Joe’s Blog

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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961 total views, 110 views today

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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2,353 total views, 110 views today

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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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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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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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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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


sleep poster

This is a fundraiser you can sleep on.

Two-time Scotties winner (with skip Kelly Scott) Sasha Carter came up with a fundraising idea called Sweep to Sleep, a team-to-team challenge. The goal is to raise funds for the Sandra Schmirler Foundation.

“It was thought that we should try to raise awareness and the profile of the foundation, not just around the Scotties/Brier, but at other times as well,” Carter said.

So how does it work?

Simply put, a team takes a photo of each member sleeping. You then post the photos on Twitter and Facebook through the foundation’s website. You then tag two other teams to take up the challenge of snoozing for dough. Everyone involved should donate to the foundation but also encourage others to donate.

Plus Bobbleheads are at stake!

Every team that enters is included in a draw for team bobbleheads with a striking resemblance to the winning team members. Most importantly, the team that raises the most funds will have it matched by the foundation. That team can also resent to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit and pick where they want the money directed.

But why did she pick the sleep concept?

“After having my own children, I understood that one thing a new parent is gobsmacked with, is the amount of sleep their new cherubs need, and the fleeting luxury of quality sleep a new parent can expect. Factor in the mandatory need of all curling athletes, and their need to be well-rested to perform their best, and the connection of sleep became clear.”

Remember, this is from a curler who was pregnant during two Scotties.

Plenty of high-profile curlers are supporting the Sweep to Sleep challenge, including Team Glenn Howard.

After looking at the poster, one has to be suspect about Craig “why should I wear clothes” Savill. Between last year’s calendar and the poster, who knows?

Carter hopes this catches on with everyone.

“But we want the challenge to not be just elite teams, but teams of all calibres … everyone who just enjoys the game, or enjoys watching the game.”

Visit for more info.


Ottawa’s Earle Morris was the recent recipient of the Coaches Association of Canada’s Petro Canada Coaching Excellence award. He received along with curling three Olympic gold medal team coaches”¦Buckingham’s Richard Faguy won the senior section of the Circuit Provincial du Quebec. The win assures his team a spot in the senior provincials.


Mississauga’s Cathy Auld defeated favourite Julie Hastings from Thornhill 7-4 in the Royal Lepage OVCA Women’s Fall Classic on Sunday. The game revolved around two draws against four by each skip. In the fourth, Auld successfully drew the four-foot to score one. In the sixth, Hastings missed the four-foot when she wrecked on a guard giving up a steal of four. With Carly Howard as lead, her old man Glenn showed up to coach. Brother Russ had less luck with his Japanese squad. They lasted three games. The winner left with $5,200 and the runner-up with $2,800.

The semifinalists were Gatineau’s Lauren Mann and Quebec City’s Kimberly Mastine ($1,800 each) while the quarter-finalists were Theresa Breen, Erin Morrissey, Danielle Inglis and Breanne Meakin.


Ottawa’s Chris Gardner told the Ottawa Sun that the hospitality in North Bay at the Canadian Mixed has been spectacular. He is skipping Team Ontario. However, he said, “The key is balancing the social aspect and the competitive aspect. It’s easy to get carried away in either of them.”

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



The celebrity curlers keep coming.

Two-time Brier champ and World champion Kerry Burtnyk was in town last weekend watching his two daughters compete and now it’s the turn of Russ Howard this weekend.

Howard is coaching a Japanese team competing in the Royal Lepage OVCA Women’s Fall Classic in Kemptville’s North Grenville Curling Club.

Besides the Japanese team skipped by Touri Koana (they have a 7-8 record in three Canadian events so far) there are squads from Sweden, the U.S., as well as Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, P.E.I. (defending champion Susanne Birt), Quebec and Ontario.

So how does Russ Howard end up coaching a Japanese team?

It started in 1983 when Howard made ice in Midland Ontario. He was asked to teach a Japanese man who had never seen curling how to curl. He taught the rookie — Hiroshi Kobayashi — how to curl and that started a lifelong friendship. Kobayashi was, in fact, the man who put curling into the Olympics at Nagano in 1998. (Canada voted against its inclusion.)

This man brought Howard to Japan many times to instruct. Kobayashi even built a two-sheet curling club on Mount Fuji. The women Howard is coaching are not the Japanese national team. They are four good club curlers from Mr. Kobayashi’s facility.

“I am just doing this as a friend. Thirty-one years I have known this guy and he keep popping into my life.” said Howard. “I call him Mister Lucky.”

The Julie Hastings rink from Thornhill is on a roll with a 20-4 record and has won two events. The team sits at No. 10 on the money list. Other than Ottawa’s Rachel Homan, no one has repeated as winners here. Be prepared for anything.

The first draw isThursday morning at 9:15. The 24-team triple knockout leads to an eight rink Sunday playoff round with the final starting at 3:30. Adult full event passes are $10; a day pass is $5 with those under 17 admitted free. Check out


Lauren Horton skipped her team to a narrow victory Sunday in the JSI OVCA Junior Superspiel. They stole one in the 10th end over Winnipeg’s Rachel Burtnyk. Burtnyk chose to hit instead of drawing against three but overthrew it. Sharing the $4,000 purse with Horton were Kimberly Gannon, Cassandra Lewin and Jessica Armstrong. Korey Dropkin from Massachusetts took the men’s side. The team of Bryan Cochrane, Doug Johnston, Ian MacAulay and Richard Nimijean captured a senior bonspiel at the Rideau.


In Sunday’s Pinty’s Grand Slam, Mike McEwen made the shot of the season to score four in the sixth end. Was it a called shot? Here is what McEwen told the Ottawa Sun. “Option A was the double run back onto our red in the house to send it back to pick their yellow off and a likely result of 2, 3, or almost impossibly a 4. Honestly, to send a long double run to the general area of target was the first goal and how it turned out was stupendous — did not imagine option B would work for 4!”


Montreal’s Hardline Curling pitches its products tonight on CBC’s Dragon’s Den … The CCA is making an announcement Nov. 20 at TD Place … The Canadian Mixed begins Monday in North Bay. The Ottawa team of Chris Gardner, Trish Hill, Jonathan Beuk and Jessica Barcauskas is Team Ontario. This is Gardner’s second national mixed but with a different team. The Northwest Territories team is back-ended by Jamie Koe and his sister Kerry Galusha who just may win the thing.

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling ColumnistBY

burtnyk girls

It’s scary how good they are.

The JSI OVCA Junior Superspiel begins on Halloween Friday with some of the best talent in the world sliding into town.

This year’s men’s roster might just be the best in recent years. Yannick Schwaller skips his Swiss team, the defending world junior men’s champs. The two Manitoba rinks are the two past defending Canadian junior champions, Braden Calvert and Matt Dunstone. The 2014 Canadian junior runner-up rink is here from New Brunswick, skipped by Rene Comeau. He is also the spiel’s defending men’s champion. Joining the fray is the U.S. junior men’s champion Korey Dropkin.

Although not as strong, the women’s side will feature the Scottish team skipped by Gina Aitken, a Swiss rink skipped by Lisa Gisler and a U.S. squad. Of interest is a Manitoba team coached by TSN’s Cathy Gauthier, whose daughter Gaetanne is second. This team’s skip and third — Rachel and Laura Burtnyk — have a bit of curling pedigree. Their father, Kerry, might know something about rings.

Ottawa skip Colton Daly earned a berth in the event through the qualifier and is looking forward to competing.

“We get to test ourselves against the best in the world,” said Daly, whose team made it to the semi-finals last year. “I like our chances. If we do one better or we win the thing we will be very happy.”

The 20-year-old university student feels that the two Manitoba men’s teams are the biggest competition.

“They both even beat some pretty good men’s teams on the world curling tour,” he noted.

Daly faces off against Calvert Friday morning at 9 at Carleton Heights.

Besides the international field, teams are coming from every province from Manitoba east. The 98 matches begin Friday morning with six clubs involved. The championship round begins Sunday afternoon at noon at Carleton Heights. Each gender champion earns $4,000 per team. Admission is free. Visit for more information.

OCA RESULTS: The winners of the regional Travelers Insurance Club Curling event were: 1&2A – Erica Hopson and Ken Sullivan; Zone 3&4: Ronna Reddick and Mike Hull. All advance to the provincials which run at the Cornwall Centre this weekend.

HOME TEAM ALMOST: Gatineau’s Jean-Michel Menard lost the final of the Challenge Chateau Cartier by a score of 5-3 to Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen. McEwen is on a streak of four straight wins with a 28-1 record. Ottawa’s Don Bowser lost the semi-final to Menard. Bowser is on a streak of his own, qualifying in every event this season. Erroneous information appeared here last week. Owing to some miscommunication, only one team left the Gatineau event and that was due to entry fee non-payment.

FIRST GRAND SLAM: The most prominent names in curling are in Selkirk, Man., this weekend for the $100,000 Masters. No game may ever be a blow-out as the five rock rule is in force — teams cannot hit a guard rock out of play until the sixth rock of the end. Kevin Martin makes his debut as a commentator, as well. Ottawa players are prominent with Team Rachel Homan and Glenn Howard (with Ottawa lead Craig Savill) as the defending champs. Also from Ottawa is Lee Merklinger. Many Homan fans will get to see the new second, Joanne Courtney, for the first time. This event also marks the television debut for new teams — John Morris, Glenn Howard, Kevin Koe, Jeff Stoughton, Jim Cotter and Val Sweeting.

Sportsnet will televise games beginning tomorrow afternoon at 1:30. The broadcast schedule is available at

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


It reads like the who’s who of men’s curling.

Mike McEwen, Niklas Edin, David Murdoch and Brad Gushue will be in Gatineau. In fact, seven countries are represented (Canada — seven provinces, Sweden, Scotland, Switzerland, the U.S., China) at the annual Challenge Château Cartier de Gatineau which runs today through Sunday.

The impressive field is divided into a 32-team elite division and a 25-team open division. The action will take place at the Centre Sportif Robert-Rochon as well as the Buckingham and the Thurso curling clubs.

Six local rinks, however, got booted from the spiel. Those rinks claim the organizers wanted to include more prominent teams on the roster.

Greg Drummond, third on the David Murdoch rink, told the Sun, “We want to play in this event as our fellow competitors have told us that the event in the past has attracted a high quality field and provided high quality ice. These were the main reasons that we chose this event. We are hoping it will be the perfect platform for us to prepare for the Grand Slam event the following week. We decided to compete in this event when we put our schedule together during the summer.”

Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen told the Sun, “Actually we were originally entered in the Brooks event to defend our title. The event was cancelled for this season and we had heard good things about the Gatineau event so we managed to get one of the last few spots.” The Cactus Pheasant Classic in Brooks, Alta., was cancelled on Sept. 7.

Spiel organizers are faced with a dilemma when prominent teams want in an event. Do they drive the gate and attract sponsors? Does the dismissal of local rinks, often the fodder teams who populate your event in the lean years, hurt your entries going forward?

Spiel organizer Dany Beaulieu could not be reached before deadline.

The Gatineau event begins on Wednesday at 8 p.m. for the open section. The elite teams begin Thursday morning at 8:30. The final is Sunday afternoon at 3:30. Admission is $5. The draw is available at


In Innisfil, Ont., the Ottawa squad of Colin Dow, Ritchie Gillin, Brett Lyon-Hatcher and John Steski won the Stroud Sleeman cashspiel and $3,000. In Almonte the JSI OVCA Junior SuperSpiel qualifier produced six teams who advance to the Super Spiel in November. Those skips are Lauren Horton, Hailey Armstrong, Emma Wallingford, Doug Kee, Colton Daly and Hayden Richmond.


Our good wishes go to the folks at City View whose compressor went bust just as the season began. They have suspended play until the repairs are done about November 3.


The Hogline-sponsored city wide Ottawa Youth League begins plays this Sunday with a star-studded lineup of instructors for a clinic for curlers 12 to 18. The instructors are Lee Merklinger, Craig Savill, Alison Kreviazuk and Fredrik Lindberg. Previously, Rachel Homan and Emma Miskew provided a mini clinic. The league allows the participants to play with no coach or parental involvement. There are three divisions — the Homan, Savill and Merklinger divisions. Play takes place at three clubs on Sundays– the Ottawa, Manotick and RCMP.


The Carleton Ravens women’s curling team are the Canadian champions. They will be representing Canada in Spain at the World University Games in February, 2015. They are trying to raise $5,000 to offset the cost of event entry fees, travel and accommodation as they prepare for Spain. If you would like to donate check out

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There was lots to give thanks for on the weekend if you like Ottawa area curlers.

Closer to home Gatineau’s Jean-Michel Menard took on Ottawa’s Ian MacAulay at the Capital Curling Classic at the RCMP rink. Menard outplayed MacAulay to get the 8-4 win.

In Toronto Lee Merklinger from Ottawa moved up to third on her Sherry Middaugh rink (Middaugh was away). They made it to the finals of the Stu Sells Toronto Tankard. They managed a 5-4 win over a team from Montreal. The Quebec rink is actually skipped by Lauren Mann who curls in Ottawa and recently moved from Ottawa to Gatineau to abide by residency rules.

In Calgary at the Curling Corner Autumn Gold Curling Classic Rachel Homan faced Jennifer Jones in the event final that took a last end shot for the Jone’s 6-5 win.

The local team skipped by Erin Morrissey made the semi-finals at Stu Sells with her Ottawa team and Danielle Inglis  from southern Ontario has 3 Ottawa teammates who qualified in TO as well.

Team Glenn Howard lead, Ottawa’s Craig Savill, helped his team make the semi-finals in Toronto as well.

All in all Ottawa talent shone on the weekend.



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On Sunday September 26 the future of curling clubs might have taken a turn for the better.

The first ever Trainer of New Curlers seminar took place at the Ottawa Curling Club. Thirty instructors representing seventeen clubs took part. The seminar was lead by Earle Morris who years ago, at the behest and with the financial backing of the Canadian Curling Association, developed the first multi-week, multi-instructor Getting Started program.

So why is this such a seminal moment? Two reasons.

Curling facilities that offer a long term program such as Getting Started give their new recruits more of a chance for success. Their positive feeling towards both the sport and their club results in a better than average retention factor which is good for the financial sustainability of the operation.

In this day and age the people who are new to curling and want to learn the game tend to be life-long learners. They want the feedback a multi-week program can give them.

The second reason is financial. Unlike the old school curlers who devalue the sport by resisting anything that costs more than a couple of dollars or isn’t free at their club, these rookie curlers see the value in this type of program. They don’t mind paying for a value proposition where they gain a life-long skill. Hence the club benefits with an increased revenue stream and a whole new breed of curler who are used to paying a fair fee.

The old school will never understand this.

The fact that 30 people are now trained will go a long way to ensuring their clubs keep members and attract new ones. In this day of social media people with rave reviews of a program will help attract new people. Some Getting Started leagues are so full that it becomes an opportunity to populate other leagues.

The CCA’s Danny Lamoureux and the Ottawa Valley Curling Association’s Elaine Brimicombe came up with the idea of initiating the instructor course at a recent Business of Curling course. They both realized how futile it is to have a new member enter the front door of a club, get a few minutes of instruction before a game, then leave through the back door when they feel frustrated and embarrassed by how bad they curl.

With all the exposure curling gets this longer term focus on treating the customer right will bode well for a more robust curling club sustainability than the model used for years.

Clubs would be wise to get trained then getting started on the road to a better future.







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It’s about time.

With youth curling numbers dropping an enthusiastic member of the RCMP Curling Club took it upon himself to begin a new city wide under 18 league for young curlers 12 to 18.

Marc Bourguignon has been energizing the group of volunteers dedicated to giving young curlers a chance to play with out direction and just to have fun.

THE PLAYERS: Set teams of any combination can join the league. Individuals can also join and organizers will attempt to piece together teams.

FORMAT: Depending on team numbers, (16 squads is ideal) the league will be divided into 3 divisions – the Homan division, the Savill division and the Merklinger division. Teams move up and down within their divisions with a championship happening at the end of the season.

WHERE: The league schedule has all divisions playing at the same time at 3 different clubs – The RCMP, Russell and the Ottawa. Games are all at 9 on Sunday mornings at the Ottawa, 11 a.m. at the RCMP and 1 p.m. in Russell.

LOTS OF HIGH PRICED HELP: This Sunday morning October 5 from 9 to noon an ICEBREAKER is taking place at the RCMP. Teams can find new players and all league members can practice – oh an some Team Homan members will be on hand to give a clinic at 9! More famous curlers will be showing up on October 26 at the RCMP – Craig Savill and  Lee Merklinger plus some others  – will be presenting a skills clinic to the registered teams. Organizers are promising some great door prizes.

This is the first year for the Ottawa Youth Curling League sponsors by the Hogline Curlers Proshop. Let’s hope by allowing the participants to play, have fun and not be intruded upon that more kids will enroll.


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Sources indicate that the Canadian Curling Association will announce in October that Ottawa will be the site for the 2016 Tim Hortons Brier. Assuming that is true this makes it very unlikely that Ottawa will be awarded the 2017 Tim Hortons Curling Trails.

In this day and age money is important to the CCA as hosting major events is a good source of revenue for them. The CCA ran a deficit of $762,942 in 2012/13 then realized a surplus of $ 6,437 in 2013/14. Winnipeg’s winning bid for the last Trials in 2013 came in at $1 million which topped all other bids. Six cities bid for that event with Ottawa among the final three – Saskatoon joined Ottawa and Winnipeg as finalists.

Ottawa’s $750,000 bid wasn’t enough to secure that 2013 Trials. It will cost at least $1 million for the 2017 edition.

The Senators Sports and Entertainment group along with Ottawa Tourism is bidding for the Trials but the bid might be still born if Ottawa gets the Brier. Two back to back events will burn out the volunteer corps as well as tap out local sponsors.

Unless the bid money is much larger than the $1 million minimum needed there isn’t a chance the Trials will come here.

Sources also indicate that London, Ontario is going to bid. They did a stellar job in hosting the 2011 Brier. Attendance was pegged at 113,626.

The Trials might not be such a cash cow for the host city either. Of the last 3 Trials Winnipeg scored the worst attendance at 136,771. Halifax bettered it with 159,235 but Edmonton got 175,852 spectators. Is it worth committing a large sum of money for the event?

The road to Pyeongchang, South Korea could be expensive.




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The Hogline Curlers Proshop was happy to participate in this fund raiser for the club by providing door prizes and buying cruise tickets for the store staff.


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Photos courtesy of Pascal Ratthe


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The Following is from  the Grand Slam website and written by lead Nolan Thiessen of Team Canada.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2014, 1:35 PM
As I sit down to write this blog, the sports headlines are littered with racist owners, videos of vile domestic abuse incidents and drug arrests. Outside of the unveiling of the stops on the Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour (shout out to my hometown of Brandon, Man., which is stop No. 8) there is not much good out there.

I am here to change that. I figured with the lid lifting on the World Curling Tour for the 2014-15 season this month, I would take a few minutes and debunk a few misconceptions about curling and curlers in general. I will try to put a lighter spin on some of these to brighten your day.

The majority of the readers here on the GSOC website will already know the ridiculousness of a few of my points, but I am hoping that through social media this information will get to some non-curling aficionados and their eyes will open.

No. 1 — No we do not sweep our kitchens or garages for practice

I was often asked this at my old firm by a few managers higher up on the food chain. At the time I was fairly new so being the good employee I was — and someone who didn’t want to get kicked down the corporate ladder by calling their superior an idiot — I just smiled and provided a sarcastic “yeah all the time.”

The art of sweeping has come a long way in the last 6-8 years with actual scientific research being performed on sweeping. It has led to the advent of new brush heads (EQ, the Norway Pad and the Hardline brushes to name a few) and curlers watching video of themselves sweeping in order to change techniques to improve their ability to affect a shot.

Teams take sweeping very seriously in an effort to find any advantage they can obtain in order to win just like any other high-profile sport. It is actually an insult to think that brushing up some dirt off of your floor is all you need to do in order to improve.

Besides, like most men out there, I have a high-powered leaf blower to clean out my garage. Why would I clean my garage by manual labour when I can have air flowing at 200 mph do it for me?

No. 2 — We don’t yell “Hurry Hard” throughout our everyday lives

I know “Hurry Hard” is the expression that most everyone associates with curling. I know that many stakeholders in the game use it to draw interest in the sport through their marketing. But to answer your questions, no I don’t yell at my kids to “Hurry Hard” to do their homework. I don’t yell at my dog (aptly named “Brier”) to “Hurry Hard” to go fetch the tennis ball. And I definitely do not yell “Hurry Hard” at my wife for any reason whatsoever.

Besides, yelling “Hurry Hard” in curling means I probably threw it tight or dumped my in-turn, it’s not exactly something I am proud of out there. I prefer when I just get to say “clean” or “don’t fall on it boys” to my sweepers … it means I probably made my shot.

No. 3 — No you can’t pick up curling this fall and be in the Olympics in four years

I normally do not get too irrationally angry at sports talk radio. They are paid to have opinions (they don’t have to be my opinions … I get that) and they are paid to try to stir up interest and controversy.

But in February I remember listening to an American station on my satellite radio and being angry at a former NFL QB (he of the sparkling 63.2 lifetime QB rating in the NFL). Mr. Kanell decided to tell everyone that he felt like he could start curling this year and be good enough in four years to represent the United States in 2018 in Pyeongchang.

Sure you are athletic Danny, sure you may be able to pick up the sport to some extent if you had the time and desire to try it, but here’s an idea. Try to make 17 or your first 19 shots and then throw your 20th knowing if you miss, your team loses and it is looked at as your entire fault. Let that marinate in your brain while you sit in the hack. Then come back and tell me that you were right and curling is easy.

None of this takes into consideration learning the strategy of the game, which guys who have played at the highest level for 20 years still discuss on a regular basis. Nobody has the magic secret, it is not that easy.

That type of mentality to suggest that curling can be mastered in such short order is mind-boggling to me coming from a former professional athlete, someone who should know how hard every sport is to conquer at the highest level.

So stick to being a talking head for college and NFL football Danny, we’ll stick to trying to compete in the Olympics.

No. 4 — If the ice is bad for both teams, it should affect you the same way

Before the pitchforks come out, I am not going to say that whining and complaining about the ice conditions is a good thing. I know many fans hear the comments about the “ice being garbage” on the live microphones and they hate hearing it, so I am not saying you should give us curlers a break on that one.

I get it … we GSOC players are spoiled by playing on ice like what Mark Shurek provides us, but what I am here to say is that when a team says the ice conditions were difficult it probably just means that a facet of their game was taken away. It isn’t so much that players can’t make shots, it is more that they can’t trust what the ice is going to do so they are less willing to try the harder shots.

Also for those outsiders to say “well both teams have to play on it” I have this comparison to draw. Say you have a basketball game and one team has a 6-4 point guard and four guys between 6-9 and 7-3. They face a team with a 5-10 point guard and four guys between 6-3 and 6-9. In order for the little team to have a chance, they are probably going to have to make a bunch of threes early to get the big (probably slower) guys outside so they have some room to maneuver and get closer to the basket (where higher percentage shots are available) to win.

Now take away the three-point line. What incentive does the big team have to go outside to protect against the long (lower percentage) shots? The little team is going to get boat-raced since they do not have any avenue to attack the big team with. The behemoths will sit back and swat everything that comes their way on defence and have a steady stream of post-up baskets at the other end.

The same goes for ice conditions. Say two teams are playing and one is excellent with finesse and the other team is not great drawers but they are exceptional hitters (we can all figure out teams that fall into these categories). If the ice is straight then the finesse team can’t draw behind guards, or freeze on rocks behind guards. It is much easier for the hitting team to win right, since the finesse team has nowhere to hide? That is what teams mean when they discuss ice conditions. The best ice gives everyone a chance to play the way they would like to, to trust that every shot is available. The bad ice eliminates a large portion of the shots available.

(It does bring up the need for teams to adapt their strategy when ice conditions are not great and not just complain, but that is a topic for another day).

No. 5 — Curling is Canada’s game only

This topic is not really light-hearted or one I can make fun of. It is just the truth and something we as Canadians have to accept, even if we don’t want to give up our sacred hold atop of the curling universe.

Sure, Canada has the most curlers in the world and we probably always will but like most sports, borders are falling. Teams from across the globe are getting better and trying to dethrone Canada. Countries are sending over multiple teams to compete on the World Curling Tour in order to improve not only their current top teams, but create a pipeline of successful teams and players.

Look at last season’s Players Championship in P.E.I., which invited teams based on the year’s results. The men’s draw had 3 of 12 teams from outside of Canada and the women’s draw had 4 of 12 (not to mention that the Swiss teams that were in P.E.I. were not the men’s world bronze or women’s world gold medallists). These teams are no longer cupcakes that we get to pad our records with; they are tough competitors and here to take our championships.

The sport is growing worldwide and that is a good thing. Non-traditional curling countries can bring fresh new ideas to the sport, which will help growth.

But the true benefit to the growth of the game is the competition. It is what drives teams to get better and we have seen that in curling over the last 10 years. The World Curling Tour is truly becoming the WORLD Curling Tour and we are all better for it.


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The World Curling Federation (WCF) isn’t content with just 1 mixed world championship. It wants two.

At their recently concluded World Curling Congress the WCF announced the sanctioning of a new Mixed World Curling championship that would take the place of the European Mixed.

This would happen during the 2015/16 season.

Now why the change? The WCF already has the Mixed Doubles that they are trying to get included as a demo sport in the Korean hosted next winter games. But have the curling powers that be had a change of heart and realized that the 2 person team format is boring.

Besides electing a new board (2 Canucks are on board – one as a VP) two other interesting items got approved.

1.  Conditional membership will be considered for the Hong Kong Curling Association and the Qatar Curling Federation. You don’t have to worry about rainfall humidity affecting the ice surface in the latter country. The Armenian National Curling Federation was excluded from membership during the Assembly.

2. The WCF revealed plans for a Portable Curling Facility/ To quote their release “This new programme offered by the Federation is to help establish dedicated curling facilities in regions which have, up until now, found it difficult to garner the resources to build a permanent curling facility.” This is an excellent idea. Please share the plans with us.

Well here it is.







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Below is the press release that came out of the last CCA AGM. The last paragraph might be the best news with regards to a lot of curlers.


New governors, new rules, new event formats
come out of CCA Annual Meeting

A productive five days of learning, discussions and meetings wrapped up with the election of two new members of the Canadian Curling Association Board of Governors, a new chair and vice-chair, new formats for the Canadian Senior and Mixed Curling Championships, and some tweaks to the Canadian rulebook.

The first Canadian Curling Summit in Niagara Falls, Ont., saw participants from across the country engage in a variety of discussions, all aimed at continuing the growth of curling in Canada.

Following the Summit and the inaugural Swing & Sweep Golf Tournament, presented by Pinty’s, which raised funds for the For the Love of Curling philanthropic program, delegates from the CCA’s 14 Member Associations as well as the Board of Governors met for the National Curling Congress on Thursday, followed by elections of officers and voting on motions.

“It was a wonderfully positive week in Niagara Falls, and I think it’s safe to say that everyone came away with a really positive feeling about the future of our sport and ways to reach out to new participants, both young and old,” said Greg Stremlaw, Chief Executive Officer for the CCA. “After such an amazing 2013-14 curling season, it was great to be able to share our successes with people from across the country, while still maintaining our focus on improving on what we have, both at the high-performance and grassroots levels.”

The Board of Governors elected Marilyn Neily of Pleasantville N.S., as Chair for the 2014-15 season, and Bob Osborne of St. John’s, N.L., as vice-chair. Additionally, delegates voted in new governors Scott Comfort of Wadena, Sask., and Liz Goldenberg of North Vancouver, B.C., four-year terms.

Among the motions that were approved by delegates during the meetings:

— The two-year trial for the Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials was extended for another year, with a decision expected in the next 12 months on whether the discipline will be included as a medal sport for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

— The qualifying rounds at the Canadian Seniors and Mixed Championships were eliminated and replaced by a similar 14-team direct-entry format that is currently used at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Men’s and Women’s Championships, with the 14 teams split into two seven-team pools, and the top-four finishers from each pool advancing to the championship round-robin. As well, games at both the Seniors and Mixed nationals will be reduced to eight ends, falling in line with international competitions.

— The age-eligible date for juniors to play at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors was shifted six months back to fall in line with the World Curling Federation rules. Previously, Canadian juniors had to be 20 and under as of Dec. 31 of the year prior to a Canadian championship; now they have to be 20 and under as of June 30 of the previous year. Prior to this change, non-Canadian players at the World Junior Championships could be up to six months older than the eldest Canadian player.

— Among various minor tweaks to the Canadian rulebook that will govern the sport here from 2014 through 2018 was a change in the timing system. Thinking time for 10-end games will be reduced to 38 minutes from 40 minutes, and to four minutes and 30 seconds in the extra end from five minutes. This change is also expected to be made by the World Curling Federation later this month.

— A proposal to investigate potential resources to help teams participating in the qualifying round at the Tim Hortons Brier and Scotties Tournament of Hearts was approved, with report to be presented to the membership at the 2015 National Curling Congress.

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Barrhead crowned 2014 Kraft Celebration Tour winner
Curling club to receive grand prize totaling $100k
by  Kelly Brooks, courtesy of the Barrhead Leader
The Barrhead Curling Club was announced the winner of the 2014 Kraft Celebration Tour, news that rocked the community Monday, Aug. 25.

The victory means the curling club will be awarded the contest’s grand prize of $75,000 in addition to the $25,000 they received during the KCT event on August 18.

Many gathered at the Barrhead Golf Club to wait for the news, which was announced on the 4 p.m. TSN show.

The moment Barrhead was named the winning community, the crowd of anxious residents erupted in deafening cheers.

Patty Storseth-Wierenga, who nominated the curling club, was among those giving hugs and high-fives in the crowd. After receiving a congratulatory phone call from TSN SportsCentre anchor Kate Beirness, Storseth-Wierenga commended everyone who was involved in bringing success to Barrhead.

“I had a great team. I had several great partners by my side,” she said, adding Jenny Bruns was as much of a part of organizing as she was. “The Barrhead Curling executives, the volunteers, the community, TSN, Kraft, Mosaic, everybody made this happen.”

Storseth-Wierenga said every time she was out in the community, the residents, businesses and organizations all showed excitement and enthusiasm towards the KCT campaign.

“We’ve seen it rurally, we’ve seen it through the Town of Barrhead, everybody rolled out the red carpet. I didn’t even have to ask and people were offering,” she said. “It made my heart smile being a part of this community, so thank you.”

Moments after TSN’s announcement, Town of Barrhead Mayor Gerry St. Pierre expressed how proud he was of every person who was involved.

“It’s a wonderful announcement for the community,” he said. “It proves that if we set our mind to doing something, we can accomplish anything. I am so, so proud of each and every one of you and the community as a whole. “

Although he was just as ecstatic as everyone else, St. Pierre said part of him wasn’t surprised Barrhead claimed the win.

“I didn’t have any reason to know in advance, but I was quite comfortable that we had a really good shot at it,” he said.

Still smiling after hearing the news himself, County of Barrhead Reeve Bill Lee said winning the KCT is a historic moment in Barrhead’s history.

“I jumped up and screamed and there were tears in my eyes,” said Lee. “We were one in the province to get the $25,000, we’re one in Canada to get it all. Isn’t that something? All of Canada, we’re number one. I am so proud.”

Lee added this was the work of the community, and an accomplishment that had no government involvement. That says a lot about the community of Barrhead, he said.

“It just shows when you put your mind to something and get together, many hands make light work,” he said. “This is what happened. Everybody did what they could to make this happen, and look at what came of it.”

Barrhead Curling Club president Brian MacGillvray said he was “totally shocked” when Barrhead was announced the winner. As someone who was heavily involved with the events that followed the nomination, MacGillvray said it was a rewarding experience to watch the community come together.”

“It’s a learning experience to work with a Canadian-wide project, and it was worth it. It was amazing to see that we could do it and put it together,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of work to keep the club going, and it will survive for a long time because of this.”

MacGillvray said the club is in great need of a new ice plant, which costs around $130,000. The money from the KCT will give the club a good shot at having a state of the art ice plant, he said.

Additionally, the curling club has been struggling with utility costs.

“Like every other rural town, [the club] is suffering with the high cost of utilities,” he said. “Our utilities are killing us, so hopefully we can streamline some of our cost and keep it going.”

Bruns, who heard the announcement at her home, said she hopes this isn’t the end for the community spirit that has been shown over the past several weeks.

“Everybody took full ownership and just went nuts with it, continuing on right until the last second when we found out. It showed they were proud of their town, no matter who’s getting the money,” said Bruns. “We hope they hold on to their community spirit as they move forward. As a community, look what we can do when we all get together.”

“For me it really opened my heart to what a grand community we live in. I’ve had that experience before. It was through tough times, and the community wrapped their arms around me. They’ve done it again in joyous times,” added Storseth-Wierenga. “I’m very proud to say Barrhead is my community.”

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FALL ROCKS poster 2014


Novice Open Ca$h-$piel
RCN (Navy) Curling Club
October 4 & 5, 2014
OVCA Colts Event #1
5 years and under – Open format
Any combination of male/female players
$ 260 entry fee
Maximum of 24 teams
3 games guaranteed
Saturday dinner
Additional Prizes to be won!
Finals on Sunday with lunch available for
Hosted by the RCN Evening Ladies Division in association with the OVCA Colts League
For information on rules, eligibility and to register visit
Please contact Stephanie McClennan or Denis Carter for more information

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Boat Cruise (Clark)


Gananoque Curling Club
In conjunction with
The Brockville Country Club
Cruise the Thousand Islands and mingle with Team Canada’s Olympic
Gold Medalist Team Jacobs, Team Canada’s Olympic Golf Medalist, Brad
Gushue Olympic Silver Medalist Dave Murdoch of Scotland and Olympic
Bronze Medalist and World Curling Champion Eve Muirhead of Scotland
along with many more outstanding curlers.
Wednesday, September 17th
, 4:00pm – 7:00pm
Cost is $25.00 per person
Includes 3 hour boat cruise and appetizers
For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact:
Jayne Curtis, Gananoque Curling Club 613 382-3281
Brockville Country Club 613-342-2468

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original-social LEAGUE ovca


Thanks to curlers and designers Debra Gerylo-Smith and husband Gary, the Ottawa Valley Curling Association just may have a tag line that is at the cutting edge of where many curlers are at. Congrats!

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Posted below is the press release issued by the Canadian Curling Association announcing its “new” National Team Program. This initiative is designed to keep Canada winning medals at the international level. But is this the way to go?

Is this a short sighted policy? What about players development to replace these 12 teams as they move on? Is there a policy and a plan in place for that?

The CCA wants to keep winning medals to ensure Sport Canada/Olympic funding. This is another reason why in the recent past, the CCA has taken a more active hand in, for instance, announcing team changes. This is something that players themselves had done in the past. Everyone has to tow the party line.

While the teams chosen obviously deserve it – what about those teams coming up? Where are their resources?


For Immediate Release
Aug. 14, 2014
CCA announces
2014-15 National Team Program squads
Six men’s and six women’s teams will be part of the Canadian Curling Association’s National Team Program (NTP), it was announced today.

The teams qualified for the NTP based on their standings on the Order of Merit following the 2013-14 curling season. As part of the NTP, the teams will have funding to cover some of the costs of competition and training, in addition to being able to access high-performance resources in the areas of sports science, sports medicine and coaching from either inside or outside of the CCA.

Here are the teams that have qualified for the 2014-15 National Team Program, in order of their Order of Merit standings:

(Skip, third, second, lead)
Team Jacobs (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.) — Brad Jacobs, Ryan Fry, E.J. Harnden, Ryan Harnden.
Team McEwen (Winnipeg) — Mike McEwen, B.J. Neufeld, Matt Wozniak, Denni Neufeld.
Team Morris (Calgary) — John Morris, Pat Simmons, Carter Rycroft, Nolan Thiessen.
Team Gushue (St. John’s) — Brad Gushue, Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant, Geoff Walker.
Team Koe (Calgary) — Kevin Koe, Marc Kennedy, Brent Laing, Ben Hebert.
Team Howard (Penetanguishene, Ont.) — Glenn Howard, Richard Hart, Jon Mead, Craig Savill.

(Skip, third, second, lead)
Team Jones (Winnipeg) — Jennifer Jones, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer, Dawn McEwen.
Team Homan (Ottawa) — Rachel Homan, Emma Miskew, Joanne Courtney, Lisa Weagle.
Team Lawton (Saskatoon) — Stefanie Lawton, Sherry Anderson, Sherri Singler, Marliese Kasner.
Team Sweeting (Edmonton) — Val Sweeting, Andrea Crawford, Dana Ferguson, Rachelle Pidherny.
Team Middaugh (Coldwater, Ont.) — Sherry Middaugh, Jo-Ann Rizzo, Lee Merklinger, Leigh Armstrong.
Team Nedohin (Sherwood Park, Alta.) — Heather Nedohin, Amy Nixon, Jessica Mair, Laine Peters.

“The depth of curling talent in our country is amazing, and the international results continue to prove that,” said CCA Chief Executive Officer Greg Stremlaw. “We were the only country in the world to have no team finish outside of the top six in traditional four-player world and Olympic championship events last season, and the National Team Program has played a significant role in those ongoing successes.”

All 12 teams will be participating in the opening event of the CCA’s Season of Champions, the 2014 Canada Cup of Curling presented by Meridian Manufacturing, running Dec. 3 to 7 at Encana Arena in Camrose, Alta.

“As always, the objective of the National Team Program is to achieve podium results at international competitions, and we’re excited about the potential of the group of athletes that is part of the NTP for the 2014-15 season to continue to maintain those high expectations,” said Gerry Peckham, Director, High Performance, for the CCA. “Thanks to this program, these teams, based on their proven performance levels, will be given every competitive advantage possible to keep Canada contending for international medals.”


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new tankard sponsor


The Dairy Farmers of Ontario issued a press release a couple of days ago indicating that they are now the sponsors  for the 2015 Ontario Men’s Tankard – The 2015 Recharge with Milk Tankard. See the full press release below.

This is perhaps a first however. I received this press release  from the dairy farmers but obviously the Ontario Curling Association must have provided contact info to them about curling writers and publications. Why is thus worth noting?

In my almost 12 years of writing about curling I believe I have ever received 3 press releases from the OCA about anything. This is a nice change and we all hope this now becomes the norm.


Dairy Farmers of Ontario will be the Title Sponsor of the 2015 Ontario Men’s Curling
Championships Hosted by Ingersoll District Curling Club:
The 2015 Recharge with Milk Tankard
Helping Ontario Curlers Power Up and Recharge

TORONTO, ON, August 8, 2014 – Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) announced today their title sponsorship of the 2015 Ontario Men’s Curling Championship: The 2015 Recharge with Milk Tankard.

“Supporting the 2015 Tankard was a natural fit for Dairy Farmers of Ontario and the Recharge with Milk Program,” said Bill Emmott, DFO Chair. “We are extremely proud of Ontario curlers and the dedication they put into their sport, and we are proud to throw our support behind them.”

Research continues to demonstrate the benefits of drinking milk and specifically, chocolate milk as an effective post-workout beverage. Milk has all of the nutritional attributes to help refuel and repair exhausted muscles. The post-workout recovery benefit of milk is the combination of carbohydrates, high-quality protein, fluid and electrolytes that help the body recharge. Research shows 2% milk has significant post-sport rehydration benefits, surpassing both water and sport drinks.

The 2015 Recharge with Milk Tankard will be hosted by the Ingersoll District Curling Club in February 2015 at the Dorchester Flight Exec Centre in the Municipality of Thames Centre. This event “The Clash on the Thames” is held in cooperation with the Ontario Curling Association and the Towns of Ingersoll and Dorchester. Eleven teams representing all the Ontario curling zones will play down to an exciting final that will determine the team representing Ontario in the national Brier. With more than 140 teams from across Ontario vying for the 10 spots available in each championship – the 11th already qualified is the previous year’s winner, Team Balsdon. The provincial bonspiel will bring thousands of people into Ingersoll, Dorchester and London between February 1st – 9th, 2015.

“The Ingersoll District Club has put in a lot of work preparing for this important event and we’re thrilled to partner with Dairy Farmers of Ontario,“ said Bob Armstrong, Co-Chair of the 2015 Tankard. “Ontarians love curling and we know this will be a phenomenal event,” he added.

The 2015 Recharge with Milk Tankard will attract over 18,000 spectators and more than 100,000 television viewers on Rogers television and Sportsnet.

To learn more about how milk and chocolate milk rehydrates, refuels and recharges, please visit

For more information on the 2015 Tankard go to

About Dairy Farmers of Ontario

Dairy Farmers of Ontario represents almost 4,000 dairy farmers in Ontario. Canadian dairy farmers proudly provide consumers with safe, high-quality and reliable dairy products that support our communities, processors and farmers. The goal of Dairy Farmers of Ontario is to strengthen the industry through innovation and increased productivity to maintain a strong Canadian dairy sector.

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As I have maintained for the last number of years, one of the best ways for curling clubs to prosper is to offer a league for beginner curlers – especially after a most successful year of curling television watching novices after the winter games.

In order to achieve great results, it is important to have solid instructors who can impart a love of the game with enthusiasm. That being said the Ottawa Valley Curling Association (OVCA) is doing something about it. They have teamed up with the Canadian Curling Association (CCA) and the Ontario Curling Association (OCA) to offer a one day TRAIN THE TRAINER SESSION

The session is designed for people who might not be the best curlers in the world but who have a love of ensuring new curlers receive a positive experience as the learn the game we all love.

It will be offered Sunday September 28, 10 to 5 at the Ottawa Curling Club – where the national program was introduced. See below.

Who should attend: The success of this program is based on the enthusiasm of the curling centre’s Board and
management and the quality of the instructors hired to deliver it. Once you have decided to deliver this program,
you will need a coordinator and instructors. The beauty of this program does not require either of these positions
to have extensive coaching or instruction backgrounds. That is what this day is for – to train your group to be
effective and successful!
This session is open to the first 30 people who sign up.
Financial Support: The OVCA will provide a $500 grant to member clubs towards the implemen

Preamble: The Adult Learn-To-Curl program has achieved significant momentum
since the pilot project in 2007 with more than 100 Canadian curling centres now
participating. At a recent workshop with OVCA and a number of clubs, however, a
gap in the success of the program was identified: recruiting and training of
instructors and/or league coordinators. Therefore, in conjunction with the CCA,
the OCA and the OVCA, we are pleased to offer a one-day session to train the
trainer for your rink’s Learn To Curl program. This is an opportunity to enhance your
current program or fast track a new program. Your league coordinators and
instructors will leave the session with all the tools they need to run a successful
league at your rink!
 Earle Morris, coach of Team Rachel Homan and originator of the Adult Getting Started Program
 Anna Keller, coordinator of Ottawa CC program and technical resource for a number of Getting Started
programs nation-wide.
Instructor Profile: Ideally, you should be recruiting instructors for this programme staying as close as possible to the
profile to maximize the success of your program. Your coordinator and instructors should be:
 Enthusiastic & passionate about curling
 Confident with good communication skills
 Representative of the demographic of the community
 Solid understanding of the basics of the game & a balanced delivery
Register: please register with the OVCA by September 19, 2014
Name: Curling Centre:
E-mail: Mobile:
Any curling training?:
Please complete this form electronically and e-mail to the OVCA at You will be contacted about payment.
Cost: $49.00* per person includes lunch, refreshments and course materials (* plus HST)

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harnden's tattoo


Inspirational ink
Courtesy of Steph Crosier, The Sault Star

E.J. Harnden got some inspirational ink to remember his team’s success at the 2014 Sochi Olympic.

The second for Team Jacobs was in Toronto last week with teammate Ryan Fry to get the first stage of his new tattoo completed.

“I knew once we got back from the Olympic games that I wanted to do something that would remind me of that achievement daily,” Harnden said. “So that’s why I ended up going with a tattoo.

“It is something that will remind me of that achievement; a dream come true.”

The large tattoo spreads from the middle of Harnden’s chest to his left shoulder. It features the Olympic rings, a large gold medal, the mountains and black sea in Sochi, Russia, and inspirational words: believe, sacrifice, dedication.

Harnden designed the tattoo as an all-encompassing portrait of his Games experience with artist David Glantz at Archive Tattoo in Toronto

“There’s many athletes, when they go to the Olympic Games, they end up getting a tattoo to celebrate the achievement,” Harnden said. “Typically its just the rings, but for me, I don’t have any tattoos, more than likely I won’t be getting any more, so if I do do this I’m going to make it more then just the rings.”

With the first phase complete, Harnden estimates he’ll have to sit for one or two more sessions or about five or six hours.

“Still lots to go,” Harnden said. “Honestly, for me, I’m very detail oriented and very specific about things going into it because I know it is permanent, but I’m extremely happy with what I’ve seen so far.”

In mid-May, little brother Ryan Harnden also started a large tattoo the left side of his chest. It features a picture of him and brother E.J. after receiving their gold medals. The same picture is E.J.’s Twitter profile picture.

“Our team kind of talked about it and how if we won the Olympic Games that one or more of us would probably get some sort of tattoo,” E.J. Harnden said.

Harnden said the tattoo will also serve as inspiration for the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongshang, South Korea.

“(It will) serve as a reminder for myself to continue to push harder, and want to achieve more in the sport, and hopefully do this all over again in 2018,” Harnden said. “Also beyond that, serve as a reminder that in curling, or anything else, to never give up and always follow your dreams because when you do good things happen.”

Team Jacobs has already made waves in the curling world with their high level of fitness and now with tattoos.

“I’m pleasantly surprised in the interest that my tattoo, and Ryan’s, has garnered,” Harnden said. “I think it is because its a bit different in the curling world… I think everyone knows someone with a tattoo, but it is a bit different in terms of a competitive curler doing something like this.”

He said he knows of some curlers with smaller tattoos but nothing at his and Ryan’s scale.

“Maybe that’s just following the suit of our team, doing things a little bit differently,” Harnden said.

Harnden added wife Rachelle is supportive, was surprised at the actual size, but is now excited to see the finished product.

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weagle car

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The forest fire driven evacuation order for Kelly Scott’s family in Kelowna, BC along with 906 other evacuees, has been lifted. They are all, however, still on evacuation alert at any moment.

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Mark Nichols (playing drums in brand new Team Gushue photo) and his wife Colette had their first baby boy a couple of days ago. They welcomed Beckett Hugh Nichols into the world.



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weagle dress 1 weagle dress 2 weagle dress 3

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Congratulations to Lisa Weagle and husband Robin Guy on their Saturday July 19 wedding!

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fire kelly scott

Former Canadian champion Kelly Scott along with her family and hundreds of other citizens were evacuated to avoid any harm during the recent BC forest fires in west Kelowna.

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What a turnout last weekend (July 11-13) in North Bay Ontario for their summer spiel. It filled quickly and is becoming known as THEE summer spiel in the country.

  • Thinking of next season’s Tankard in Ingersoll well here is a unique opportunity for a bit of a summer trip and maybe rub  shoulders with a few curling greats. The host committee for the 2015 Tankard is hosting a golf tournament replete with celebrities on August 8 at the Ingersoll Golf Club. It is inexpensive at $100 per person and includes golf, cart, dinner and prizes. For info

Mike McKwen is in Ottawa visiting his in-laws and is now a sales rep for the new Ice Pad like of curling equipment.

  • Well this is a pleasant surprise – some dedicated Ottawa area volunteers are working hard over the summer to start a city-wide youth curling league. They already have 13 teams interested and they haven’t even advertised yet. Hats of Marc Bourguignon.

 ROCKS AND RINGS BOOMING : A July 10 press release from the CCA indicated that ” 1,456 Canadian schools during the 2013-14 school year, involving 228,162 students, were exposed to the program. Since Rocks & Rings was created in 2009, the program has been in 4,633 Canadian schools with 689,548 participants, meaning the magical 1-million mark is firmly within reach.” It is too bad some tracking method couldn’t be devised to see if this translates into kids on curling ice. The future of our sport depends on this and getting immigrants involved in the game.

Go here to find out what it is like to curl in 106 degree F heat in Tempe, Arizona.

  • Earle Morris has been named as the coach for Team John Morris. So much for Earle stepping back from the game.



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Ottawa’s Bob Martin passed away last week at 96 years of age.

Bob volunteered at the Ottawa Curling Club for a number of years. He curled in many leagues eventually winning the provincial masters. He won some bonspiels along the way as well. He was inducted into the Governor Generals Curling Club and was the Ottawa’s last Lifetime Member.

His quiet support of curling is what made Bob the proudest. He supported curling in many ways especially at the local level.

In the years he couldn’t play, which were many, Bob the non drinker used to spend plenty of time at the Ottawa just talking to curlers and watching games. Ask any young curlers, especially the juniors and the person who he took the most interest in were the junior curlers he talked to when they came off the ice. His interest in them was about their curling, their schooling and what they wanted to do in life.

His greatest joy was volunteering for Doors Open Ottawa at the Ottawa Curling Club. Doors Open meant a number of city institutions that normally were shut to the public would throw their doors open to the public who could tour the facility. Bob LOVED Doors Opened Ottawa! He would even wear the tee-shirt. His eyes lit up when people asked about curling especially the young people. He was a born story teller.

But he could be critical too. Since I write the curling column in the Ottawa Sun he would question me after each article and he would be sure to point out the spelling or grammatical mistakes. He made me better.

As his health faded Bob couldn’t attend many major curling events. It became routine for me to sit Bob beside me while I showed him photos on my lap top that I took of various curling events and the locations they were in. It always brought a smile to his face and resulted in plenty of questions.

Bob was easy to like. Easy to love. This June during Doors Open Ottawa, your tee-shirt will be on the chair, your spirit will be in the room and your presence always felt. And learned from.



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Steve Chenier said ‘In this day and age there is no reason we can’t return an email in 24 hours.” Chenier made a number of eye-opening statements at the Zone 1 OCA meeting at the RCMP club on Tuesday evening.

Chenier spoke at the meeting along with OCA board member Joanne Pomalis and zone 1 rep John Tobias.

The most cogent statement made by Chenier was “what does the OCA do for you?” He realizes that that question has been asked for most of eternity but he wants to make the association relevant to the membership. Some highlights:

  • To answer all inquiries within 24 hours
  • To get ride of current website and unroll a new, more modern one
  • Create a new separate scoring website. “If we can do it in northern Ontario (where he is from) we can do it here.”
  • Create a new service whereby clubs can import a template to create or update their bylaws. Also provide the services of legal advice to examine a club’s proposed bylaws.
  • Create easy to copy and use policy papers. For instance ” A concussion is a concussion. Why not have a concussion policy everyone can use.”
  • To find a better way to use the associations large reserve to better serve the membership. (The reserve is $1.5 million)
  • Re-write the OCA’s bylaws to make them more inclusive and democratic.
  • Give the OVCA a “member at large” seat on the board.
  • Create a new site review committee that will more closely examine sites for more high profile events like Scotties and Tankard.
  • Announce sites for major events two years in advance.

There was much more activity announced. Not once did the panel mean mouth the CA either. This was a breathe of fresh air.

Hopefully this will last.

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If Brent Laing can move to Alberta then New Brunswick’s Andrea Crawford can move to Alberta too. Crawford, who has represented NB at numerous Scotties is moving with her police officer hubby to Calgary where she will play third for Val Sweeting,  the runner-up to Team Homan at last years Scotties. Sweeting’s vice, Joanne Courtney is moving to Ottawa to throw second stones for Rachel Homan.

Crawford has never made the Scotties playoffs. Her best record was last year’s 6-5. This is a great opportunity for the New Brunswick skip who most likely would never capture the women’s national championship if she remained in her home province.

The cheering you hear is from other NB skips. Crawford has represented NB at the national Scotties since 2009.


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Yesterday the CCA announced that Adam Casey is returning to the province of his birth to skip his own team next season out of PEI.The CCA  had previously announced roster changes or announced teams remaining together – Team Jones, Kreviazuk leaving Team Homan, Team Koe reforming, Team Canada adding John Morris, etc.

On the men’s side the 3 most prominent teams did their own announcements. Kevin Martin made his on Sportsnet. Jeff Stoughton and Glenn Howard made their own announcements as well but not on television.

All three of those skips were integral parts of the players boycott of the CCA.

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They saved their sorry asses.

The OCA board, through a series of concessions and promises to reform, dodged a bullet and they remain in place.

Through Tweets, thanks to Curling Zone and Bob Weeks, we got the record of the 4 hour plus meeting.

The highlights are:

  • Dale Curtis re-instated as VP but her status has new acting President is unclear.
  • New bylaws to be written.
  • A new,  clear nomination process for the board defined.
  • New committees to be struck to attempt to write the wrongs.
  • Ian McGillis takes a leave of absence.
  • TCA, OVCA and HACA will be members at large.
  • New ED makes great impression. Steve Chenier offers some reforms in the way OCA does business.
  • CCA admits it had a bad year financially.
  • CCA Chair Hugh Avery apologizes to curling for the entire incident.
  • The way the OCA was run resulted in the loss of Travelers as a sponsor.
  • Chenier promised better communications with members and emphasis on club development.
  • Best line: Chenier  “We are going to update FACEBOOK and have a 12 year old teach us how to tweet.”

One of the OCA’s biggest critics was the former head of the Dominion, George Cook. Cook saved their asses when he said just before the vote to turf them that there was only 7 weeks left in the board’s term anyway so leave things alone.

It is too bad that the board has reformed itself because they were scared. Let us hope they now have the message.




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Wayne Middaugh knew how good he was.

Throughout his career and no matter at which position he played the game very well. He was also a money players – 7  time skins game champion; 3 time Tour money leader and big cash earner at 4 Players Championships. This 3 time world champion and 3 time Brier champion said that the only thing he regrets was not getting to the Olympics. Curling money got him in trouble the the Canadian Revenue Agency too. They went after him for not declaring his win money. He stood his ground at first time with the CRA realizing that a curling team’s expenses far out weighed a team’s prize money. The CRA recently went after him again but for other reasons. No info is available on that.

He knew the game so well and because of that he was the kind of third that skips listened to. Players listened to him as well especially the 18 teams that boycotted the CCA just before the 2001-2002 season.  Along with Kevin Martin, Middaugh was the most vocal of the players in explaining what the players were doing and why.

Middaugh could upset people too. 2001 Brier in Ottawa. His middle finger goes up in anger from sheet D I believe. The crowd booed Middaugh and the media bench cleared so the scribes could interview him.

Last season a young man from Slovenia moved to Ottawa for the season so he could learn more about ice making. Tomas as a curler as well. One day a number of people sat around a curling club table when some asked who was the best curler ever, living or dead. The usual suspects were named – Kevin Martin, Russ Howard, Ed Werenich – the list went on. Then Tomas spoke. He claimed that Wayne Middaugh was the best players ever. It was almost like the hockey argument about who was better Bobby Orr or Wayne  Gretzky.

If not at the top Middaugh is right up there.



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With Morris gone from Team Cotter, the BC based team has recruited the 2000 World Junior Champion Ryan Kuhn as their third.

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So John Morris is now skipping Team Canada and throwing last rocks.

No surprise but we won’t be seeing much of the team together. Carter Rycroft will only be playing with the team in the Season of Champions events – Canada Cup, the Continental Cup and the  Brier. If they play in ant Tour or Slam events, Scott Bailey, will be brought in the play second.

Even Morris won’t be participating in everything as he works on his captain’s job with the fire department.


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Team Brad Gushue announced today that Adam Cassey is gone and Mark Nichols is back on the team.
Nichols is moving back to the island after leaving Team Stoughton in Manitoba.
Next announcement is who is going to skip the former Kevin Koe rink – John Morris are you thinking about it?

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When I was not curling but a curling club employee I volunteered to drive for the Welton Beauchamp curling cash spiel. My first driving assignment was to pick up Team Kevin Martin at the airport and drive then to their hotel giant rental van.
Knowing it was my first assignment I bought a 24 pack so I could offer the Martin team a beer at my apartment before I took them to their hotel.

I was working part time so buying a 24 pack cost me a lot of money in the day.

So I picked up the team and drove them to my area on the Golden Triangle near where I worked and near their hotel.

We got out of the can bear my apartment and we passed a big mansion next door to my apartment. Kevin asked if the mansion was my house and when I said no he td the team they should just go to the hotel. So much for buying beer.
Many years later I am interviewing Martin outside the Brockville Country and Curling Club at the Shorty Jenkins Classic. Surprising to me he went on for at least 30 minutes about how to improve the game, how to get more people involved, how the CCA should anticipate the sport’s growth.
After the interview I realized that people grow. I realized that Kevin Martin is the real deal. Curling owes a lot to Martin.
He isn’t finished yet improving the game. Thanks Kevin.

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


His season couldn’t have been any worse.


Local skip Chris Gardner, just shy of thirty years of age, earned three provincial championships since March 15 – Tim Hortons Colts, the Dominion Regalia Silver Tankard and the John Shea Mixed banner won this past Sunday.


It still doesn’t make up for the failed promise of his men’s team he started out with this season – Bryan Cochrane, Mat Camm and Brad Kidd. In this scenario Cochrane called the game and threw lead, Gardner tossed third stones and Camm fired the last rocks. Their opportunity for greatness came at November’s Capital One Road to the Roar. Their second couldn’t attend so Mike Anderson subbed.


“We weren’t there very long.” Gardner quipped. They lasted three games and were outscored 25 to 12. “It should have been the best week of our lives but it was the worst.”  He recalls that his motivation was gone and he wasn’t having fun.” For the first time in my career I wasn’t in the house or throwing last rock. It wasn’t enjoyable for me.”  This resulted in team animosity especially accusations that Gardner partied too much. “I knew we weren’t going to win.” Kid, his former second is still best friends with him. “Even Bryan brought me eggnog last Christmas.” He is still distant from Mat Camm. “He (Camm) has huge potential and is one of the best. It still is going to take some time however.”


What has he learned? “I wish I could do it all over again. I regret everything and I take full responsibility for my actions. My goal is to learn from it and make sure it doesn’t ever happen again.”


Gardner (who finished first in the tournament) ended up playing his current roommate and teammate for next season Mike McLean as well as his former second, Kidd, in the mixed final. McLean had to battle through a five-way tie-breaker. The momentum changed sides throughout the game and came down to last rocks forcing Gardner to draw to the four-foot facing two. The final score was 9-7. Gardner played with Trish Hill, Jonathan Beuk and Jessica Barcauskas. Besides McLean at third Gardner’s next season rink is Terry Scharf and Steve Forrest.


The day before another local rink took the Senior Mixed title. The Rideau’s Paul Madden, Natalie Boucher, Norm Hewitt and Carole Fujimoto defeated Toronto’s Bob Garvin 7-5 after both ended the round robin with 5-2 records.


NOSTALGIA CURLING: The Players Championship from PEI began yesterday evening. Many of the rinks will curl this last event then split. Team Glenn Howard just announced the return of Richard Hart as vice and the inclusion of Jon Meade at second although neither will be on the team for the event. Hart will be in the broadcast booth. Meade will throw third for Jeff Stoughton. How will the squad handle playdowns? According to lead Craig Savill “Not sure what the plan is just yet. We are going to discuss our options this summer.”  Stoughton second, Reid Carruthers, is skipping his own rink next season. For Team Rachel Homan a championship in spud land could mean a hefty bonus of $100,000 for having won a previous Slam. Sportsnet will broadcast games beginning Thursday April 17 at noon with 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. draws daily until the finals on Sunday. The women’s final is Sunday morning at 10 while the men’s goes in the afternoon at 4.


END NOTES: In a refreshing change Team Jennifer Jones announced yesterday that they are sticking together until the next Olympics. This marks the final column for this season.

Joe Pavia
Hogline Curlers Proshop

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April 11, 2013. Shorty left us.

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15questions Ottawa Youth Curling League

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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.