 2017 as well as the national Travellers curling club championship Nov. 23-28, 2015.

Beginning Wednesday, another national championship begins — the mixed doubles curling Trials.

The mixed trials and the 2015 Travellers will both be at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club, which will make curling co-ordinator Bill Duck busy. He’s also the icemaker.

This same event was at the Hunt last year.

“The members got behind it again when we talked about it in the summer when there was an opportunity to put our name in the hat again. The members were gung-ho and we filled our volunteer requirements pretty fast,” related Duck.

All of the curling jurisdictions (except for Nunavut) are sending a team. Those 13 squads are joined by 19 other teams who get in by having sufficient Canadian Team Ranking System points.

There are seven participants from the just ended Brier including Adam Casey, Mark Kean and Dave Mathers. Glenn Howard is playing with his daughter Carly. The Scotties is represented by Lauren Mann, skip of Team Quebec and by Yukon player Patty Wallingham. There are plenty of married couples competing, including defending champions Kim and Wayne Tuck. There is even a mother/son team — Maureen and Tyler Miller from the Northwest Territories.

There will be four pools of eight with the top two from each pool after the round robin plus four teams with the next- best records advancing to a 12-team single elimination playoff.

“It’s a different game if you like seeing lots of rocks in play. Even with just five thrown rocks., said Duck.

Because players pay their own expenses, each team gets $100 per win. Despite all this, there was a waiting list for this year’s event. The winner advances to the world Mixed doubles championship in Russia in April.

There are six draws per day but just two on opening Wednesday at 7 and 9:30 in the evening. There is no admission charge. The finals is Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

The World Curling Federation is pitching the International Olympic Committee later this year to have mixed doubles included in the Winter Olympics as early as 2018.


The Tim Hortons Brier hit a nerve with fans in more ways than one as 1.25 million viewers tuned into the final with average viewership for the event at 587,000. The final attendance was 151,835. Team Ontario fifth player/coach Bryan Cochrane told the Sun when he returned to Ottawa that he felt “the broom taps (by Northern Ontario) were simply bush league. The bruise brothers were trying to intimidate our team and they were successful. There were a lot of comments from other teams supporting our boys.”


This region can claim another provincial winner. Cheryl McBain’s intermediate rink wins that event. Along with the skip were Susan Goheen, Sandy Aldridge and Sheryl Dobenko. Junior mixed regional winners were: 1A Jordie Lyon-Hatcher, B – Ryan Thompson-Brown. Apparently a player could only win this event if one had a hyphenated name. Bantam mixed regions winners were: 1A – Sam Mooibroek, B – Brady Lumley.


The Ottawa rink of Simon Festa-Bianchet, Chris Fliesser, Garrett Locoq and Jack Glover won North Bay’s Caldwell Banker & MU Surveying bonspiel.


The Zen-Noh world women’s curling championship begins this Saturday from Sapporo, Japan. TSN will broadcast all of Team Canada’s games and the playoffs ” … Rachel Homan’s team leaves Wednesday for the Pomeroy Inn and Suites Prairie Challenge in Grand Prairie, Alta. Ottawa’s Lee Merklinger is also going but playing for the defending champion from Switzerland — Silvana Tirinzoni.

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City View curling club looking to expand

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



City ViewThe City View curling club is looking to expand its facilities. SUPPLIED IMAGE

If you build it, they will come.

The three-sheet City View curling club is one of the busiest in the country, with some 540 members using the venue seven days a week, with no spare ice available.

That’s changing.

According to Cheryl Carroll, the new building committee co-chair, the club has obtained a mortgage to construct a new four-sheet building. “Our members are extremely excited,” she said. Though she recalls getting the funding wasn’t an easy task.

“We originally had financing promised to us from Ontario Infrastructure. And in 2014 when they called their election on May 1, they said, ‘Oh no, you do not meet our guidelines. This is too risky of a project’, which sent us for a loop. And none of the banks wanted to do it because we are a not for profit. We ended up having to go to a private lender to get the funds to build.”

Other governmental funding sources didn’t happen. The Feds provided $50,000 for accessibility. They still need to raise $500,000, but they have plans for that. They’re working with a fundraising firm and the committee is looking for community partners to sell the naming rights to — the building, the lounge or whatever partnership they can attract.

Carroll believes the extra sheet would enable the club to add 200 additional members. “We hope to attract at least 100 of that in the first year.” The new building will be on one level, with a rental hall that could accommodate 150 people. The club is installing a cement floor so there may also be the possibility of rink rentals in the off-season for non-curling activities. Their new home is also going to be completely accessible to wheelchair curling. The parking lot will also be expanded.

The land the new club will inhabit is at the back of their current lot. Most of the land the current building is on has already been sold to a contractor. They hope to move into the new facility by December 2015 and begin play in January 2016. “We will be able to curl when they are building. We will curl half the year in the old club, and half the year in the new club.”

The last curling sheets added to the region’s inventory was the two-sheet rink in Maniwaki, Que. in 2011. The year before, the Township of Russell doubled its sheets to four. Five sheets came online at the North Grenville curling club in 2005. In 2006, the Hylands facility at Uplands got torn down along with its four sheets.


In Tim Hortons Trophy and Colts regional winners were: 1A -Tracy Samaan and Doug Kee, B – Jennifer Harvey and Jonathan Beuk.


The OVCA Colts League final event of the season winner was the Buckingham, Que. rink of Luc Ouellette, Robert Pollender, Eric Labonte and Germain Dufour. The largest points earner over the four events was the team of Jason Picard, Braden Gray, Chad Valcour and Travis Stephenson. The top six teams advance to the $1,000 Tournament of Champions next weekend in Buckingham. The winner of the Richard Kargus Russell Men’s spiel was the team of Chris Gardner, Ryan Shillington, Scott Sagle and Patrick Boisvenue.


In regards to Monday night’s knees on the ice controversy, the Team Jacobs Facebook page explained their actions. “It was not done with any ill intention. When it happened and an apology was extended for that — the intent was a reminder to not “puddle” the ice surface … but it was not done with any aggressive or intimidating intent.” The pot is calling the kettle black.

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Ottawa’s Lynn Kreviazuk proud to coach Team Nunavut

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


lynnListowel Curling Club skip Allison Flaxey, third Katie Cottrill, second Lynn Kreviazuk, and lead Morgan Court are pictured after winning the Ontario Scotties in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. in 2014. MICHAEL PURVIS/QMI AGENCY FILES


You could hear the cheering from Prince George, B.C. all the way to Nunavut.

Ottawa’s Lynn Kreviazuk is in the northern B.C. town coaching Team Nunavut’s girls’ curling squad at the Canada Winter Games.

On Monday, the girls won their first ever curling game, 8-2 over Team Yukon, in the five events in which they have curled.

“The girls were so thrilled to win. They were all very proud after a well played game,” said coach Kreviazuk.

The girls, with an average age of 15, had yet to win a game at two Arctic Winter Games and three national junior championships. At the national juniors, their opponents usually scored in the double digits.

“We stay motivated by understanding that we are learning from every game, whether it was a win or a loss. We have many years left and understand that we face losses in order to grow.”

The much-travelled coach recently returned from Sweden where she went after competing in the World Universiade in Spain. Her sister Allison lives in Sweden.

On her way to Ottawa, Kreviazuk’s luggage got lost so she had to buy new stuff for her trip to Prince George.

But no matter what, she loves coaching the Nunavut girls. “These girls are like sponges. They really appreciate and absorb information they are told and it is very clear in their progress that they are listening.”

The team consists of Sadie Pinksen, Christianne West, Katie Chislett-Manning and Kaitlin MacDonald.

Their coach credits their success by having a better handle on the ice and improving their rock placement. “I love it,” she said. The finals are on Saturday.


Ottawa and Buckingham, Que., will be represented at the Everest Senior Championships in Edmonton in March.

Jeff McCrady, Brian Lewis, Mike Johansen and Graham Sinclair defeated their city rival Howard Rajala to take the Ontario title. In Quebec the Buckingham foursome of Ted Butler, Don Westphal, Mike Laroche and Maurice Cayouette captured the province.


In Bantam Mixed zones those advancing to regionals are: 1A Sam Mooibroek, B – Mackenzie Comeau; 2A – Jessica Thorne, B – Riley Griffith-Turtle; 3A – Abby Warren, B – Grace Wallingford; 4A – Brady Lumley, B – Michael Ryan.


Lynsey Longfield and Phil Dunville won the Rideau Mixed Doubles spiel on the weekend. In the 77th annual Merkley Cup, the Winchester team of Bill Hogaboam, Geoff Spruit, Phil Kleinswormink and Scott Smith won the eight-team event.


TSN’s Tim Hortons Brier coverage begins Saturday at 3:30 p.m.. Nova Scotia, PEI and Yukon have to play in the single round-robin pre-qualifying round with the final coinciding with the Brier’s first draw. Look for PEI to join the other 11 squads, including the first appearance by Team Canada, skipped by John Morris. In answer to an Ottawa Sun inquiry whether Team Ontario was the youngest team, the CCA’s Al Cameron replied. “I went to this amazing website and calculated the number of days each curler will have lived as of the opening day of the Brier, and then produced a team average. AND, by just a mere fraction, Team PEI is, in fact, younger than Team Ontario!

Each Team PEI player will have lived an average of 9,131.75 days as of the opening draw of the Brier. Each Team Ontario player will have lived an average of 9,135 days as of the opening draw of the Brier. So, on average, the Ontario guys are less than four days older than the PEI players.” A portent? The sisters of Team Ontario’s Dave Mathers and Scott Howard won the OUA provincials for Laurier.


The Carleton Ravens women’s curling team missed advancing to the OUA finals when it lost to Laurier 5-4 in the semi-finals Monday. The Ravens men’s team missed the playoffs … Ottawa Brier tickets went on sale Monday and 55 full packages sold in two hours.

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Gatineau’s Mann soaking up Scotties

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


Gatineau’s Lauren Mann loves it.

Skipping her Quebec team at the Scotties is a dream come true. “When you’re here I don’t think you can say anything is the worst,” she replied when asked by the Sun what the best and worst was at the tournament. “But if I had to guess I’d say not playing as well as we can.”

Mann won her province with an 8-2 round-robin record. The only teams that beat her were the two semi-finalists. Most of her success in her 19 years of curling came as a youth. The 30-year -old Affiliates Manager for the Canadian Cardiovascular Society says that the best part of her Scotties experience “is just reconnecting with the reasons I started playing competitively in the first place – competition and community.”

Mann lives in Aylmer, Que., with Don Bowser, who skips his own rink based out of Kingston. He is cheering her on in Moose Jaw. His squad did well this season garnering $18,000 to sit 19th on the money list.

The bilingual skip says, “Surprisingly we are not feeling intimidated at all. The fans here are great. In general the crowd cheers for good shots.” During a TSN Feb. 14 feature players were asked, “What’s your perfect Valentines Day?” The best reply was Mann’s who said something to the effect that who needs a romantic day when you can be playing at the Scotties.


Sunday’s Sandra Schmirler Telethon set a record for donations of $333,512. The total is still not known because there are still on-line donations being made. That’s about $80,000 more than the last record set in Kingston in 2013. The Foundation previously this year received a donation from a man in Castor, Alberta who curled until he was 95. When he died at 100 years of age he left $350,000 to be spread equally between 8 charities. This was also the first time Schmirler’s daughters have been on the telecast.


No one seemed to notice the pre-qualification rules when they were first used at less high profile events. Now that pre-qualification has sent the two arctic teams home from the Scotties plenty of fans have noticed. Much criticism has been aimed at the Canadian Curling Association for instituting this set of rules. An interesting take on the situation comes from Bill Tschirhart the highly regarded national coach. He was also the coach for the Yukon team sent home from Moose Jaw.

“We did not qualify out of the pre-qualification round which has now been instituted for the event, not by the Canadian Curling Association per se, but on the decree of its provincial and territorial associations. If you are among, what I suspect are thousands who oppose this process, please don’t petition the CCA. You need to express your feelings to your PSO (Provincial Sport Organization). It’s their minds that require changing!” Look for the relegation round winner Northern Ontario to be in the mix during the championship weekend. Wait for the hue and cry when this happens at the Tim Hortons Brier.


The Team Canada women at the World Universiade last week ended up earning a silver medal (one of Canada’s five medals) in an extra end 9-8 loss to Russia last Friday. Skip Breanne Meakin, Lauren Horton, Lynn Kreviazuk and Jessica Armstrong won every game including a round robin win over the same Russian team. Doug Kreviazuk coached them.


The senior provincials begin today in Glencoe near London. Representing this region are the teams skipped by Jeff McCrady, Howard Rajala, Cheryl McBain and Darcie Walker. The university provincials begin Thursday in Guelph. Both Carleton Ravens men and women’s teams will be represented.

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Camm rink looks for redemption

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



Mat CammMat Camm of Team Kean throws a rock as teammates David Mathers, left, and Scott Howard, right, begin to sweep during their final game against Team Epping at the Ontario Curling Championship at the Ontario Curling Championships at the Flight Exec Centre in Dorchester, Ont., on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015. Team Kean defeated Team Epping 7-6 in ten ends and will represent Ontario at the national championships. (CRAIG GLOVER / QMI AGENCY)


From the disappointment of 2011 to the joy of 2015.

Local curlers Mat Camm and David Mathers are still pinching themselves now that they are part of Team Ontario (with skip Mark Kean) going to the Tim Hortons Brier. Camm skipped his team to a silver medal at the 2011 Canadian Juniors with Mathers at second and their current lead, Scott Howard, as third. Saskatchewan’s Braeden Moskowy beat them on the last rock in an extra end. They will be facing him in Calgary. Moskowy is Team Manitoba third.

Their Recharge with Milk Tankard week was a rollercoaster but Mathers, a 23-year-old insurance broker, felt good about their chances early in the week.

“We felt good and we were really clicking,” he said.

They won their first four games handily, scoring 35 points to their opponents’ 13. Then disaster hit Wednesday when they lost both their games.

“Wednesday was more of a wake up call,” Mathers said. “We learned a lot from what we didn’t do well on Wednesday. We came back and bounced back with two great wins on Thursday. That’s kind of when we knew we were going to make the playoffs.”

The team credits their coach and fifth man, Bryan Cochrane of Russell, with helping them. According to Mathers, “He gave us some very valuable knowledge about A, our game plan and B, our releases on arena ice. It gave us a big time leg up over some of the other teams.”

Cochrane said, “There is a lot of laughter, but more importantly they love the game and will do anything to improve and perform. Their behaviour off the ice is a coach’s dream … their play on the ice is pretty good, too.”

Ironically, Cochrane doesn’t have the credentials to coach at the national level so will be their fifth man.

While Mathers was toiling in Dorchester, Ont., his girlfriend Lynn Kreviazuk (he lives at her parents’ house) was throwing second rocks for Team Canada in Granada, Spain, at the World Universiade.

“I’m so happy for him,” Kreviazuk told the Sun from Spain. “He and his team have worked so hard and peaked at the right moment this season.”

She will miss most of the Brier because she’s coaching at the Canada Winter Games until March 2. Team Canada has made Thursday’s playoffs with a 9-0 round robin record.

Mathers thinks their friendship is what holds the team together.

“There was never a doubt in our minds that we were going to bounce back in the semi-final. For a young team, we could have folded up the tent and gone home. And we came out and scored four in the first end against Middaugh and off we ran with it. Our team dynamics are off the chart.”

And what did the team do on Sunday after winning?

“We ordered some pizza and had a couple of drinks. I’m pretty sure we were all ready to go to bed at about 8:30. We were just out of gas.”

There is another Howard who won’t be doing anything during the Brier should the team decide to take a coach along.


This area has two provincial bantam champions. The Huntley rink of Kayla MacMillan, Sarah Daviau, Lindsay Dubue and Marcia Richardson with coach Jill Rivington took the girls side. The boys side went to Richmond’s Michael Morra, Sean Armstrong, Grant Fraser and Matthew Morra coached by Byron Scott. In Tim Hortons Colts the winners were: 1A – Douglas Brewer, B – Kevin Rathwell; 2A- Douglas Kee, B – Andrew Bugg; 3A – DJ Parent, B – David Cormier. At the Tankard, an Ottawa Special Olympics team captured the provincial championship. They are Conall Macmillan, Patrick Gratton, Chris White, Kimberly Gorin and Corey Hill.


In the Crystal Heart Curling Classic the open division winners were the team of Dawn Rodney, Charlene Sobering, Karen Johnson and Heather Kosierb. The senior division winning team was Betty Bush, Joanne Miller, Diane Wylie and Karen Peters from Kingston.


The Ottawa Youth League had its inaugural Ontario-Quebec Challenge on Sunday. Ontario won 54 to 42. TSN covers the Scotties beginning this Saturday at 3 p.m.

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Courtney Making Transition to Homan

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



Joanne CourtneyJoanne Courtney (QMI Agency)


Edmonton’s Joanne Courtney got a call from Rachel Homan about moving to Ottawa and playing second for the back-to-back national women’s champions. She leaves next week for Moose Jaw to see if she can help them three peat at the Scotties.

“When I got the phone call it was something I couldn’t say no to.” said Courtney, 25. “When I am out here (in Ottawa), it’s all about curling. I am very lucky to have that chance.”

Mark, a doctor and her husband of a year and a half, supported her decision to make the move.

“During curling season, I’m hardly home a lot anyway,” she said. “We are having our team practices, leaving Thursday then back Monday so we didn’t see a lot of each other anyway. It’s not the easiest thing living away from my husband. But there are a lot of marriages that work that way.”

While in Ottawa, Courtney lives with her brother and his girlfriend. He is a lawyer who is away most of the time in Vancouver working on a case.

“I keep her company,” she said.

Joanne and Mark keep in touch through phone and Skype.

“We were actually out west playing a lot this year so I was able to go home early for visits,” she said.

Courtney is also a nurse and did casual work at her Edmonton unit when she did visit.

The new second has been spending her time practising to throw more like the women and “then there’s the whole communication thing. It’s a lot in itself to learn so I’m glad I can focus on that.”

Team Homan are sticklers about practising, averaging three hours a day between on ice and meetings.

“We’re purposeful with our practices.” said Courtney. “We just don’t show up and lob rocks for three hours. We like to set a goal.”

Does she ever get sick of practicing?

“Part of it is managing your mind set, too. Sometimes you might not want to go to the rink but it’s about putting yourself in the moment and enjoying it.”

Their biggest competition at the Scotties, she said, is “whoever gets hot in the week.”

“We can’t take anyone lightly. If you relax at all, teams will be there to get you.”

The Scotties runs Feb. 14-22. Team Canada’s first game is against Quebec, skipped by Gatineau’s Lauren Mann.

This is the first Scotties where Northern Ontario has a spot, but must play down against the Yukon and Northwest Territories Feb. 12-14 to see which of the three gets the 12th spot at the tournament.


In Broker Link Mixed, the zone results were: 1A – Don Bowser, B – Rob Fraser; 2A – Doug Johnston, B – Andrew Bugg; 3A – Dave Cormier, B – Mike McLean; 4A – Wayne Williams, B – Dave Collyer. In Senior Mixed zones, the winners were: 1A – Brad Shinn, B – Dave Stanley; 2A – Paul Madden, B – Mike Johansen; 3A – Bill Adams, B – John Wilson; 4A – Randy Hutchinson, B – Terry Corbin.


In the U3 bonspiel, the under-three-years-experience winning team was Steve Astels, Chris North, Leland McInnes and Darcy Pierlot. The one-year-experience team winner was Ann White, Caroline Paradis, Carol Chamberlaine and Carol Marszalek.


2016 Ottawa Brier tickets go on sale in a little over two weeks. The pre-sale is Feb. 23 and the full sale begins Feb. 26 … The 17th annual Crystal Heart begins Thursday … Sportsnet will televise the semifinal and final of the Recharge with Milk Tankard on Sunday at 9 a.m. and 1:30.

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Carleton team off to Worlds

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



Breanne Meakin. (QMI Agency files)


They have a world of experience.

The CIS national champion women’s curling team is headed to Granada, Spain, for the 2015 Winter Universiade, which begins Feb. 3. The squad consists of three local women, Lauren Horton (third), Lynn Kreviazuk (second) and Jessica Armstrong (lead). Their skip is Winnipeg’s Breanne Meakin. Meakin didn’t lead her team to the national championships. Manotick’s Jamie Sinclair had the honour but left the team for other curling pursuits.

Meakin, 25, says the Ottawa gals sought her out, eventually settling things via Skype.

“I play with three amazing girls. Our personalities just fit. It was really quick for us.”

Meakin and Kreviazuk have world experience at the junior level. Both were world junior silver medalists. The team played together four times so far this season and have earned $7,350. The team also had intense multi-day practices.

Their coach, Doug Kreviazuk, says this all went toward their team expenses which, he reckons, will exceed $30,000, much of it raised by them team. The CCA has contributed a large amount. Carleton U, on whose site is a crowd-sourcing site where $1,895 of their $5,000 goal has been raised, also provided a small amount.

The Winter Universiade is a biennial international multi-sport event open to competitors who are at least 17 but not older than 28 as of Jan. 1 in the year of the Games. Curling starts Feb. 5. Canada faces nine countries, starting with South Korea. The final is Feb. 13.

“We are going in with an open mind,” Meakin said. “We are not too sure what we are going to get so we want to be prepared.”

Manitoba’s Matt Dunstone skips the Canadian men’s team. They leave for Spain on Friday.


Winners of the Best Western Intermediates were: 1A – Cheryl McBain and Norm Hewitt; B – Kerry McCue and Dwayne Lowe. Stick curling region winners were: 1A – Bob Bateman, B- Robert Matheson. In Bantam regionals winners were: 1A Kayla MacMillan and Ryan Hahn, B – Sierra Sutherland and Michael Morra. In Gore Mutual School Boy and School Girls zones the winners were: 1A – Sarah Throop and Adam Thompson, B – Mikayla Gemmill and Hayden Richmond; 2A – Jocelyn Taylor and Cameron Goodkey; B – Dayna Cullen and Sean Armstrong; 3A – Sierra Sutherland and Jordie Lyon-Hatcher, B – Beth Misener (no boy); 4A – Hannah Boudreau and William Parkes, B – Morgan Typhair and Eric Lansley.


A few parents and coaches approached the Sun about a bantam boys team that advanced to the provincials from the Richmond club but had three GTA boys on the squad. The OCA confirmed that the rules state players have to be from Ontario and registered at the same club to field a play-down team.

“I think this goes against the etiquette and spirit of the game,” Kevin McNamara said in an e-mail. “It was difficult to explain to my son that a team not from this area was able to qualify … and not live in the area or actually play at the club they represented.” Parachuting points to dwindling youth numbers, that is a major problem.


TSN carries the semifinals and finals of the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 … Scotties field declared. Joining Team Homan will be Patti Knezevic (B.C.), Val Sweeting (Alta.), Stephanie Lawton (Sask.), Jennifer Jones (Man.), Julie Hastings (Ont.), Tracy Horgan (N. Ont.), Lauren Mann (Que.), Mary-Anne Arsenault (N.S.), Suzanne Birt (P.E.I.), Heather Strong (Nfld.), Sarah Koltun (YK) and Kerry Galusha (NWT). The New Brunswick entry will be determined Sunday.

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Ottawa flavour at Scotties

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



Lee Merklinger of the Sherry Middaugh team. (QMI Agency Files)


Penetanguishene should be called Little Ottawa.

The home of this week’s Ontario Scotties has two Ottawa teams competing (from the Rideau, Team Varnes and the Ottawa, Team Inglis) as well as two players on other teams — Lee Merklinger with Team Middaugh and Cheryl Kreviazuk on Team Romain.

Scotties veteran Merklinger likes her rink’s chances.

“I think the week-long Scotties plays to our strength, which is longer-style events that mimic slams or the Canada Cups,” she said. “The schedule is set and we have a plan laid out for each day.”

The tournament is also in her skip’s home club, so a large fan base will be there. The second also feels the five-year-old squad has an advantage over the other teams because many are first-year teams and young.

When asked how many Scotties she has been in she said, “The better question is how many times have I won? Zero. It’s time to change that!”

Rhonda Varnes brings a wealth of Scotties experience with her from Manitoba, her home province. She was the youngest skip at the 2005 championship, then played third in 2006. Each time she was one game short of the playoffs.

“I know we are the underdog team,” she said, “but we were the underdog in regionals as well and slid under the radar to win.”

Her third, Melissa Gannon, also has national Scotties experience. The team’s coach is Bruce Merklinger, Lee’s father.

Katie Morrissey used to skip the Danielle Inglis team but when she moved away the three remaining players reached out to the Stouffville skip. They played in four events this season and qualified in two.

“We’ve managed to fit in five weekend practices this season plus I was able to play with them for a game at the Ottawa before one of our spiels,” said Inglis, a 26-year-old old employee of the CCA says, “If we can string together a couple good games and keep on top of our games, I think that we have a chance.”

Rogers is broadcasting daily draws live as well as Page games. Sportsnet takes over with the semi-finals Sunday at 8 a.m. followed by the 12:30 p.m. final.


In Best Western Women’s Challenge, the provincial champ is Brockville’s Karen Mahon. The Fairfield Marriott Men’s Challenge provincial champ is Metcalfe’s Billy Joe Woods. Senior region winners were: 1A – Darcie Walker and Howard Rajala; B – Cheryl McBain and Jeff McCrady. Bantam zone winners were: 1A – Cassie Allen and Tom Hamilton; B – Mackenzie Comeau and Patrick Gauthier; 2A – Sierra Sutherland and James Stonehouse; B – Anna Faninaccio and Ryan Hahn; 3A – Kayla MacMillan and Michael Morra; B Grace Wallingford -and Richard Barrie; 4A- Kayla Gray and Brad Lumley; B – Emma Wallingford and Adam Thompson.

Glenn Howard failed to earn a provincial spot at the Challenge Round but his former teammate Wayne Middaugh is going, as is his brother-in-law Rob Rumfeldt.


Former OCA President Ian McGillis passed away Saturday morning at age 53 after a battle with cancer. His tenure coincided with last year’s furor over the OCA’s loss of CCA membership. But that should not over shadow the immense amount of volunteer work he did. And he always did it with a gleam in his eye. His funeral is this Friday in Williamsburg.


The rink of Blake Sinclair, Jeff Tindall, Mike Robb and Mark St-John captured the top spot of the OVCA Colts League event Jan. 12.


Huntley’s Matt Allan has received the OCA Past President’s $1,000 scholarship … The 60th anniversary Open Cashspiel is looking for teams in Deep River. Prize money is $7,500 plus some meals during the Feb. 20 to 22 event. Contact for info.

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He’s a curling consultant and you better work hard.

Edmonton’s Marcel Rocque was in Ottawa for the weekend of January 3 & 4, which he spent with Team Homan. And did they work.

Rocque is no stranger to a curling work ethic having been the stellar lead for the legendary Ferbey Four who won four Brier titles in five years and three world championships.

While he works full time teaching culinary arts for the Edmonton school system the affable teacher considers himself a curling consultant. Last year he was the head coach for the Chinese. He’s on the high performance team of the Canadian Curling Association. Any nationally ranked team can call upon his services.

Team Homan spent a great deal of Saturday on the ice with Rocque performing drills then a great deal of Sunday doing more throwing and sweeping drills. When that was done they retreated for a two-hour meeting before a late lunch.

Why is he doing this? “This beautiful game of curling has given me so many great memories and great opportunities so it’s important for me to give back to the game I love.” he told the Sun.

With the children (14 and 12) into sports (competitive curling and club soccer) Rocque feels his kids need him more now than when they were little. He hasn’t curled at any level in four years. “I miss it but for me to play just for fun I tried it one year and found it quite frustrating. People wanted to be really competitive against you and I can’t just shut that off. So here I am trying to have fun with a bunch of beginners so I didn’t enjoy that aspect of it so it was easier just to walk away.”

While in Ottawa Glenn Howard lost in his regions and had to make a decision to either go to the Challenge Round or play the same weekend in the Pinty’s Skins Game. Rocque predicted to the Sun then that Howard would choose the Brier route.

WINNERS’ CIRLCE: This region has produced two provincial champions last weekend. Diana Favel enjoyed the Tim Hortons Masters so much she decided to play two tiebreaker games. The first was against Cathy Shaw of Galt. Favel advanced to the second tiebreaker with her 4-3 victory. In the final against Brantford’s Vicki Marianchuk the Rideau foursome forced Marianchuk to concede in the seventh for the 7-2 win. With Favel were Sheila Rogers, Edna Legault and Sue Kollar. Their next adventure takes them to the nationals March 30 to April 5 in Whitehorse. In Pepsi Junior provincial Belleville’s Mac Calwell defeated the Toronto area rink skipped by Carp’s Pascal Michaud 9-1. Michaud’s only loss in the round robin was also to Calwell. Joining Calwell in victory were Kurt Armstrong, Morgan Calwell and Matt Pretty. The Belleville rink next goes to the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors in Cornerbrook, NL, from January 24 to February1.

OCA RESULTS: In the Recharge with Milk Tankard regions 1A –Ian MacAulay, B – Colin Dow; 2A – Mark Kean, B – John Epping. This weekend’s men’s challenge round will complete the field. Bayview’s Julie Hastings defeated Ottawa’s Erin Morrissey to take the Scotties Challenge Round giving her the last spot in the January 19 to 25 Scotties provincial championships in Penetanguishene.

END NOTES: Pinty’s All Star Skins Game is on TSN this weekend. Kevin Koe takes on John Morris while Brad Jacobs goes against Kike McEwen The women compete this year with Rachel Homan battling Val Sweeting while Chelsea Carey takes on Jennifer Jones. Coverage begins this Friday evening at 8.

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Tough choice for Howard rink

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



glenn Howard

Ontario skip Glenn Howard watches the line of his shot as teammate Craig Savill sweeps during the Canadian Men’s Curling Championships in Edmonton March 3, 2013. (Reuters File)


“Yeah, brutal.”

That’s how Craig Savill described how difficult it was for the Glenn Howard rink to make the decision to go or not to go to the Challenge Round.

The Challenge Round is a kind of torture that medieval curlers wouldn’t understand.

Shockingly, Team Howard lost their region. For the uninitiated, for decades now the Ontario Curling Association has mandated that all its competitions require teams to advance by winning their zone, then their region.

But there is a saviour — the Challenge Round. This is the last ditch event to win and advance to the Tankard and perhaps play in the Brier.

The Pinty’s All Star Skins Game in Banff, on TSN, is the same weekend as the Challenge, Jan. 16-18. Howard is one of the featured teams, and there’s lots of money at stake.

What to do?

On Monday, they decided to stick with the Skins Game. But by Tuesday, Savill told the Sun, “We wanted to go to both but decided as a team to go to the Challenge and try for the Brier.”

The Mike McEwen rink is taking their place.

That it comes down to this shows how backward Ontario is. The Ontario Curling Association office should be at Upper Canada Village.

Every other jurisdiction allows for multiple byes to the provincials. That Ontario doesn’t might just have something to do with the inordinate amount of competitions it oversees — 34 to be exact. That number is multiplied by having zones and regions. And they ask clubs to host these events for no compensation.

With fewer and fewer teams signing up for their events, Ontario should get rid of zones. Have large regional events that might make a club some money. By reducing events, you might also free up OCA money to pay for ice time.

If we want to send our best to national competitions, something has to change.


In Scotties regionals, those advancing to provincials are: 1A- Rhonda Varnes, B – Danielle Inglis. Lee Merklinger from Ottawa is provincials-bound with her Sherry Middaugh team from region 3. And another Ottawa Kreviazuk — Cheryl — advances to provincials out of region 4 with the Caitlin Romain rink. Team Varnes is in search of a spare as their second, Erin Macaulay is committed to a spiel in China. This will be the first year that Northern Ontario is not in the Ontario Scotties. The tournament is in Penetanguishene Jan. 19-25.

The Recharge With Milk Tankard regions 1 and 2 take place this weekend at Russell and Whitby.

Best Western Women’s Challenge and Fairfield Marriott Men’s Challenge those moving on the provincials are: 1A – Bill Woods, Lynsey Longfield; B- Al Solari, Laura Reavie; 2A – Rob Kluke, Sandy Mazzotta, B- Chadd Vandermade, Karen Mahon; 3A – Jason Smith, Susan Schmidt, B- Gary Smith, Yvonne Sklepowicz; 4A- Dave Collyer, Sherri Lynn Collyer, B- Jim Brownson, Katy Mountain.


The Carleton Place beginners bonspiel was won by the team of Brian Jones, Jessica Wilson, Emily Brown and Deborah Mayo.


The Tim Hortons Masters provincial championships begin Wednesday in Stirling. Representing this area are Dianne Wylie, Diana Favel, Brian Savill and Ron Edgeley. Wednesday is also the beginning of the Pepsi junior provincials in Galt. Lauren Horton, Melissa Wong, Mac Calwell and Doug Kee are representing this region … The World Financial Group Continental Cup begins Thursday in Calgary. Six Canadian rinks battle six from Europe in various formats. Ottawa’s Rachel Homan is there. TSN has all the action beginning at 10:30 a.m.

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There was a little bit of everything for fans of the roaring game in 2014

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


Team Homan win second straight Scotties_1

Rachel Homan of Team Canada watches her rock during the gold medal match at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts against Team Alberta at the Maurice Richard Arean in Montreal on Sunday. PASCALE LVESQUE/QMI AGENCY

The past curling season gave fans and players joy and sorrow.

Team Homan’s remarkable undefeated performance at the Scotties Tournament of Heats in Montreal, where the Ottawa rink claimed its second national title in a row, showed that practice makes perfect. The tears streamed down the faces of family and friends when Rachel Homan’s second Alison Kreviazuk boarded her plane to live in Sweden.

The area’s young curlers were well served when a number of parents started up the new Ottawa Youth League for curlers aged 12 to 18. The citywide league sees teams of any skill level compete in two divisions until the league championships at end of the season. On the other hand youth numbers continue to decline in more competitive events.

Kudos to all the local and valley clubs who continue to offer or have just started rookie leagues. These leagues promise to be the future of curling clubs. The Ottawa Valley Curling Association is to be congratulated for instituting an instructor’s training program for these leagues. On the down side, rural clubs continue to struggle.

Plans are moving forward to build a new City View club, expanding the building and number of sheets. Too bad the club’s existing plant broke down, which cost City View money and delayed its season. This isn’t as bad as the situation at the Navy, where a torn power source forced the club to hire a mega generator for a number of weeks. The negotiation with its landlord, the Feds, continues with lots of money the club doesn’t have, at stake.

Local curlers Jamie Sinclair, Lauren Horton, Lynn Kreviazuk and Jessica Armstrong won the national university title and are going to Spain early in February for the winter Universiade. They have raised thousands of dollars themselves — close to their goal of $10,000. It is too bad there isn’t more funding provided so they could concentrate on curling.

Craig Savill, who lives in Manotick, thrilled that curling club when he presented a cheque to them from his portion of the sales of the 2014 Men of Curling calendar. The amount was just over $11,000. The club also got hit with a major septic system repair.

The Ontario Curling Association went through an organization changing time for most of 2014 with emotionally charged meetings, police in attendance and friendships ended. The good news is that reforms have been implemented and change is in the air.

On the national front, the Canadian Curling Association is pleased by three gold-medal performances at the Olympics and Paralympics in Russia. It means government funding of the organization stays in place. However the gap continues to grow between the elite players and the next level with no plan yet to address this disparity.

As for requests, more Vegas please.

The World Financial Group Continental Cup held in Las Vegas was a resounding success. Too bad the Brier couldn’t be there.

Meanwhile, the Sun asked prominent curlers if they planned to make New Year’s resolutions. The best reply was from Jean-Michel Menard: “Win more coin tosses as a team since we are not really good at this part of the game.”


In the Toronto Curling Association junior and bantam bonspiel that just finished Tuesday, the Huntley team of Kayla Marie MacMillan, Sarah Daviau, Lindsay Dubue and Marcia Richardson took the junior women’s side.

The Michaud brothers (Pascal and Decebal) from Carp won the junior men’s event with their Toronto-based team.


Ontario’s Pepsi junior championships begin Jan. 7 at Guelph. Lauren Horton, Melissa Wong, Doug Kee and Mac Calwell will represent this area. The Michaud brothers from Carp are also competing but out of Toronto. The winners advance to the M&M Meat Shops Canadian juniors in Corner Brook, NL.


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Curling and Christmas go hand in hand


Craig SavillCurler Craig Savill. (Scott Wishart, QMI Agency)


Curling has a language all its own.

The terms take on different meanings during the Christmas season.

The 12 foot: The length of the pole I wouldn’t touch you with after you barfed on yourself at the curling club Christmas party.

Across the face: Where you got slapped by your girlfriend. See above.

Back 4: The number of inches you gained on your backside over the holidays.

Button: What pops after the festive feast.

Chip and lie: When you find the bag empty and the kids deny they ate them.

Come around: What everyone wants you to do during the season.

Corner guard: What Peter does sometime in his role as a police officer.

Double takeout: The pair of coffees you take with you during your hectic shopping day.

Extra end: What it’s called after you relax then remember you forgot to get one more gift.

Fall: The season you wish you had started shopping.

Front of the house: Where your uncoordinated brother-in- law fell on Christmas day.

Gripper: How you describe the hold your preschooler uses on his presents.

Handle: The guy who wrote The Messiah.

Ice maker: The device on your fridge you don’t want to break during the New Year’s Eve party.

Little rocks: What she really thinks of the size of the stones on the new ring.

Mate: What lots of party goers do after the Christmas party.

Narrow: The dimension you can no longer pass through after the feast.

On the broom: The device you think some people ride on when they over-stay at your place during the holidays.

Pebble: The name of the doll you got when you had a Flintstones Christmas.

Peel weight: How much your Clementine weights after you take off the skin.

Port: What tastes great after the big meal.

Raise: What you hope you get after the holidays.

Shooter: You’ll feel bad if you have too many on New Year’s Eve.

Split: What your pants might do after turkey time.

Straight ice: How you take your eggnog.

Takeout: What you order when you forget to turn the oven on for dinner.

Vice: What you swear off as part of your New Year’s resolutions.

Wick: The part of the candle you can never find.


In senior men’s playdowns those advancing to regional action are: 1A- Bryan

Cochrane, B – Jeff McCrady; 2A – Kevin Brady, B – Bill Duck; 3A – Dwayne Lowe, B – Howard Rajala. Women’s senior teams all advance to regionals because there weren’t enough to compete at zones. In Milk Tankard action zone 4 winners were: A – Dave Collyer, B – Bryce Rowe. Ottawa Craig Savill won his zone 10A spot with Glenn Howard. This was the first time in eight years Howard had to fight in zones. Another prominent Ottawa curler, Lee Merklinger, won her zone 10A Scotties spot throwing second for Sherry Middaugh. In the Diversicare Grand Masters zone winners were: 1- Wally Morris, 2-Merv Roberts, 3- Bob Matheson, 4- Benny Brock.


Twelve-year-old Ottawa curler Emily Deschenes was the star of a curling commercial shot by TSN in the city yesterday. She started her day at 8 a.m. then was joined by her team of Laura and Rebecca Smith and Sierra Sutherland … Have a wonderful Christmas.


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Studying why curlers curl

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


It’s a leisure study that’s serious.

Kitchener-Waterloo resident Simon Barrick is an MA candidate in the University of Waterloo’s Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies. He has been conducting research on curling’s beginner leagues since September because he feels these leagues might just be a way to increase curling numbers, which have been declining the past decade but have experienced a jump in 2014. He thinks that is a blip.

“As Canadian Olympic medals have increased sports participation numbers have gone down,” he said.

So what is his study about?

He is examining the experience of these rookie curlers these beginner leagues. He wants to know how they feel about their time while they are there, why they decided to try the sport as well as their intentions about curling once the league ends. He is also studying how the leagues operate in the club, what the experience is like for the instructors and how the leagues fit into the larger curling structure.

“I am looking at the experience people are having,” he said. “Within Olympic sports this has not been looked at which is shocking to me.”

Barrick, 25, was a competitive junior player who played for a season with Manotick’s Neil Sinclair. He just won the B-side of his zone on the weekend. This grass roots curling is what interests him, though.

When this is all over in August, he hopes his research highlights how clubs benefit by broadening their base.

“What I have seen so far is that there’s overwhelming positives,” he said.

Barrick also see the sport attracting people because of its social side. In interviews with some participants, research suggests “they are not coming to the sport because they have been inspired by Jennifer Jones or Brad Jacobs.”

He spends two weeks a month in Ottawa because “It’s the only place in Ontario that has the most getting-started leagues per capita of anywhere.” Once he finishes this project, he will work with Hockey Canada to research the same thing — beginner hockey leagues.


In Tankard zones, the winners were: 1A – Ian Macaulay, B – Mark Homan; 2A- Howard Rajala, B – JP Lachance; 3A – Colin Dow, B -Josh Adams. In Scotties, only zone 2 had a playoff with Rhonda Varnes capturing the A side and on the B side it was Celeste Butler-Rohland. Tim Hortons masters regional winners were: 1A – Diana Favel and Brian Savill; B – Dianne Wylie and Ron Edgeley.


Twenty-year-old Colton Daly lost a chance to advance to junior provincials so has now bowed out of juniors. He posted his thoughts on Facebook. “Juniors was a hell of a time! Got to meet so many awesome people, future all-stars and made a lot of new friends. My last season didn’t go as planned obviously (it happens) but I’d like to thank everyone who was a part of it, my team mates, parents and coaches. Even though our season ended on a sour note I learned a lot about myself and about the game. No clue what the future holds for me but I can’t wait to head to the next level and try myself against the best in the world. Thanks everyone.”

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Hart joins Team Homan for 2015 Hearts

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



Rachel Homan

Ontario skip Rachel Homan (Ian MacAlpine, QMI Agency)


They have the skills. And now they have the Hart.


Rachel Homan’s rink announced Monday that Richard Hart, the former Brier, world champion and Olympic silver medallist will be their coach during the 2015 Scotties in Moose Jaw, Sask.

Hart told the Sun on Tuesday the two-time Canadian champs approached him. “I believe it is my curling experience which the team is hoping to utilize first and foremost.”

The Glenn Howard third got a taste for coaching when his two sons won the 2014 Ontario bantam provincials.

“I enjoy coaching and am looking to the future in this area,” Hart said.

His commitment is strictly for the Scotties. “My first priority is Team Howard. I will spend as much time as I can with the team before the Scotties getting to know them and trying to help them in any small way I can.”


Pepsi junior regional winners from this area were: 1A ­— Lauren Horton and Mac Calwell; B — Melissa Wong and Doug Kee. Pascal and Decebal Michaud from Carp attend Queen’s and won their region 2B spot. All advance to the Pepsi provincials in Galt starting Jan. 7. Tim Hortons Masters men’s winners in zone 1 were: A ­— Dwayne Lowe, B ­— Norm Clement. Zone 4 senior men’s winners were A — Gary Rusconi, B — Scott Davey. Zones one, two and three men’s tankard are all at the RCMP beginning this Friday at 6. The women’s Scotties zones are also there but there are some issues with the lack of entries. The RCMP club is asking spectators to bring a donation for the Food Bank.


The rink skipped by Randy Garland won the men’s senior spiel at the Navy. With Garland were Brian Edge, John Colquhoun and Cal Hegge.


Homan’s lead, Lisa Weagle, is a master of the tick shot. It’s even called the Weagle. There are some however who may want to limit its use. Curling Zone guru Gerry Geurts, who does some stats work for the CCA and USA curling folks, told the Sun he and the CCA’s Danny Lamoureux have conjectured about limiting its scope. “Definitely don’t want to take the shot out of the game as it’s a skill shot, but maybe changing the area you can clear the shots.” Geurts is proposing only allowing ticks in the 8 foot. He continued, “it would still allow the tick to be played but make it more difficult and also stones in the 8 foot are still usable to the team trying to steal.”


The CCA announced last Thursday that ESPN3 south of the border has acquired the USA rights to the CCA’s Seasons of Champions events. Because this is a streaming service I thought I could get out of paying the information highway robbery rates of Canadian television providers by downloading the ESPN3 app. It won’t download in Canada.


Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling kicked off Tuesday from Yorkton, Sask., with the world’s ready to roll. The big money event runs until Dec. 14 with 16 teams of each gender, including Homan. Instead of a round-robin format, the tournament winner will be decided by a triple knock-out with half of each field qualifying. Television coverage begins Thursday at noon on Sportsnet. The finals are Sunday with the men’s championship on CBC at 1 p.m., and the women’s final on Sportsnet at 6 p.m. Look for a Mike McEwen versus Brad Jacobs rematch in the final with Brendan Bottcher as the dark horse. Look for Homan to face Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni in the women’s final. Make Julie Hastings the dark horse.

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Telemundo takes over Ottawa Curling Club

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


leticTelemundo TV host Letti Coo tried curling in Ottawa for the first time. SUPPLIED IMAGE

They came for soccer, but fell for curling.

On Monday, a four-person TV crew from the U.S. network Telemundo went to the Ottawa Curling Club to take in a new sport.

Why? This Saturday, the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup which will take over Ottawa next summer, is holding its draft and Telemundo (owned by the NBC network) holds the FIFA Spanish USA broadcast rights. The Florida-based crew came to town to cover the draft but also decided to take in a few Canadian activities..

Network sports producer Enrique Bertran brought the host of their popular sports lifestyles show, Letti Coo. Her show, Rhythm of Sports travels the U.S. and other countries trying various new sports. “We chose curling because we know its Canada’s national sport,” said Bertran. “Letti has never curled, so it was a perfect fit.”

Colton Daly and Matt Clahane, teammates on an Ottawa junior team, spent a long time on the ice teaching Coo the ins and outs of how to curl. Coo thought it was extremely difficult. “It looks way too easy for what it really is. There’s a lot of technique and you have to have a lot of skills to maintain your balance.” The two instructors explained and showed her curling techniques which she would translate into Spanish on the fly. Their show airs nationally and reaches 90% of the U.S. Latin market.

Coo found it chilly on the ice and difficult to sweep. Her best sport she remarked is yoga, but she still enjoyed the experience. “I love the cultural aspect of it and the fun part. Everybody comes here and has a lot of friends. It’s more like a community and that’s what I like the most.”


In Tim Hortons Masters the zone winners were: 2A: Brian Savill, B- Ron Edgeley; 3A: Andy Hall, B – Ed Warren; 4A: Mike Schneider, B- Barry Mitchell. Zone 1 finishes tomorrow. There are no women zones. Pepsi Junior zone winners were: 1A: Melissa Wong and Jason Camm, B – Cassie Allen and Brad Lumley; 2A: Erin Butler and Hayden Richmond, B – Mychelle Zahabb and Doug Kee; 3A: Lauren Horton and Ryan Hahn, B – Kayla MacMillan and Michael Morra; 4A: Lindsay Bell and Mac Calwell, B – Kayla Gray and Joshua Henderson. Other Ottawa area juniors won zones but played in zone 8A. Those Ottawa players were Colton Daly, Matt Clahane and Hilary Nuhn.


The Challenge Casino de Charlevoix was won by Gatineau’s Jean-Michel Menard on Sunday. He faced off against fellow Gatineau resident Don Bowser.


Veteran curling analyst, Linda Moore is stepping aside immediately from TSN’s curling broadcast because of illness. She has benign fasciculation syndrome which is a neurological disorder. “I’ve been a part of the TSN curling family since 1989. I have had 25 wonderful years at TSN that I will cherish,” said Moore. “Unfortunately, I am physically unable to keep doing the job that I love. I had to make a very difficult choice, but it’s time that I focus all of my energy on my well-being.” Moore is a national and world champion as well as a gold medal winner in Calgary 1988. TSN plans to use a roster of guest analysts starting with Olympic silver medalist Cheryl Bernard beginning today with the start of TSN’s coverage of the Home Hardware Canada Cup.

This tournament has $140,000 in prize money at stake but the real prize is the entry into the Pre-Olympic Trials event — the Road to the Roar in 2017. Ottawa’s Rachel Homan faces Sherry Middaugh in their first game.

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Game more mental than ever

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


It’s a team effort in more ways than one.

Curling fans have heard for a long time about teams using sports psychologists. They have become part of a team’s arsenal with elite rinks all over the curling world. The Scottish teams used them first.

Gerry Peckham, the Canadian Curling Association’s Director of High Performance, has assembled an integrated support team composed of a number of sports scientists, sports medicine experts, nutritionists and strength coaches. Medals aren’t cheap.

The integrated support team individuals we hear the most about are psychologists.

“There is more of an acceptance on the part of the elite players that performance on demand and consistent high performance is more mental than physical or technical,” Peckham said.

Players from Olympic gold medalists to up and coming curlers use their services.

“Someone as experienced as Jennifer Jones might be looking for something very minimal as opposed to up and coming skips who are just trying to get their feet wet and do not have the experience of Jennifer Jones or Glenn Howard,” Peckham said.

The funding for this thrust comes from Own the Podium.

The lead for the CCA’s IST program is Kyle Paquette of Ottawa. According to Peckham, Paquette has made a great connection with a lot of teams, especially younger teams such as Rachel Homan, Mike McEwen, John Epping, Steve Laycock and Val Sweeting.

Paquette, a PhD candidate at Ottawa U, sees his role as something of a consultant.

“It is not like these athletes are training to perform well, they are trying to consistently perform at a world-class level,” he said.

He went on to say that his work is based on the idea that “our brains are not designed for opportunity or for high performance — they are designed for survival.”

His task, he said, is to help athletes “recognize and re-wire these survival strategies and develop high-performance habits.”

Paquette believes these habits have to be learned.

“I’m helping them become more aware to the habits they have to bring to the high-performance environment.”

Our results from the last Olympics — 3 gold medals — suggests a high level is indeed habit forming.

BRIER 2016

The best news at the well attended press conference last week was the word from Warren Hansen (the CCA’s director of events) that this Ottawa Brier committee will make money. The 2001 Ottawa Brier lost money, leaving no legacy fund. Many volunteers (to this day) were incensed that local curling got no funds to help clubs in the region. The host committee is guaranteed a portion of ticket sales and all 50/50 draw proceeds. The latter has been huge at other curling events — it is not unusual to see $20K jackpots for a single draw.


The first Season of Champions event, the Home Hardware Canada Cup, begins a week from today in Camrose, Alta. The first draw at 10:30 a.m. on TSNfeatures Team Homan versus Team Middaugh. The two winning rinks get a spot in the 2017 Road to the Roar — the Pre-Trials event.


The second-annual Kim Ryan Memorial fundraiser spiel is will be held Dec. 20 at the Navy. Contact Krista Marsden at The Navy club is still without power. It is a bigger job than was originally thought. The cable failed in many spots … The poster for the 2015 Milk Dairy Farmers of Ontario Tankard is out. It features a photo of Glenn Howard, not last year’s winner Greg Balsdon.

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Brier returning to Ottawa in 2016



Canada’s best curlers are coming back to the capital.

For the fourth time in history and first time in 15 years, the Tim Hortons Brier will be held in Ottawa at the revamped TD Place, the Canadian Curling Association (CCA) announced Thursday.

From March 5-13, in just over a year from now, the rink formerly known as the Civic Centre will be transformed as the sport’s top Canadians compete in the 12-team round-robin event. The teams are made up of the 11 provincial/territorial champions as well as the champion of this year’s Brier, set for Feb. 28 to March 8 in Calgary.

The 2016 instalment of the Brier will be the fourth go-around for the CCA’s director of event operations Warren Hansen, who has been involved with the tournament the three other times Ottawa has hosted the Brier, in 1979, 1993 and 2001. He’s seen interest in the game take off.

“When curling became an Olympic sport in 1998, that was the beginning of it becoming more of a mainstream activity,” Hansen said. “I think it’s continued to grow and as a result it’s influencing younger people to become involved with the sport.”

The most recent Ottawa edition of the tournament in 2001 was won by Randy Ferbey’s rink, representing Alberta. While the actual arena, formally the Civic Centre, changed very little during the Lansdowne renovations, the area as a whole has become an ideal location for a major event, especially as stores and restaurants begin to open around the stadium.

“This was a very different place (in 2001), as was the sport of curling,” OSEG CEO Bernie Ashe said Thursday, pointing out that an estimated 700,000 Canadians play the sport, most of them between the ages of 25 and 45. Among them is Ottawa’s Rachel Homan, the reigning women’s national champion.

While there will undoubtedly be many who take advantage of the Brier to watch live curling for the first time — and to party in the Brier Patch, which will be located on the Aberdeen Pavillion — those already active in the local curling world were thrilled by the announcement.

“We’ve waited a long time to hear (the Brier is coming back to Ottawa),” said Elaine Brimicombe, past-president of the Ottawa Valley Curling Association and spokeswoman for the tournament’s host committee.

Brimicombe said it had “been hard to keep this a secret for the last few weeks.”

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to welcome Canada’s best men’s curling teams,” she said.

With the city already committing $900,000 every year to attract big events to the capital, Mayor Jim Watson said Thursday the Brier is a perfect example of what the revamped Lansdowne is all about.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our city,” said the mayor, who called TD Place “a perfect location to showcase our country’s best curling talent.”

The black curtain installed in the arena for Ottawa 67’s hockey games will be removed to give access to additional seating, meaning capacity will be about 10,000. In 2001, 154,136 came to watch matches during the tournament in Ottawa.

Twitter: @chrishofley

Brier attendance through the years

  • 2014, Kamloops: 65,505
  • 2013, Edmonton: 190,113
  • 2011, London: 113,626
  • 2010, Halifax: 107,242
  • 2009, Calgary: 246,126
  • 2007, Hamilton: 107,199
  • 2005, Edmonton 281,985
  • 2001, Ottawa: 154,136
  • 1993, Ottawa: 130,076
  • 1982, Brandon: 106,394

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brier presser

The Tim Hortons Brier is returning to Ottawa at TD Place in the 10,000 seat arena. The dates are March 5-13, 2016.

The last Brier hosted in Ottawa left a very bad taste in curlers collective mouths. The 2001 Brier made no money at all. The hundreds of hours devoted to the event by hundreds of volunteers resulted no legacy fund for local curlers.

The host committee headed by Elaine Brimicombe and CCA Manager of Events, Warren Hansen, both maintain this Brier will be different. Not only will the host committee (the Ottawa Valley Curling Association) get a percentage of the ticket sales but they will get the entire proceeds of the 50/50 draw which can range into the $250,000 range.

Brimicombe also hopes the event will increase awareness of curling amongst  non-curlers and fill local clubs.


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2016 Brier expected in Ottawa

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



The Brier in Ottawa?

Tomorrow morning at 11:30 at TD Place, the CCA is expected to announce Ottawa as the host to the 2016 Tim Hortons Brier. A few months ago the CCA and OVCA signed a letter of agreement securing the event here. Ottawa had been awarded the 2011 Ford Men’s Worlds but had to turn it down because of the uncertainty of Lansdowne Park’s availability. Because the press conference is being held at TD Place, bet that the event will be staged there. The CCA’s Warren Hansen, who oversees their events, likes the venue.


Navy Curling Club isn’t quite ship shape.

On Sunday, Oct. 19, the club’s power went off and still has not been restored. Through the best efforts of their volunteers the club has managed to keep its ice and not disrupt its schedule too much. But what happened?

No one knows how the power got cut off to the club. The Navy club is in a unique situation. Because it is on Department of National Defence land and that department is nominally its landlord, Ottawa Hydro just couldn’t come in to assess the situation.

Things also got complicated because Public Works administers the lease. On top of that, DND is building a new facility on the site overseen by Defence Construction Canada. The construction of the $18.5 million HMCS Carleton Naval Reserve Building isn’t going to be finished until May 2015.The initial reaction from Public Works was that if the power line was cut because of construction, the feds would take care of the expenses.

In the meantime, with no swift solution at hand, the Navy folks rented a generator so that their curling season wouldn’t be jeopardized. According to Ken Waterman, one of its volunteers who oversees the facility, the rental has cost the club somewhere between $45,000 to $50,000. The club’s insurance doesn’t cover the generator rental, either.

It now comes down to investigating what was the actual cause of the failure. One school of thought on DND’s part is saying that the lease with Navy makes the supply of hydro, water, all utilities and upkeep the responsibility of the curling club. This is DND’s fiduciary responsibility.

Because of on-going activity on the base, it is difficult to quickly find out what the cause was. The power line is also buried.

According to another volunteer, Maureen Harris, “there is light as the end of the tunnel.” Ottawa Hydro is coming in this Sunday to re-connect the club. Then all parties concerned should know the cause of the failure.


Chris Gardner had an amazing run at the Canadian Mixed in North Bay. The Ottawa rink won the bronze medal, although they seemed to be the class of the field. “Not the colour we wanted but not a bad consolation prize,” Gardner said after defeating B.C. in the bronze medal game. His lead, Jessica Barcauskas, was voted All Star lead. Meanwhile, the rest of his men’s team were finalists in the Gord Carroll Classic where they lost to John Epping.


The Lauren Horton team continues to be hot on the junior tour. The Almonte foursome, which includes Kimberly Gannon, Cassandra Lewin and Jessica Armstrong, won the KW Junior Classic going undefeated and posting some double digit scores … The John Steski rink won the Tankard Tune-up cashspiel Sunday. With Steski were Colin Dow, Ritchie Gillan and Brett Lyon-Hatcher … The Navy rink of Charles Chamberlain, Steve Gooch, Nathan Scott and Wayne Keough took the second event of the OVCA Colts league on the weekend.


The new Ottawa Youth League submitted a video to True Sport. It was chosen as one of six finalists in a national contest with the winner to be announced on RBC Sports Day in Canada on Nov. 29 on CBC. Go to to vote for Ottawa.


Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling, the National begins today from Sault Ste. Marie. Sportsnet carries games beginning Thursday morning at 9. The finals are Sunday afternoon at 3:30.

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The new Ottawa Youth League has a chance to make national exposure on TrueSport Give Back Challenge, Canada wide contest.  The spirit of giving back to our kids, families and communities with the help of sports.  The OYCL has produce a lot of great stories already this year and we want to continue and make it even better.

A short 3 minute video about the league has made its way to the finals. Yeah!

Now we need YOU  to help us (OUR LEAGUE) bring home the gold and get the title of the best contribution in Canada!

VOTE, VOTE, and VOTE again.

Mark your calendars and reminders.

Ask your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, club members, coaches, curling buddies to help us out.

We want to win!!    Let’s do it for youth curling everywhere and help the future of our game!

Voting will take place at beginning on Tuesday November 18th at 10:00 am (EST) and runs through to Wednesday, November 19th at 11:59 pm (EST).

You can see the OYCL video at

Winners will be announced and air on CBC sports Saturday November 29th as part of the RBC Sports day in Canada.  Partnership with Truesport, CBC and Participaction.

Happy voting!

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A number of our university aged members play for university varsity teams.

The students are left to fundraise for themselfs. Please read below for your chance to help through a silent action.

In support of the Carleton Ravens Curling Program



Treat your family or friends to a night out with the Ottawa 67’s
Ottawa 67’s vs. Peterborough Pete’s


Canadian Tire Center
Tuesday February 4, 7:00 pm
Suite 112B – 16 tickets


3 parking passes


$200 Pizza & Pop



To bid please email:


Christine McCrady
Deadline: Noon, Friday January 31
Bidders will be advised when bid is submitted if bid is accepted (beats existing bid). All bidders will be advised of highest bid Friday Jan. 31, 9:00 am.
After this time only accepted bids will be advised so keep trying.

Thank you for your support,
Carleton Ravens Curling Program




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Kreviazuk parents busy following daughters

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



Time is not on their side.

When you’re Janice and Doug Kreviazuk and you parent three high performance curlers, time runs out on you. They now have two reasons for going to Montreal’s Scotties. Middle daughter Lynn just won Ontario while oldest daughter Alison plays on Team Canada.

“Janice and I live vicariously through our children,” said the proud dad. “We look at this as our vacation. We can’t get anymore pleasure than watching our children at these events.”

But both parents have used all their vacation time, sick days, flexible days — everything. Doug works for the Canadian Payments Association while Janice is a school administrator.

“We aren’t out of money but out of time,” said Janice. “We aren’t going to the Continental Cup for instance because we just don’t have the time.” Team Homan is competing in that event.

The couple attended the Olympic trials in December, came home for four days then flew to Italy where youngest daughter Cheryl competed in the university games from Dec. 12 to 20. After a Christmas rest, it was off to the Sault for the eight days of the Ontario Scotties, then its Montreal’s Scotties. Mrs. Kreviazuk is taking an unpaid leave of absence to be in Montreal while Mr. Kreviazuk can only attend on weekends.

But who do they cheer for? Both parents don’t mind when the girls play each other. Doug feels “One is going to win and one is going to lose. There is not a … thing I can do about it.”

Janice hates when they play against each other to eliminate a team. “Lynn played Cheryl three years ago in the final of the junior provincials. One of them was not going to nationals. That was the hardest game I ever watched.”


Except for Quebec, the Scotties field is determined. They are Homan – Team Canada, Kim Dolan PE, Stefanie Lawton SK, Heather Smith NS, Kesa Van Osch BC, Val Sweeting AB, Andrea Crawford NB, Heather Strong NL, Allison Flaxey ON and Sara Koltun NWT. Ottawa’s Andrea Sinclair is that rink’s lead.


The Rideau owns the provincial Tim Hortons masters. Layne Noble with Rick Bachand, Bob Hanna and Bob Boland finished the round robin at 7-0. Diana Favel with Janelle Sadler, Jennifer Langley and Judy Tulloch had to win two tiebreakers. Favel won the second game by scoring three in the last end then stole a point in the extra. The Travelers Tankard field is complete now. The Challenge Round saw Jake Higgs and John Epping joining the field. In Best Western Intermediates the men’s zone winners were: 1A – Willie Jeffries, B – Bill Adair; 2A – Ian Bridger, B – David Brown; 3A – Dwayne Lowe, B – Al Scott; 4A ,B – Kerry Powell. Bantam zone winners were: 1A – Cassie Allen and Kieran Bisson, B – Sydney Kennedy and Philippe Lalonde; 2A – Lindsay Bell and Hayden Richmond; B- Sierra Sutherland and Eric Shantz; 3A – Emma Wallingford and Jordie Lyon-Hatcher, B -and Kayla MacMillan and Mitchell Jeffs; 4A – Kate Davey and Joshua Henderson, B – Grace Wallingford and Ryan Hahn.


The third event in the OVCA Colts league (for novice curlers) was won by Phillip Viau, Luc Ouellete, Robert Pollender and Eric Labonte from Buckingham.


The entry forms for the Hogline Curlers Proshop Little Rocks Championship is now on the OVCA website”¦The Hunt Club’s Sweet Heart Bonspiel is accepting entries for the February 13 to 16 ‘spiel. Contact…The WFG Continental Cup from Las Vegas begins Thursday morning. TSN carries all the action starting tomorrow morning at 11:30.

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Ontario Curling Association being investigated, but for what?


They are all very secretive.

So secretive, in fact, that the governing bodies didn’t even tell anyone the Canadian Curling Association passed a motion Nov. 14 declaring that the Ontario Curling Association is a member not in good standing with the national governing body.

Not only did we not know, but no one is saying why or how the provincial body can be re-instated. The CEO of the CCA, Greg Stremlaw, wrote to the Sun, “This comes as a result of ongoing investigation into recent conduct of the OCA, and is compliant with CCA bylaws that were approved by the member associations. The investigation continues and no further comment will be made until the completion of the investigation.”

OCA president Ian McGillis and other member associations would not comment on the situation.

The CCA has the Curling Club Development program where financial donations given to the CCA by club members will be given back to clubs, with the donor eligible for a CCA generated tax receipt. A Manotick member did this but found out from a CCA letter that OCA member clubs are no longer eligible for this program.

The situation could also make OCA curlers ineligible for national championships. The Sun asked Stremlaw about that. His reply “No, it will not. That is a privilege that was not currently removed by the national governing body.”

Are you scared by the word “currently”?

Just what did the OCA do? No one will say. One anonymous source postulates “I think this was set up, or someone was out to get someone else. The OCA president was interviewed by the CCA.”

Anyone who attends zone meetings knows the OCA openly criticizes the CCA. On Dec. 3, OCA executive director Doug Bakes announced his retirement effective this June.

Is this is a coincidence? Bakes and McGillis wouldn’t say.


The Ryan McCrady skipped rink from the Rideau won Ontario’s Pepsi Junior men’s title on Monday. Doug Kee, Matt Haughn and Cole Lyon-Hatcher played with Ryan. They head to Nova Scotia Jan. 18-26 for the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors.


After the Travelers Tankard regions, men’s rinks advancing to the provincials are: 1A Mark Homan and B – Bryan Cochrane; 2A – Ron Lobel, B – Shannon Beddows; 3A – Jake Walker, B- Rob Rumfeldt; 4A -Mark Bice, B- Craig Van Ymeren. The last two squads will be determined at the Brampton Challenge Round Jan 10 to 13. The Tim Hortons Masters provincials began in Gravenhurst yesterday. Representing this area are Betty Bush, Lynn Macdonell, Layne Noble and Dwayne Lowe. Zone 3 and 4 Travelers Seniors winners were 3A – Dwayne Lowe, B- Leo Buckley; 4A – Randy Hutchinson, B – Rick Barnard. The Best Western Women’s Challenge zone winners were: 1A – Lynsey Longfield, B – Ruth Buckland; 2A – Karen Mahon, B – Sandy Mazzota; 3A – Yvonne Sklepowicz, B- Barb Westgarth; 4A – Laura Reavie, B – Katherine Nicholas. At the Fairfield Marriott Challenge the winners were: 1A – Al Solari, B – Marc Bourguignon, 2A – Ron Edgeley, B – Scott Moore; 3A – Doug Cochrane, B- Dennis Elgie; 4A – Brian Lewis, B – Jeremy Gale.


The Travelers All-Star Curling Skins Draft show is on TSN2 this Friday at 8 p.m. live from Banff. The four skips will choose their teams for the weekend’s skins games.

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This could be the year Howard dethroned

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



Glenn Howard could be ripe for the picking at the Tankard after his disappointing loss at the Roar of the Rings Olympic trials.

It isn’t a long way to go this year.

The men’s provincial championship is just down the road this season in Smiths Falls Jan. 27 to Feb. 7. But psychologically, it may be too far for Glenn Howard. After his huge, dispiriting disappointment at the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, can his heart be in yet another trip to the Tim Hortons Brier? He has been the Ontario Brier rep for the last eight tournaments.

The regional playdown weekend of Jan. 4 and the challenge round weekend starting Jan. 10 will determine the 10 teams hoping to dethrone Howard. And this may be the year to do it.

Smiths Falls new Memorial Community Centre will be hosting the Travelers Tankard Jan. 27 to Feb. 2. The 1,500-seat arena will offer both general admission and premier seating passdes at $226 to $282 respectively for the entire event. General admission draw tickets are $15 while premium are $20 per draw. Visit for ticket information. You can also call 613 812-3372.

During the event, the upper hall will be transformed into the “Lockmaster’s House” which will be the pub hub for entertainment 8 p.m. to midnight. There has been some concern about accommodations in Smiths Falls. However, there are now three chain hotels in the municipality as well as three other bed and breakfasts and motels.

If you want to experience a large curling event with the country’s top talent, put Smiths Falls on your new year’s resolution schedule. You just may witness a changing of the guard.


In Scotties regional play, those moving onto provincials are Hollie Nicol and Cathy Auld. No local teams made the provincials. However, local curlers Lee Merklinger and Lynn Kreviazuk, playing for Sherry Middaugh and Allison Flaxey, respectively, in southern Ontario, made the provincials. Two more teams will be determined in the last chance challenge round taking place this weekend in Bradford. The provincials are in Sault Ste. Marie Jan. 5-12.


The votes are in and Glenn Howard is out. The fans voted for their top 16 players for the Travelers All-Star Curling Skins Game presented by Pinty’s. The skips who made the cut were Brad Jacobs, Brad Gushue, Jeff Stoughton and Kevin Martin. The voting deadline was during the trials. Even while rinks fought for their lives at the trials most teams used social media to remind people to vote for them. It turns out that five of the 16 voted in were not Olympians.


Team Homan second Alison Kreviazuk will be well travelled. She flew to Sweden to be with boyfriend Fredrik Lindberg for Christmas. She leaves there for home then to a Bern, Switzerland, women’s event followed by the Continental Cup in Las Vegas … The U.S. has been kicked out of future WFG Continental Cups as part of Team North America. Beginning in 2015, Team Canada only will play either Team World or Team Europe in alternating years. It’s about time! … The Cumberland Curling Club is another club that sees the advantage of offering a learn to curl program. This new program begins Jan. 6 for eight weeks for $125 with all equipment supplied. The important point is that the program is a structured program aimed at teaching proper delivery and curling techniques. For more information, call 613 833-2774 or

My curling column returns on Jan. 8. Be safe and enjoy the company of others for the season!

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Ottawa’s Lee Merklinger disappointed, but proud

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



Lee Merkingler plays second for Sherry Middaugh’s rink, which lost in the finals of the Olympic curling trials last weekend.

The devastation showed on her face.

Ottawa’s Lee Merklinger, the second for Sherry Middaugh at the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, was visibly disappointed after their loss in the finals to Jennifer Jones. But she wants to keep going. “Team Middaugh had an amazing time together. It was a great experience — one that I will never forget. Definitely I would go through all of this work again, that’s an easy decision. Once you get a sniff at the Olympics you want it more.”

Their preparation lasted four years. And maybe the most important preparation was mental. “Our team has been working with Kyle Paquette, a sports psych,” Merklinger said. “I credit him with our success. He prepared us mentally for any possibility, including what it would be like to lose the first three games and/or to win the first three games.”

Now, in most people’s thinking, Team Middaugh did not rank in the field’s upper crust. But the team ranked up there in the stats — Merklinger tied for first with Alison Kreviazuk at second.

“We were ready for any situation at the trials, that’s why when we went 1-3 there was no panic. We were never worried, as we knew that we had to just remain calm and trust in our process and preparation.”

If one judges by the rink’s social media feeds during the tournament they were indeed very relaxed. For instance Middaugh posted a funny tweet during their morning practice before the finals about ice makers.

“We are obviously extremely upset about losing, perhaps more upset that we came out flat against Jones because we knew we were capable of more, especially after playing her in the round robin. However, as upset as we are that we didn’t win, we’re pretty proud of ourselves for rallying back and winning the tiebreaker against Carey and the semi against Homan.”

Now they have a new goal: “Representing Ontario at the Scotties.”


In Scotties and Dominion Tankard zones the winners were: 1A – Katie Morrissey and Ian MacAulay, B – Laura Payne and Mark Homan; 2A – Rhonda Varnes and Howard Rajala, B – Samantha Peters and Greg Richardson; 3A – Lauren Mann and Stephen Watson, B – Brit O’Neill and Bryan Cochrane; 4A – Lindsay McKeown and Don Bowser, B – Lisa Farnell and Dave Collyer. In Tim Hortons Masters regional play the winners were 1A – Betty Bush and Layne Noble, B – Lynn Macdonell and Dwayne Lowe. The Gore Mutual School Boy and School Girl zone winners were 1A – Lindsay Bell and Peter Stranberg, B – Ali MacLeod and Trevor Ferrier.


The winner of the second event in the OVCA Colt series was the team skipped by Stephanie McClennan. Curling with her were Mary Chamberlain, Gayle Dillabaugh and Julie Boivin. They won at Carleton Place. The next event is at North Grenville Jan. 3.


Former world junior champion Brendan Bottcher will be carrying the Canuck flag at the opening of the 2013 Winter Universiade games in Trentino, Italy, Dec. 11 to 21. Ottawa’s Cheryl Kreviazuk is on the women’s squad, which is from Wilfrid Laurier University. Kreviazuk’s parents, Doug and Janice, who were in Winnipeg cheering on their daughter Alison, flew back to the capital for a day then grabbed a flight to Italy. Mr. Kreviazuk got involved in a bell clanging dispute at the Trials. Some Jones fans complained he was too loud so arena ushers made him pack his cow bell away. Karrick Martin is on the men’s team from the University of Alberta. Kevin is his father.

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Our nightcaps after the men’s final and the Keg dinner. Flight leaves at 5:30 a.m. so we have to get up at 4:30.
Not much to finish before we leave.
Our morning coffee is set to go with Bailey’s ready.
Good bye Winnipeg. Thanks!

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The cream of curling showed up at the Patch. The place was packed.








Food would be good first before the party.










The Patch was ready.



Rachel Homan and her father Craig.




Allison’s father Doug.



Erin Flowers from Goldline.






Brent Laing’s father George.









BJ Neufeld from Team McEwen.




Curling sponsor John Shea and Team Stoughton vice, Jon Mead.




Keeping abreast of things in the Patch.



Dave Mathers (Team Epping), Breanne Meakin (Team Carey) Scott Howard (Team Howard)




The CCA’S director of high performance, Gerry Peckham.






CCA national coach Rick Laing.



Jan made friends with the Amurla lady who was dispensing free samples.




It was handy buying beer from the mobile carts!




Lawton third Sherry Anderson.




Stoughton lead Mark Nichols speaking to former teammate Russ Howard.








Stoughton second Reid Carruthers.








Curling Zone’s Gerry Geurts.








Robin on the right is an aid to the Minister of Sport.




Lisa Weagle and national coach Paul Webster.





Team Homan fifth Heather Smith.




Team Koe third Pat Simmons and Team Sonnenberg lead Rona Pasika.





From Team Sonnenberg, second Cary-Anne McTaggart and skip Renee Sonnenberg.




The Laings.




On the right, Cathy Overton-Clapham.






Randy Ferbey deciding what to do next season?



Team Sweeting second (who throws third) Joanne Courtney and lead Rachelle Pedherny.




TSN’s Bryan Mudryk.












Team Howard third Wayne  Middaugh.




Team Homan coach Earle Morris.
















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We visited the pop up Goldline store in our hotel to say hi to the Goldline folks and who should happen to be there, Team John Morris on an autograph session.








The smart thing Winnipeg does is connect downtown buildings with pedways so one doesn’t have to brave the cold weather. Halifax does this as well. Ottawa would never have the imagination to do this. That is the pedway in the distance with the photo being taken with myself standing in another pedway I had taken from the MTS Centre to the Delta.





The arena floor has changed now that there are only single games happening.






Now if you don’t have a job you can always do what this guy in the photos below does.













What is the going rate for cleaning a head light?

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Here are the areas the fans don’t see.




This is the media room. The photographers use this room a lot.






Of course every room has lots of Tim’s stuff.




This is the hallway that the players, officials and the media take to the arena. 



After you clean your shoes, you walk on lots of sticky mats.




So when  the game is over the skips have to come to the media scrum room. The media can also complete a media interview request form and the players is brought to you to interview.




This is the TSN editing room.




So when you see the players interviewed in pre-recorded segments during the game or when  the skips introduce their teams, this is where that is done.



The dressing rooms are far from the ice. When the players have to go, they have to run a long way.








This is the main prep kitchen for the entire arena and the many concession stands.




They run out of this at their peril.






The smoking balcony of our room which I haven’t used….almost 11 weeks now.




Janet is great! She has the coffee prepped for the next morning.


Ice machine is directly across hallway from our door. DELTA RULES!




Evening snack.



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The level 500 cat wal;k area has a number of offices and rooms related to game day. The 500 level is divided into 2 areas – the upper and lower gondola. The timers and some of the press are on the lower gondola.




The timers


There is also a school kids program that uses the seating opposite the press box.




Along the hallway are offices and rooms used  by the hockey club. The number of offices indicate why pro hockey costs so much.




These are the signs still unchanged from the last hockey game in the MTS Centre on November 23.








The largest room is the game day production office. It holds seven staff for hockey. A director, 2 video technicians, a music guy, lighting, sound guys and an announcer. The entire game is scripted. It just takes one for curling.










Don’t go in this room or this one.











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You go to Boston Pizza with Janet Ellis and Ken Thompson from the Ontario Curling Report. The plan is to have a pleasant lunch then return to the MTS Centre for the afternoon draw.








Some red wine for Ken and I, some white for Janet.




Well then one bottle of the tasty New Zealand wine leads to another.




And fine friends such as CCA sponsor John Shea from JSI appear.




John says “I’ll buy the next bottle.” Our server delivers…our first of 2 servers.





Oh Dear…look at the TV.





It’s the afternoon draw…still working on the wine and more curling fans surround us.













My heavens… they have run out of the 4 bottles of the New Zealnd wine so we have to swtich to Italian. Jan doesn’t care because her white wine is the same.





More friends we don’t know and more wine as the afternoon draw carries on.












People are beginning to look strange.



Well afternoon draw is over. New server…time to examine supper menu.




Maybe do a little gambling in the mall while we wait for evening draw to begin.




Be careful when you go to lunch at the Trials.

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Door open for big curling event in Ottawa

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist




Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy jokes with skip Glenn Howard prior to the start of the Roar of the Rings Canadian Olympic Curling Trials in Winnipeg.


WINNIPEG:  The Canadian Curling Association wants an event in Ottawa.

There hasn’t been a major CCA event in the capital since the 2001 Brier. Ottawa was awarded the Ford Men’s World Championships but the future of Lansdowne Park was up in the air at the time so Ottawa had to decline.

“We want an event in Ottawa, whether it’s the Brier or whatever,” said Warren Hansen, CCA’s director of event operations.

An Ottawa group, led by the Senators, bid for the current Roar of the Rings. It is taking place in Winnipeg because that city bid substantially more than the Ottawa group. Ottawa is well positioned to make a bid. 2017 is the 150th anniversary of Canada and will also be an Olympic Trials year for the 2018 Winter Games in Korea.

“Personally,” said Hansen, “I like the Civic Centre for a major curling event. The other venue (Canadian Tire Centre) is too far away from things and too big.”

Hansen does, however, feel that the CCA would work with the Senators to host an event at their venue. At this point, Hansen said, no fee to host the 2017 trials has been discussed or established by his association. In the last two cycles, the cities that won the bids (Edmonton and Winnipeg) both bid substantially more than what was asked.

Hansen believes there is a problem with the economics of curling event hosting.

“Any live entertainment business is having a difficult time selling tickets,” he said. “Unless there is a strong reason to commit people just aren’t doing that anymore.”

He said it applies to all live event businesses, just not curling.

He feels there are a number of reasons for this. People aren’t travelling to attend the entire Brier or Scotties anymore.” People have other things to do with their money”. Ticket sales now are focused on the closing or opening weekends, single draw tickets or importantly, if the “home” town teams make the championship round.

Hansen has been running these events for close to 40 years, so he “may start the process of having an event in Ottawa,” but doubts he’ll be there unless as a spectator.

No one in Ottawa has approached the CCA about staging an event here. The door is now open.


In Pepsi junior regional play, those advancing to the provincials are: 1A – Pascal Michaud and Emma Wallingford; B – Ryan McCrady and Cassandra Lewin. Lewin suffered injuries in a car accident driving home alone from regions. She is recovering. In region 4 Ottawa’s Colton Daly and Geordin Raganold played together as skip and third respectively on a London based team. They captured the A-side of their region. They had to play out of zone 16 because that was the only place they could find a coach. The provincials begin January 2 in Gananoque.


The appearance of Ron Burgundy (actor Will Ferrell) split the curling crowd. Some viewers said his antics made the TSN broadcast unwatchable. Others felt it was great for the game. This was a contra deal with Paramount Pictures for his appearance in return for commercials.


Team Canada took home the championship at the 9th annual Cathy Kerr International Wheelchair Curling Cashspiel by defeating Great Britain 5-3 in the final. Slovakia defeated Quebec for third place”¦ Keil Gallinger from Kemptville defeated Ottawa’s Spencer Cooper to win the Labatt Men’s Invitational Bonspiel in Cornwall on Sunday.


Doug Bakes, the executive director of the Ontario Curling Association, announced his retirement yesterday. He leaves the post in June 2014.

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Where the TSN crew eats on the VCatwalk level, level 500.
MTS Centre monument to Timothy Eaton who founded the now defunct chain. His employees erected it in 1918.
Commemortation on MTS Center wall to Eaton Winnipeg employees killded in WW1.
Fresh roasted turkey at MTS Centre food concession.
The biggest Lee Merklinger there is.
The catwalk complex.

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Actor Will Ferrell came into the players’ lounge at the MTS Center as Ron Burgundy annd rteamined in character throughout. “Make way for a very important person.” he said. “Make way!”
This is clever guerilla markeing on the part of the producers of his new movie. Actors travel around making personal appearances to push their movies. Ferrell has been travelling around actually reading the news on bona fide television stations.
There were only 2 players in the lounge,  Jim Cotter and his lead  Rick Sawatsky. Burgundy almost couldn’t make it onto the small stage because of the hoard of television cameras set up but Cotter got a good view.
The best line came when Burgundy was asked what Winnipeg meant. “It is a Latin derivative. It means small tundra bunny that burrows into the sides of hills.”

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Although they don’t cover the opening ceremonies, TSN’s Vic Rauter is already at work in the center of this photo.
The players all gather.
All the Olympic medalists, including Russ Howard and Linda Moore, were present for throwing out the first rocks. Brad Gushue and Kevin Martin were the 2 throwers on sheet B and C.
Right after the conclusion of the ceremonies teams Howard and Morris practiced. JKen Jones and Stoughton were the last teams to leave the arena. Jones got plenty of cheers because she always left her team, ran to the stands and handed things to kids.

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“First you put your right hand in then your right hand out then you shake it all about.”
“If I close my eyes maybe they won’t hear me fart.”

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“Mmmmmmm…I think it just might fit in my trunk.”
“And our baby is gona grow to this big.”
“I told you she could pat 2 bums at 1 time.”
“Like start the car and we can get outta here and stick Melnyk with the bill.”
“Psssssst….what team am I on again?”

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After the banquet Vic Rauter remarked that he isn’t sure how the Burgundy thing will go. He says the televised game will be the two Manitoba women rinks – Jones and Carey.
Dale Savill, Craig’s mother, waiting in the Patch for the teams who appeared after the banquet. The banquet is held prior to the event.
All the teams were introduced in the Patch after the banquet. Team Homan got a huge rouund of applause as did all the teams.
Russ Howard with brother Glenn in the background.
The bouyant Dave Mathers the lead froom Team Epping.
Team Epping
Team Miiddaugh with their animated coach Bob Turcotte
Team Lawton
Team Howard. They are carrying jackets to give to team sponsors who were introduced for each team.

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The interseting thing about the Trials is the banquet is before the event begins.

Other CCA events the dinner is after the event ends -even the Brier and the Scotties. But with the Trials its before. If it is at any other time no teams would care….or even show up!


Ok …at the Trials we should all wear slippers.

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The weather in Winnipeg is warm if over cast.

The seeming lack of ticket sales may be a matter for concern for some but not to Greg Stremlaw who I met at the Winnipeg airport. We were on the same flight. Stremlaw is the CEO of the Canadian Curling Association.

He feels that having sold 140,000 tickets is something to which most sports would be envious.

On the Ron Burgundy appearance, this was a CCA initiative. It was something the CCA thought of, contacted Paramount studios then got TSN behind it. There was no fee involved but a contra deal with Paramount so look for a lot of commercials for Anchorman 2 The Legend Continues.


Like Halifax, Winnipeg has these elevated pedestrian ways that link all important buildings downtown. The MTS Center, the Winnipeg Convention Center (where the Patch is) and the Delta where we are staying are all linked. 

The bad thing is our hotel is right next door to the Patch.

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Managing stress key to Olympic curling trials

by Joe Pavia

MTS may stand for Much Too Stressful.

The Ottawa area athletes competing in Winnipeg at the MTS Center in the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Olympic trials next week believe that how teams handle pressure will go a long way in determining the winners.

“I firmly believe that the team that wins will be the one who embraces the pressure of the trials and uses it to fuel their performance,” said Lee Merklinger, Sherry Middaugh’s second,

Team Middaugh is eliminating as many outside distractions as possible. “It’s important that we control what texts/messages/emails we receive. Husbands and boyfriends are great but they can sometimes be critical too,” said the Merlinger. As of Sunday, the phones get shut off.

Craig Savill of Glenn Howard’s rink said, “I think the team that stays the most level headed is going to come out on top. If we do that we have a great chance.”

Rachel Homan, however, feels “It‘s just like any other tournament we prepare for.”

The Scotties champ is taking the trials in stride. Her coach, Earle Morris, feels they have to embrace the pressure and make it work for them.

All the Ottawa players have been practising daily, if not twice a day. Team Homan even brought in rocks that are heavier than the rocks they usually practise with and curl like arena rocks.

The last word belongs to Savill, who with tongue in cheek pin pointed why his team will win. “I was hoping that we would win this thing at lead but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think we need our back end. I am going to be the best cheerleader I can be and I’m going to sweep my ass off too.”

These Ottawa athletes will be toasted at the Ottawa Curling Club Wednesday beginning at 7. All are invited.

TSN is broadcasting all the games either on their main network or TSN 2. The first televised game is this Sunday afternoon at 2. It will most likely be Homan against Edmonton’s Val Sweeting.

The prediction: Men – Glenn Howard, dark horse – John Morris; Women – Rachel Homan, dark horse – Val Sweeting.


In Tim Hortons Masters the men’s winners were: Zone 1A – George Ferrall, B – Wally Morris; 2A – Layne Noble, B – John Wellington; 3A – Dwayne Lowe, B – Emile Robert; 4A – Mike Schneider, B – John Smith. Pepsi Junior zone results: 1A –Cassandra Lewin and Jason Camm ,B – Camille Daly and Brandon McPhee, 2A –Kim Gannon and Ryan McCrady, B – Abby Bolton and Greg Bridges ,3A – Lauren Horton and Pascal Michaud, B – Emma Wallingford and Jordie Lyon-Hatcher, 4A –Katherine Nichols and David Brown, B –Kate Davey and Joshua Henderson.


Wheelchair curlers from five nations plus wheelchair athletes from 11 Canadian locations will be competing at the RA Center beginning Thursday. The 9th annual Cathy Kerr International Bonspiel boasts over 100 athletes, including Canada’s national team skip Jim Armstrong. The finals are Dec. 1 at 1 p.m.


The Ottawa area deaf curling team who won gold at the 2013 Deaf Curling Champions was named Canadian Team of the Year by the Canadian Deaf Sports Association. The team consists of Michael Raby, David Joseph, Andre Guillmette, Michel Cyr and Guy Morin while Denise Hoekstra was named Coach of the Year for any sport…Team Allison Ross defeated Matt Paul to win the Tankard Tune-up cash spiel…Hats off to the Rideau Curling Club for their stellar execution of the Canadian Mixed.

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Alberta wins mixed curling championship

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist

Alberta wins mixed curling championship

Alberta Mixed champions, left to Right, Darren Moulding, Heather Jensen, Brent Hamilton, Anna-Marie Moulding. (Claudette Bockstael, Studio C Photography)


Ten years later and redemption couldn’t taste any sweeter.

Alberta skip Darren Moulding exorcised some demons Saturday afternoon by defeating Team Ontario 8-5 at the Canadian Mixed championships at the Rideau Curling Club.

Moulding said he had some demons to clean out of his closet after leading his Alberta rink to a 2003 defeat in the final of the Canadian Juniors at the same curling club.

“That loss I missed a double in seven. I remember it like it was yesterday. For five or six years I couldn’t forgive myself for that. This is redemption for me.”

Although on the same sheet of ice as his loss, this sheet yielded better results. The game went back and forth but the ninth end proved Ontario’s demise. “The biggest turning point was stealing two in nine. There were a couple of bad breaks for Corey and his team,” Moulding said.

Ontario skip Cory Heggestad had to try a difficult in-off on his last shot to salvage the end after his second and third both had rocks pick on key shots.

The rink executed well all week, finishing the round-robin at 9-2 thereby getting a bye to the final. “All week we would be aggressive building up a lead then we hit. We do have a lot of hitting ability. We like to score. All week we had the best offence all week in terms of points for.”

How does the moniker national champ sit with him? “That’s what I’ve thrown practice rocks and dreamt about since I was 12 years old. I’ve probably thrown 10,000 stones pretending I was winning a national championship.”

Team Alberta now has two spots in the March Mixed Doubles Trials if they want them. The competition will be played here in Ottawa.


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Saskatchewan curling team gunning for national title

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist

SK skip Shaun Meachem

Saskatchewan skip Shaun Meachem.(Claudette Bockstael, Studio C Photography)


It looks like there’s another Saskatchewan team that might win a national title this weekend.

Shaun Meachem’s Swift Current team knew they had a chance to win the Canadian Mixed but, “after the first few games we weren’t so sure. There’s some pretty stiff competition here.”

Be that as it may, they did finish the round-robin at 9-2 and earned a berth into the semifinals against Ontario. Oh, and the team played all of eight games together before making the trip to Ottawa.

“Other than Kelly (Kelly Wood who played for Scotland in the worlds and Olympics), for the rest of us this is the biggest event we have ever played in so it keeps us excited and gets our juices going,” said Meachem.


The Ontario/New Brunswick tie breaker elicited applause for a number of impressive shots. The most astounding string of shots came in the sixth end with Ontario down by one. Three hits and stays through a thin port were made and a fourth that failed allowing Ontario skip Cory Heggestad to throw a soft back liner that hit and flopped.

New Brunswick skip Sylvie Robichaud attempted a run back that left two of her stones in the back twelve.

That’s when a split beckoned, explains Heggestad.

“I wanted to play it from the get-go. That was my gut thought. If I hit this thing a quarter stone we’re getting three.” The team agreed.

“The smart call is taking your deuce, that’s the wisest call but it’s risk and reward. I was feeling that one. So we kind of had that feeling so we give her. That was the turning point in the game. The momentum switched to us.”

Ontario scored three for a 6-4 lead. They traded deuces until Heggestad drew for his single with hammer in ten to earn the 9-8 win and advance to the semifinal.

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Joe Pavia – Owner/Operator

The Hogline Curlers Proshop is owned and operated by an experienced curler - Joe Pavia.

While Joe knows many renowned curlers, he’s most at home serving club curlers, rookies, children, youth and senior curlers who might not want to shop but just want to chat about the game we all love.

Joe has been involved with the curling world for decades as a player, organizer and curling commentator. He’s the weekly curling columnist for the Ottawa Sun where his Wednesday column is eagerly anticipated and is indeed available across the country. 

15questions Ottawa Youth Curling League

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