Joe’s Blog

Bowser fired up for Tankard

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The little rocks team of skip Vincent Proulx, third Scott Fisher, second Emrys Moffette and lead Ryan Nethercott stole an eight ender at the City View little rocks spiel on Saturday.

The little rocks team of skip Vincent Proulx, third Scott Fisher, second Emrys Moffette and lead Ryan Nethercott stole an eight ender at the City View little rocks spiel on Saturday.

“Going to be a week of good games!! Love this stuff!”

Gatineau’s Don Bowser wrote that on his Facebook page as he played in his fifth Ontario men’s provincial tournament. This year’s Recharge with Milk Tankard is in Brantford at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre.

The Peterborough native, 37, lives in Gatineau with girlfriend Lauren Mann. They faced a tragedy in the Mann family last week when her younger brother passed away in a drowning accident. The event is on his mind he feels.

“Lauren is doing OK, considering. I’m definitely thinking about my family back home,” Bowser said.

His curling family of Greg Balsdon, Jonathan Beuk and Scott Chadwick are playing as a team for the first time this season. Beuk, Chadwick and Bowser have played together for a few years with Bowser skipping.

“Scott, John and I sat down to decide what we needed to do to move forward to get a better fit on our team and see how we could improve,” Bowser said. “We thought having a skip might be a little bit more natural than to get me back to a position where I was more comfortable.”

Balsdon agreed and Bowser resumed his third position. They list Kingston’s Cataraqui as their curling club.

Balsdon, at 38, is no rookie. This is his ninth tankard. His first in 1999 was in Brantford. He was also the 2014 giant killer in Ontario when he defeated Team Howard in the tankard final.

This year’s field is rich with talent with John Epping and Glenn Howard the front-runners. But nothing is for sure.

Bowser says: “You probably have a record in your head where you come into the week and you think there are days you have to go 2-0 and days when you might have a rougher opponent and going fifty-fifty is OK.”

All teams play afternoon and evening draws. However, Wednesday is the three-draw day. Luckily for Team Balsdon, it has the bye in the morning draw.

Other teams have Ottawa-area players. Mat Camm from Navan and Cornwall throws third for John Epping. Mike McLean from Ottawa skips his own team with players from the GTA.

Sportsnet will be televising the semifinal and final on Sunday at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

OCA RESULTS

In senior mixed the zone winners were: 1A, Dave Stanley; B, Bill Hogaboam; 2A, Paul Madden; B, Mike Johansen; 3A, Paul Madden; B, Mike Johansen; 3A, Bill Adams, B, John Wilson; 4A, Randy Hutchinson; B, Terry Corbin.

WINNER’S CIRCLE

The RA team of Collinda Joseph, Doug Morris, Jon Thurston and Ross Nicholson captured the Ontario wheelchair curling championship on Saturday. They advance to the nationals beginning on April 4 in Regina … The little rocks team of skip Vincent Proulx, third Scott Fisher, second Emrys Moffette and lead Ryan Nethercott stole an eight-ender at the City View little rocks spiel on Saturday … Jason Camm, Matthew Hall and Curtis Easter of Navan’s Team Ontario won second team accolades at the just finished Canadian Juniors.

END NOTES

The World Curling Federation and Curling Canada are having a meeting today with curling equipment suppliers here in Ottawa … The Rideau is interested in starting a daytime women’s stick league next season. If you have an interest in Chicks with Sticks email diana_favel@hotmail.com or call 613 762-5803 … The Crystal Heart classic begins tomorrow at various clubs throughout the area … There will be a send-off for Team Hanna next Wednesday evening February 10 at the Ottawa club.

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HOGLINE BRIER TICKETS CONTEST

brier tickets

HOGLINE BRIER TICKETS CONTEST

The shop is offering a pair of tickets per draw to the Tim Hortons Brier. We will pick winners everyday. If you win choose the draw you want. So every time you make a purchase at the shop fill in a ballot to win!

 

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CHICKS WITH STICKS

Chicks with Sticks – potential new league for next season
Hi ladies…the Rideau CC is interested to host a new ladies “stick” curling league (daytime) for next season and would like to find out the level of interest in the Ottawa area.  This would be a ladies only league.  Please email: diana_favel@hotmail.com to indicate your interest in playing in this league, or call 613-762-5803 if you wish to discuss.

 

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Ottawa curler Jenn Hanna beats the odds, downing Rachel Homan in Ontario championship

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Team Hanna

Jenn Hanna’s team celebrates their Ontario Scotties win on Jan. 24. (Robert Wilson, OCA)

Losing to Rachel Homan might have been the key to beating her.

Jenn Hanna’s Ontario championship win on Sunday over Team Homan in Brampton was hatched in the team’s extra end loss to Homan on Wednesday night.

“Our goal in the round robin was to take Homan to 10 ends. And see what would happen,” Hanna said. “When we lost in the extra it gave us some confidence being able to go into the final and get that close and maybe even beat her.”

The Ottawa skip thinks that Team Homan is the best women’s curling rink in the world.

Besides Hanna’s extra-end loss, Homan played only one round-robin game to 10 ends and in that game versus Cathy Auld, Homan was up 7-3 in the 10th.

Her first and last Ontario Scotties title was in 2005. She says she’s happy winning both but her life has changed.

“In 2005, I was 25,” Hanna said. “Curling was pretty well my life. It was my first and foremost priority. Today clearly it’s far down the list of my priorities. I still love the game. I have three kids, a husband and a job. It slides down the list a little bit.”

As we talked on the phone, the mother of three children (two girls and a boy) had to say “Charlotte, mommy’s on the phone love.

“There’s a perfect example right there how life is different.”

Her sister and second Stephanie (also a mom) played with two younger athletes, 29-year-olds Brit O’Neill and Karen Sagle, third and lead respectively. Their busy lives make competing a challenge.

“It’s just much harder now to put in the time you really need to be good enough to compete with people like Rachel Homan and Sherry Middaugh and anybody else who plays at that level all the time,” Jenn Hanna said.

A huge part of the team’s success is their father Bob as coach, the same coach they had in 2005. “We were enjoying the week together,” Hanna said. “And we really did. We had so, so much fun together. We did the hospitality lounge. It’s rare now in our busy lives for the three of us to spend time together.”

Hanna thinks that setting realistic goals was the key to their success.

“We went there with the intent of trying to make the playoffs. I don’t remember a year when 6-3 didn’t get you at least a tiebreaker. The goal was to win more games than we lost.

“It was setting realistic goals and not looking at more than one game ahead that helped us all week.”

The skip feels her team was ready but its been a long time since her last championship win.

“It’s not that we didn’t believe that we were capable of winning but when you are away from it as long as we were and with 11 years since a win it becomes something that you just don’t allow your mind to get to,” she said.

Summing up that final game Hanna said “Regardless of the outcome they (Homan) are still best team in the world. They had an off day and that happens in sports sometime. On the other side of it we played really, really well. I’m super proud of the girls.”

Meanwhile, Gatineau residents and husband and wife, Jean-Michel Menard and Annie Lemay are heading to the Tim Hortons Brier and Scotties, respectively. Menard is skipping his team and Lemay plays second for Marie-France Larouche.

OCA RESULTS

Regional action took place in bantam, intermediates and stick curling last week. Those advancing to provincials are: Bantam: Hazen Enman, Ryan Hahn, Sierra Sutherland and Corri Burke. Intermediate: Dave Collyer, Bill Blad, Jennifer Harvey and Sheryl Dobenko. Stick curling winners were Jack Casserly and Bob Matheson.

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Carolina kids take to curling ice

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carolina kids

They came north in winter to curl.

Fourteen high school junior and senior students from Columbia, S.C., are in Ottawa for a week to try a number of winter sports but the first one they all wanted to try was curling.

Chemistry teacher Adam Morris is leading the crew with mom chaperone Joey Godley.

“I have always seen curling on the Olympics and I thought it might be fun to do. They had a lot of fun,” Morris said.

They all attend the 700-student Ben Lippen international private Christian school in the state capital.

Every January they have a week of Winterim where students scatter all over the world or stay in the U.S.

Some of them have been to Ecuador, Nicaragua and other places.

“I figured some kids might want to be cold all week instead of hot.” said Morris.

The group spent two hours trying the sport. With high-pressure play downs, provincials, brush controversy and elite curling events going on now, it was refreshing to see people absolutely having a blast. And never stopping. Their instructor was longtime competitive curler and icemaker Rick Allen.

“They came in blind and they were excited to be out there. I like seeing people come out and enjoy the game,” Allen said.

Allen remained on the ice for the entire two hours because he was having such a good time.

Seventeen-year-old Mark Rew gushed about his experience.

“It’s a lot like bowling or golf back in the States and I loved doing it,” he said.

A number of the students are from South Korea. His hand clutching hot chocolate Minho Seo, 18, said “I was really interested in curling because it’s my favourite Olympic winter sport to watch.”

According to mom Joey besides the curling they will be experiencing “ice skating, skiing and shopping. They love the big mall here (the Rideau Center). That’s been a big hit.” They are also attending two hockey games.

The action never stopped as high fives filled the air wit the sounds of shots well made even if the shot was really a Plan Z.

“It was hard to adapt to it but after a few throws it was fun and I could reach the centre,” said Seo proudly.

The best summary was from Mark Rew: “I always wanted to try it. It was a lot harder than I thought but it was lot more fun than I expected.”

OCA RESULTS

After the Challenge Round Sunday, two more teams head to Brantford for the Recharge with Milk Tankard — Wayne Tuck from the host city and Grimsby’s Pat Ferris. The Tankard begins Feb. 1 … Senior region skips advancing to the provincials are: 1A – Bryan Cochrane and Julie Jarvis, B – Dave Collyer and Sheryl Dobenko. The senior provincials are in Woodstock starting Feb. 17 … In bantam zones the winners were: 1A – Andrew Kelly and Mackenzie Comeau; B – Emma Lee and David Boswell; 2A – Joshua Luckett and Emily Deschenes, B – James Stonehouse and Sierra Sutherland; 3A – Ryan Hahn and Lyndsay Thorn, B- Jordan MacNamara and Corri Burke; 4A- Hazen Enman and B – William Smith and Jessica Thorne.

WINNERS’ CIRCLE

The Buckingham squad of Rick Faguy, Guy Charette, Robert Periard and Wayne Ruggles won Carleton Place’s Leatherworks spiel on Sunday.

The OVCA Mixed bonspiel open winner was the Emma Wallingford rink. The senior winner was the Stubbs squad while the Chad Stoffer team from Schenectady, N.Y., won the colt’s section.

END NOTES

The Rideau men’s classic is looking for teams beginning Jan. 29. Four meals are included in the three games guaranteed entry fee. Call 613-232-9665.

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Local rinks reign supreme

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist

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This area captured two Ontario championships on the weekend. Veteran skip Bruce Delaney and his Russell curling club foursome won the Tim Hortons Masters men’s championship, while Navan’s Doug Kee earned the Pepsi junior men’s title by going undefeated.

Delaney has been eligible for masters (age 60 minimum) for two years and put together his very experienced squad. The second — Brian Henderson — is a past Canadian Masters champion with this his third Ontario title. Of his second and his work of daily practice Delaney said, “I don’t think I’ve seen anyone as dedicated even in the men’s.” Third Rick Bachand now claims two provincial crowns in this event. Lead Dave Stanley rounds out the roster.

The other side of the age spectrum saw the junior team of Kee, Jason Camm, Matthew Hall and Curtis Easter go 10-0 to advance to the M&M Meat Shops Canadian juniors later this month in Stratford. The Kee team almost doubled its opponents in total points scored. This is the second title for Kee, Camm and Easter.

While Kee might have scored plenty Delaney tells a different story.

“Almost every one of our games was nail biters. Most of them came down to last rock,” he said.

No stranger to senior curling (he’s a three-time Ontario senior title holder) Delaney feels the masters are as good as the seniors.

“Two or three of the teams I had played them in regular men’s provincials 25-30 years ago,” Delaney said. “They are the same guys; the same old faces but they haven’t lost much of their curling abilities.”

Richmond’s Jennifer Langley just missed out as women’s champ when she lost a tiebreaker. The Canadian Masters takes place in Nova Scotia in April.

CAPITAL FLAVOUR

They just might change the name of Brampton to Bytown. Ottawa players are invading the Ontario Scotties next week. Fifteen women from this town are playing on six of the 10 teams competing.

Most prominent is Rachel Homan’s team, but two other squads are composed of local athletes — skipped by Erin Morrissey and Jenn Hanna. Single Ottawans populate other teams — Lee Merklinger throws second for Sherry Middaugh while sisters Lynn and Cheryl Kreviazuk play for Allison Flaxey and Mallory Kean, respectively. All these women play out of the Ottawa Curling Club.

Jacqueline Harrison, Julie Tippin, Cathy Auld and reigning champion Julie Hastings round out the field. The competition begins Monday evening. The final is Jan. 24 at 2 p.m., with Sportsnet televising the game.

Meanwhile in Quebec two Gatineau women are competing in the Scotties taking place at Salaberry-de-Valleyfield. Lauren Mann is defending her championship while Anne Lemay works second rocks for Marie-France Larouche.

BRIER VOLUNTEERS

The local committee requires bodies to sell 50/50 tickets during the Tim Hortons Brier You get free admission to the Brier on the days you volunteer and you do not have to purchase a uniform. 50/50 proceeds will eventually go to fund local curling. Contact brier50.50program@gmail.com if you are interested.

END NOTES

The World Financial Group Continental Cup from Las Vegas starts Thursday. In excess of 62,000 tickets have been sold so far. Team North America takes on Team World with Homan leading the pack for North America. They jet to Brampton right after Sunday’s final … Glenn Howard’s third, Wayne Middaugh, broke his leg Saturday skiing and will be lost for the rest of the season. No word yet as to the replacement for the Ontario Tankard next month in Stratford.

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City View excited for ‘new’ curling club

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist

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City View

Last rock thrown at old City View Curling Club by founding member Carmine Luciani and swept by Conrad Uniacke and Paul Hennessey. (Submitted)

It is finally here.

The new City View Curling Club is staging its open house this weekend. The 660 members of all ages aren’t moving very far. They are inaugurating their new four-sheet facility only mere metres from their old building.

President Philip Mainville says the ice is ready. The Saturday Learn to Curl league will be throwing the first rocks on the new ice. They also had a formal farewell dinner including some founding members.

“We heard a lot of interesting stories,” Mainville said. “And there were tears of farewell.”

Some members volunteered to move the club’s many items from the old to the new over the Christmas season. The plan was to maintain the ice surface in the former club rink in case glitches happened to delay the opening. The president is happy to report that the old plant was turned off.

There are still a few items to be completed.

“We have some construction stuff still going on this week,” Mainville said. “The bar has been constructed but hasn’t arrived on site. It’s coming (Wednesday). We are hoping that it can be installed and functional for Saturday’s open house. That’s bearing on an inspection by the city for full occupancy.” The inspection that hopefully gives them the all-clear occurs Friday.

Mainville wants the club to maintain it small-club atmosphere. “Even though we have been that small little club — it’s kind of our motto — we are expanding and we still have that social atmosphere going with us.”

The old structure was beginning to deteriorate to the point Mainville says where some members were leaving because of health issues. “Some people were leaving to go to more modern facilities.” The new venue will also allow the club to seek new revenue streams. The new lounge is air conditioned for off-season use. “We can actually showcase the lounge.” They already have a few wedding receptions booked. City View is also working with a few caterers and sports groups to promote summer rentals. They may even be hosting kids sports camps.

The venue is the home of the Ottawa deaf curling league, a Special Olympics league and their is a plan to integrate competitive wheelchair curlers.

The weekend open house runs from 9 to 4 each day with a “soft” opening ceremony, ribbon cutting and first rock throw before the first league game Saturday morning at 10.

“The future is bright,” proclaims Mainville.

OCA RESULTS

In the Refresh with Milk Tankard regional play downs the teams that advance to Brantford’s provincial championship are: Region 1 — Greg Balsdon and Jake Higgs; 2 — Mike Harris and Glenn Howard; 3 — Dayna Deruelle and Ian Dickie; 4 — Mark Bice and Scott Bailey. Two more teams will be determined beginning January 15 in Penetanguishene.

SKINS

The Pinty’s All Star Skins Game is on TSN this weekend. Rachel Homan battles Val Sweeting Friday at 8. Jennifer Jones takes on Kelsey Rocque Saturday at 4 with the two semi-final winners meeting Sunday at 1. On the men’s side Brad Gushue plays Pat Simmons while Mike McEwen goes against Brad Jacobs. The men’s final is Sunday at 8.

END NOTES

The Pepsi junior provincials begin today in Mississauga. Representing this region are Lauren Horton, Marie-Elaine Little, Doug Kee and Mac Calwell. Midland is hosting the Tim Hortons provincial masters with Lois Copis, Jennifer Langley, Bruce Delaney and Ron Edgeley representing this area. The RCMP is gauging interest in a junior cash league. If interested contact marc.bourguignon@bell.ca.

SPONSORED LINKS

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Ottawa-raised Morris pumped to get a chance to represent Team Canada at TD Place Brier

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QMI_johnnymo

Team Canada John Morris after winning the 2015 Tim Hortons Brier against Team Northern Ontario in Calgary, Alta. on Sunday March 8, 2015. Al Charest/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency

 

John Morris enjoyed Christmas in Ottawa.

He also enjoyed participating in an Ottawa Tim Hortons Brier photo shoot yesterday with his dad, Earle.

Morris, raised in Ottawa, faced Wayne Middaugh at the 2001 Ontario Tankard final in Woodstock.

“I remember losing the provincial final to Wayne Middaugh to get into the 2001 Brier (in Ottawa) and that was tough on me. I was really hoping to be able to play in front of my friends and family here that I’ve grown up with.”

Now that he is a Team Canada member and the defending Brier champ he gets that chance this March at TD Place.

“So to finally be allowed that chance, there’s a lot of people here that have never seen me curl live at a major event and finally to be here in Ottawa is such an exciting feeling and to play at the new Lansdowne is something I will definitely cherish,” Morris said.

Last year’s Brier wasn’t a sure thing for Team Canada. After starting at skip, Morris conceded the skip spot to his third Pat Simmons. That move helped earn the team wins in all but one of its remaining games.

About his “demotion” to third Morris recollected “People think ‘I can’t believe you did that.’ What a wild move. For me whatever you got to do on a team to get the W and to win and I felt we weren’t going to win that Brier if we didn’t make the change.”

And did Simmons ever deliver, especially in the extra-end final versus Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs.

“The fact that we made the change and it worked and the fact that Pat really came into his own and thrived in that position as well was great to see,” Morris said.

The Team Canada concept debuted last season at the Brier and Morris likes it.

“It was a very unique experience,” he said. “I’ve seen it in the women’s at the Scotties. I’ve always been an advocate of Team Canada for the men. To be part of that first team was pretty special and to be able to win like we did was special.”

Morris has scornful words for the recent broom controversy that has made headlines.

“I’m a purist. I’m a bit of a curling traditionalist. It just leaves a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth,” Morris said.

Morris thinks curling should be about skills, not fabric.

“I think that for the most part curling should still be about throwing the rock well and genuine raw talent,” he said. “The strength aspect of sweeping should be more important that to sweep in a certain direction to make a rock curl or not curl. It shouldn’t be about equipment.”

WINNERS’ CIRCLE

The Verve Grandmasters zone winners were: Jim Mullin (Ottawa), Bob Chick (Brockville), Rick Lomore (Pembroke) and Benny Brock (Trenton).

END NOTES

The Tankard region 1 play downs take place starting this Saturday morning at 9 at the Rideau.

The A side final is Saturday evening at 7.

Two teams will advance to the men’s provincials beginning Feb. 1 in Brantford.

Happy New Year to all.

 

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Ottawa ice maker takes China challenge

by Joe Pavia

swissarmybrushad_final

China put him in the Christmas mood.

Ottawa area ice technician Jon Wall (he makes ice at Navan and Renfrew) recently returned from northeast China, where he installed and maintained ice for the Yichun International Ladies tournament. Wall was asked by the World Curling Federation to take on the assignment.

There were a few challenges. “They don’t know a lot about curling, especially on the ice making side of things. Trying to convey things about ice making was very hard even with translation.” Eventually body language, hand signs and comprehension of broken English got things done.

“It was a short time frame to get the ice in. There was a lot of experimenting.” He left Dec. 7 and returned Dec. 19. The spiel wasn’t in a curling club or even an arena. “It was in a hall like our EY Centre but it made it look small.” The surface got installed on a temporary floor.

The water quality was bad so “for our pebbled water we used manufactured water so we had something closer to what our Jet Ice tanks produce for us.” The ice scrapers weren’t very sharp so Wall and his crew took a long time honing the blades. When it came time to paint tools were scarce. “I had to go into the city to find tools to paint the rings. The hardware store was like a closet for us here,” he said.

That trip — like any trip — required that a government person accompany him. “It’s almost like you’re in witness protection when you’re there,” Wall said. He went on to explain that they accompany you so one doesn’t get taken advantage of.

The Christmas season was well represented there both at the hotel and the venue. “It’s winter there and pretty cold with lots of snow. It’s only three hours from the Russian border on the same line as Fort McMurray.”

He was amazed at the ice and snow sculptures they fashioned just for the event. “Winterlude got nothing on these guys,” he said.

Eight teams participated, with Regina’s Michelle Englot defeating the U.S., squad for the championship.

Manotick’s Jamie Sinclair, who Wall knows well, skipped the American team.

“It was nice knowing that you knew somebody there,” Wall said.

Wall has his sights set on 2020 when the Winter Games are staged in Beijing.

“An ice maker’s main goal is to get to the Olympics just like curlers. It is the highest stage you can get to,” he said.

OCA RESULTS

Scotties east qualifying winners at RCMP on the weekend were Sherry Middaugh (with Ottawa’s Lee Merklinger) and Cathy Auld. In the west the winners were Allison Flaxey (with Ottawa’s Lynn Kreviazuk) and Julie Tippin. All advance to the Ontario championship in January in Brampton.

Men’s Tankard zone winners were: 1- Ryan McCrady and Willie Jeffries; 2 – JP Lachance and Jason Reid; 3 – Colin Dow and Mike McLean; 4 – Greg Balsdon and Dave Collyer.

CORNWALL SEAS THE WAY

Shorty Jenkins cashspiel organizers announced on Monday that the permanent location of the event would be Cornwall. The spiel moved there last September because of a compressor problem at the Brockville club.

“We believe that Cornwall offers a better chance for the AMJ Campbell Shorty Jenkins Classic to continue to establish its position as one of the world’s premiere bonspiels,” said Gord McCrady, the event chair.

END NOTES

Carmine Luciani, one of the club’s original members, threw the last rock Sunday at the “old” City View curling club.

The new facility opens Jan.11.

NEW SPONSOR

Curling’s newest sponsor (see their ad) is offering an impressive device just in time for Christmas. Merry Christmas, all.

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Road to Ontario Scotties and Tankard begins

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist

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middaugh

Sherry Middaugh. (Postmedia Network Files)

It’s the same but different.

The Ontario men’s tankard zones and women’s Scotties qualifiers take place this weekend. The women skip zones and play in four qualifying events with two rinks emerging from each and advancing to the provincials. The first are an east and west qualifier that take place in Ottawa and Guelph this weekend. Two more happen in early January. This is a change to better accommodate the sinking number of women’s entries in the quest for a national Scotties spot.

The most notable name appearing here is Sherry Middaugh. Besides the Coldwater skip, 10 other teams are in the fight including the steady Rhonda Varnes quartet, Jenn Hanna and Cathy Auld.

In the west, 16 teams are competing. The four winners will join last year’s provincial champion, Julie Hastings, and Rachel Homan, who gets a bye to the provincials owing to her Canadian Team Ranking System points. The provincial is in Brampton beginning Jan. 18.

A change in both events is the team self-seeding. All players were asked to rank teams within their zone or qualifier.

Teams did not rank themselves. The Ontario Curling Association tabulated the results then seeded the draws based on these tabulations.

The men’s tankard maintains its traditional zone; regions, provincial championship routing (the final event starts Feb. 1 in Brantford).

The young Colin Dow team from Huntley, which surprised many fans at last year’s Recharge with Milk Tankard, headlines the local field. The action begins Friday at RCMP for both Ottawa events.

THE SKINNY

The Pinty’s All Star Curling Skins game is slated for Jan. 8-10 in Banff, Alta. After the season Team Homan is having ($157,254 in cash in six tour wins) TSN should shake things up. Have Homan and Co., take on the men. Teams Brad Gushue, Mike McEwen, Brad Jacobs and Pat Simmons just might have their hands full.

OCA RESULTS

Senior zone winners were: 1 — Jeff McCrady, Bryan Cochrane, Janet Lapierre. 2 — Howard Rajala, Bill Duck, Cheryl McBain and Sheryl Dobenko. 3 — Dwayne Lowe, Brian Yolkowskie and Debbie Potter.

SAVILL UPDATE

After the outpouring of support for Ottawa curler Craig Savill, who revealed his cancer condition, the Manotick resident posted on Facebook: “Thank you so much for all the support. Karen and I were not expecting this overwhelming response to our news. I’ve always known how tight knit the curling community is, but in the last few weeks I’ve been reminded of how truly lucky I am to be surrounded by so many wonderful and thoughtful people on the ice and in the stands. The player’s shout out and purple ribbons blew my mind. Please know that I appreciate each and every message that was sent and will be sent. It is amazing what a short text, message, email, or tweet can do to lift a person’s spirits and motivate them. Thanks again for the continued support. I start chemo this Friday and I will be thinking of all your kind words as I start this journey. I’ll be back on the ice in no time.”

END NOTES

The OCA has stated it is following Curling Canada’s moratorium on certain broom heads.

However the OCA writes “with the following exceptions: recovered heads that have been recovered either at home or by a re-seller will be allowable if the fabric meets the intention of the moratorium. (This means the fabric must have a woven appearance that is visible to the “naked eye”).

This stipulation ends however at the end of an OCA event if competitors move on to a national stage.

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Strong show of support for Savill

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist

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savill

Ottawa curler Craig Savill has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer. (Postmedia Network Files)

The news of Craig Savill’s recently disclosed Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer has sent the curling community into a loud voice of support for the Ottawa curler who is admired and respected around the world.

This is a tweet from Havard Vad Petersson, the lead on Team Ulsrud from Norway. @TeamUlsrud @CraigSavill 83,9% survival rate. Savill usually high 90″¦Sounds like an easy win!”

Typical of the support is the quick response from players, fans and even the TSN broadcast crew. “It’s a hard thing to comment on. It’s sad news obviously but knowing Craig over the years we know he will put his best effort in and beat it.” Don Bowser said. Bowser is the third for Savill in the Wednesday night cash league they both compete in at the Ottawa.

The illness has forced Savill to leave his Nova Scotia-based rink skipped by Shawn Adams. It was his best hope of winning the province then to play in the Tim Hortons Brier at TD Place in March. This illness scuttles the Manotick resident’s aspiration to compete in the Ottawa Brier. But maybe not. Already a few high profile players are suggesting that the veteran lead be their fifth man here next March.

Team Howard wants to ask him should it represent Ontario.

Team Adams feels the same way should it be the Bluenose province rep.

The Ottawa Youth Curling League, which has Team Homan, Lee Merklinger and Savill as namesakes for their three divisions, is already thinking of ways to send the good wishes of all the youth competitors to him.

Indeed, Savill has taken a keen interest in the league volunteering a number of times to present clinics.

Since this news came out, there hasn’t been a curler without a supportive word to say about one of curling’s best. And it will continue.

OCA RESULTS

In Region 1, Tim Hortons Masters winners were Ron Edgeley and Bruce Delaney. The women victors were Jennifer Langley and Lois Copis. In Gore Zone 1 school playdowns, the winners were Mikayla Gemmill and Beth Misener. The boys winners were Hayden Richmond and Matthew Roach.

WINNERS’ CIRCLE

The Howard Rajala rink won the Renfrew Cashspiel on the weekend.

END NOTES

The Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling resumed yesterday in Yorkton, Sask. The Meridian Canadian Open features 16 of the top men’s squads and 16 women’s elite teams. The triple knockout format has a purse of $200,000. The field includes the amazingly hot team skipped by Rachel Homan. Sportsnet coverage starts Thursday at noon with the finals Sunday. The women are on at noon and the men at 3:30… Homan just got engaged to Shawn Germain, 33, an electrician who lives in Edmonton where the Ottawa skip is spending a lot of time in school and practising with second Joanne Courtney. He’s a Team Canada slow pitch player … Ottawa ice technician Jon Wall is on his way to China to make ice for the annual international women’s invitational in Yichun, Heilongjiang”¦ Registration is now open for the Alexander Keiths City of Ottawa Men’s bonspiel.

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OCA addresses issues

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist

BY

 

pavia

L-R: John Hammond -second, Minh Nguyen -lead, Marc Bourguignon -skip, Henri Monette – vice. Photo by Françoise Mcnicoll

The Ontario Curling Association is changing it up.

After its woes in the recent past the OCA has done plenty of reflection, re-examination and reform including a look at their many competitions.

A committee representing stakeholders province-wide come up with a report that changes how the competitions operate. Executive Director Steve Chenier explained the findings.

All their events followed the same formula. Your team started in zones where it hoped to fight its way to regions and make the provincials. Clubs donated their ice but lack of entries saw clubs open at times for only one game.

The committee addressed that predicament.

“We also wanted to cut the requirements of the host clubs,” Chernier said. “We want curling clubs to make money. That’s why you’ll see a lot of combined zones. A lot of stuff of that nature in an effort to have a more viable event at a curling club and eliminate the need for one or two team games.”

The report also broke down events into those that lead to a national and those that only lead to an Ontario title. No matter the event, guidelines have been set for the operations team whereby “if the entrants don’t reach a certain threshold then we don’t have to go back to the well every time. There are clear guidelines for the operational team. Do we do regions? Do we not do regions? Etc.”

The more high profile events (the men’s Tankard and the women’s Scotties) see two CTRS teams (Canadian Team Ranking System) per event getting byes to the provincials.

“Leading to national event we definitely want our best team playing at provincials to advance. It just makes common sense. “The men’s event will be set at ten rinks while the Scotties is pegged at eight teams.

The triple knock out format will be eliminated as well.

“Triples are just really tough. That’s because of the constraints of the size of the events and doing it at clubs and trying to get it done in a weekend.” Self-seeding will be introduced to events which lead to a national. Everyone ranks each other and not themselves. “You’re not going to get two of the top teams playing each other in the first round.”

The number of teams vying for provincial glory has decreased so most events will have fewer teams.

“We firmly believe putting more teams in the provincials isn’t going to make those team specifically better. Going 0-7 at the provincials isn’t technically making you better. There’s better ways to try and help you learn the process and get better as a team.”

The only competition that got sliced is the junior mixed. It will become mixed doubles.

Right now, the OCA is seeking input. “We are looking for everybody’s input then are modifying the document then going forward with an operational plan.” The changes take effect in the 2016-2017season.

OCA RESULTS

Pepsi junior teams advancing to provincials are Mac Calwell, Doug Kee, Marieelaine Little and Lauren Horton. Tim Hortons masters men’s zone 1 results are Layne Noble and Bruce Delaney. Zone 3 winners are Andy Hall and Ed Warren.

WINNERS CIRCLE

At the Challenge Casino de Charlevoix Gatineau’s Don Bowser was on the Toronto team that took top spot defeating Jean-Michel Menard.

The local rink of Marc Bourguignon, Henri Monette, John Hammond and Minh Nguyen won the open section.

END NOTES

The Home Hardware Canada Cup from Grande Prairie begins today. At stake for these elite teams, including Team Homan, is a direct entry into the Trials. TSN covers all the action.

joe@hoglinecurling.com

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Travelers event always a great time

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist

BY

Team Alberta Skip Curtis Harrish watches the line of his rock during their game against Team Northwest Territories at the Travelers Curling Club Championship being held at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club on Tuesday November 24, 2015. Errol McGihon/Ottawa Sun/Postmedia Network

Errol McGihon/Ottawa Sun

No matter age or gender, the Travelers Curling Club Championship is always a refreshing event for some of Canada’s top amateur rinks.

Refreshing because the players are so enthusiastic and happy to be there.

Typical is Andrew Hackner, 29, whose two-year old men’s league team from Geraldton, Ont. is playing in his second national but first in curling.

“The Travelers is a special even. They treat us so well,” he said.

Andrew, a second, is the son of two-time Brier winner Al Hackner. When asked if his father gave him advice he said, “he doesn’t really give advice about pressure or anything like that. He just said ‘really enjoy it.'”

The Travelers, a national featuring 14 men and women’s teams, is on now at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club.

“It’s pretty special,” said Andrew. “I was pretty emotional when I finally saw my name on a Northern Ontario sweater.”

The last time Hackner was at a national was in 2011, but it wasn’t in curling. He was playing basketball for Lakehead University.

***

The women’s team from Inuvik, Northwest Territories, may be the first all aboriginal women’s curling team to compete in the event. Skip Diane Baxter said, “it’s an awesome championship to come to. It’s pretty exciting.”

Her vice competed in the mixed nationals but her lead and second are sophomores. Because of travel they have only played six games together.

Baxter wants her front end to get the most out of their stay in Ottawa.

“I would like the two new curlers just to enjoy the experience and not get too frustrated,” she said.

***

This national is also special for Team Ontario second Erin Cook from Guelph. The squad’s lead is her mother Laura Davis-Cook and the vice is her sister Allison Singh. Mom last played in a national 40 years ago for Quebec as a junior.

“She knows why she took 40 years to get back to a nationals because she wanted to do it with her daughters,” Erin said.

She even brought her six-month-old daughter to cheer her on. And her father, who took time off work, is here as well to babysit.

She had nothing but praise for the event. “We had a nice banquet last night (Monday). We get shuttled back and forth from the hotel so we can enjoy ourselves. It’s been really great.”

The tournament has two pools of seven teams each who play a round robin. The top three squads from each pool advance to the championships beginning Friday at 1:30. It was opened on Monday with Craig Savill drawing the pin unaided. This was after Emma Miskew told Savill to not be light because it was better to stop the rock than push it to the button.

Draws run all day until the finals Saturday at 10 a.m.

OCA RESULTS

Pepsi junior zones results are: Zone 1 — Doug Kee, James Stonehouse, Marieelaine Little and Cassie Allen. Zone 2 — Peter Stranberg, Scott Morphet, Kayla MacMillan and Sierra Sutherland. Zone 3 — Ryan Hahn, Richard Barrie, Lauren Horton, Jessica Thorne and Emma Wallingford. The Fairfield Marriott Challenge zone winner were: 1 – Allen McGuire and Bill Woods, 2 – Chadd Vandermade and Rob Kluke, 3 – Dylan Haggart and Dave Cormier.

WINNERS’ CIRCLE

The Navy senior invitational crown went to Randy Garland, Brian Edge, John Colquhoun and Cal Hegge.

joe@hoglinecurling.com

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Ferbey the last of the beer-drinking curlers

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist

BY

Ferbey

Alberta skip Randy Ferbey laughs during the 2005 Brier at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Sunday March 6, 2005. Curling was a more social sport back then, Ferbey says. Edmonton Sun/QMI Agency

 

Four-time world champion Randy Ferbey considers himself “the last of a dying breed” of curler.

The kind that would “go curl your game then go sit and visit with people and have a bunch of beers and stay up till midnight.”

“Teams don’t do that no more,” he said.

Elite curlers — those competing for an Olympic berth, for example — train more seriously nowadays as the sport becomes less social and more competitive.

“It’s not like it used to be. It was a much more social sport. It was a lot more fun to curl both on and off the ice,” said Ferbey.

Ferbey was in town this week to promote the Everest-Ferbey Pro Am that will take place in Digby, N.S., in April.

Ottawa is where he won one of his six Canadian championships, in 2001. The game has changed a lot since then, he said.

“(Teams) are spending their time in the gym which is good. I kind of get it,” he said. “I don’t begrudge them any bad things.”

He said he had the same conversation recently with another legend, Al Hackner.

“It’s not the way I would have done things back then,” he said.

Ferbey also got a look at how the directional broom controversy is affecting teams when he stopped in Oshawa on Sunday for the Slam.

“They are divided and I have never seen this ever before. Teams were friends and went out and had a drink together. That’s not happening no more. Everybody is calling these guys cheaters and these guys cheaters. And they use those brooms and we use these brooms but they’re doing the wrong thing and we are doing the right thing,” he said.

“It’s not good. It totally divided the teams. The CCA has to come in and take steps to correct this problem right now.”

He went on to say, “After talking to a few players, apparently it’s almost like you never miss. That’s not the way the game is meant to be played. When I played, you were wide you didn’t sweep. When you were narrow, you swept. When you were light you swept. When you were heavy you didn’t. And now you sweep to make them step. You sweep to make them curl. It’s not good for our game quite frankly.”

Because of the Brad Gushue incident, Ferbey is asked about helmet use. But he has a different take on their use. “Well we don’t need them, but we might need them cause there’s going to be fisticuffs out there.”

Ferbey thinks the junior ranks have also changed.

“They’re travelling with coaches and physiotherapists and psychology coaches. It kind of gotten ridiculous, you know.”

Ferbey wonders if the emphasis is right.

“Only one team is going to go the Olympics. I know it’s a great honour. You have to put things in perspective. You’re not going to have fun for four years because you might get a chance to represent Canada? Who is to say that because you socialize and have a bit of fun now it’s going to hurt your chances down the road? Which I don’t totally get. They are doing what they think they have to do I guess.”

Meanwhile, Ferbey will continue to champion the more relaxed Everest-Ferbey Pro Am. In its second year, it is aimed at seniors, whom Ferbey thinks are the backbone of many curling clubs. Players register to participate then take part in various competitions in their area. In March a draw is made to pick the seniors who will curl against Ferbey and guests.

Ferbey still curls in Edmonton in a Thursday men’s league and a Friday mixed league. Former teammate Dave Nedohin curls at the same club but in a Tuesday men’s league.

“I think he’s trying to avoid me,” Ferbey said. “He doesn’t want to go head to head against me.”

joe@hoglinecurling.com

 

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New broom pads causing uproar

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist

BY

Arsenault

Nova Scotia skip Mary-Anne Arsenault. (Postmedia Network Files)

Five-time world champion Mary-Anne Arsenault says she’s “done” with curling if controversial new sweeping techniques are allowed to continue.

The Nova Scotia skip was annoyed after her experience at the Royal Lepage OVCA Women’s Fall Classic in Kemptville last weekend. Her displeasure about the use of “directional material” on broom pads and certain sweeping techniques caused her, as she put it, to rant to Curling Canada and others after the spiel.

Her team lost an A-side qualifier to a team that used the pads in question but did not turn the fabric inside out, as many teams have done. This is a stopgap measure until the World Curling Federation issues a ruling about the pads in question. Both the WCF and Curling Canada, who both have national and international tournaments occurring now, dictated that the Ice Pad material have to be used inside out. There has yet to be a universal ruling.

“If they were wide on a peel, the skip would yell, ‘Really has to curl’ and voila; a miss becomes a make,” Arsenault said.

“They switched brushes depending on whether it was a hit, draw, in-turn or outturn, using different pad coverings for different shots. The manipulation was very deliberate and well planned.”

The pads in question are not illegal. While there is a “gentlemen’s agreement” to turn the fabric inside out, no one is forced to nor can spiel organizers mandate it.

But Arsenault is fed up.

“In my humble opinion, if we all play with the integrity of the game as we know it at heart, it’ll be all good,” she said. “If the new paradigm includes these brushing techniques, I’m done.”

Indeed, the fabric of curling may be torn asunder if this issue is not put to bed. Some have gone so far as to suggest the brushing technique is akin to cheating.

According to reports from the Grand Slam in Nova Scotia last month, some women’s teams were reduced to tears from taunts by other players about their choice of brooms.

Arsenault likened it to “taking a knife to a gun fight. Anybody playing fairly has no chance against these directional fabrics when used in this manner. I truly hope that there will soon be definitive rules put in place regarding brushing. Without such rules our game is going to the dogs.”

Spiel organizers are also getting frustrated. At least one — who spoke to the Sun on the condition of anonymity — threatened to cancel his event if the issue doesn’t get resolved.

Back on the ice, meanwhile, the three A-side qualifiers in Kemptville ended up in the final. Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni lost a close one to Mississauga’s Jacqueline Harrison 8-6. Both teams use the Hardline brooms in question. Harrison, who did not turn the pads inside out, won $5,500 while the Swiss, who did turn them inside out, banked $3,000. Local squads did well. Rhonda Varnes and Jenn Hanna made the semis while Lauren Horton, Lauren Mann and Cassandra Lewin earned quarterfinal money.

WINNERS’ CIRCLE

Gatineau’s Jean-Michel Menard earned a berth in the Quebec men’s provincials Sunday by winning the Finale du circuit. He defeated Guy Hemmings 4-3.

FERBEY FOR SENIORS

Four time world champion Randy Ferbey will be in Ottawa Nov. 17 promoting the Everest-Ferbey National Pro Am, a tournament designed for club level senior curlers who qualify for the national through regional tournaments. He’ll be at the Ottawa beginning at 9:30 a.m. All are welcome.

THE LASSIES

A group of Scottish women who are curling their way through parts of Canada are in town this week. They are in Ottawa Nove. 12 and 13 at the RA and the Ottawa, respectively.

END NOTES

Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling begins tomorrow with the National in Oshawa. Sportsnet game coverage starts Thursday at 9 a.m.

joe@hoglinecurling.com

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Canada ‘second home’ for Swiss women

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist

BY

TIRINZONI

Swiss skip Silvana Tirinzoni. (Postmedia Network Files)

They are the team to beat.

The Royal Lepage OVCA Women’s Fall Classic Nov. 5-8 in Kemptville features Team Silvana Tirinzoni, the Swiss squad that won the inaugural Tour Challenge in Newfoundland in September. That win plus their three playoff finishes this season have them sitting second behind Team Homan on the money list with just over $43,000 won.

They don’t get much of a break from curling. The team members all have morning part-time jobs then practise and work out in the afternoon and evening. “We really don’t have an off-season since we have ice in the summer from the beginning of June,” said Tirinzoni, a 36-year-old business development officer.

The team consists of third Manuela Siegrist, 25 (an economics student), second Esther Neuenschwander, 32, an accountant and another accountant lead Marlene Albrecht, 27.

They spend eight weeks in Canada.

“To be away from your family and friends all the time is not easy,” said Tirinzoni. “It’s a special life to spend so much time in hotel rooms and living out of a suitcase. But we love what we do. Canada has become our second home.”

This is all expensive. A quarter of their expenses come from the Swiss Curling Association. “The rest we have to come up by ourselves. There is always pressure to do well on events and win some money.”

They just came from the Masters in Nova Scotia where they earned $7,500 and next head to the National in Oshawa.

The Swiss will be facing lots of Sister Acts.

The tournament features a host of sisters either on the same team or potentially competing against one another. The Hanna sisters, Jenn and Stephanie, the 2007 event winners, bring their new team. The Toronto squad of Megan Balsdon features Jessica and Stephanie Corrado.

There are sister civil wars a brewing with two young skips — Celeste and Nicole Butler-Rohland. The other possibility is the Gannon sisters — Melissa and Kim on Team Varnes and Team Horton, respectively.

Tirinzoni will be tested by a number of teams including Lauren Horton’s rink that is fresh off their $4,000 win at the Broker Link OVCA Junior Superspiel. Mary-Anne Arsenault won $7,500 at the Masters. Marie-France Larouche is also in the hunt as is Lauren Mann with her Quebec Scotties squad. The defending champion, Cathy Auld, is returning.

This marks the 10th anniversary of the 24-team event, with action starting Thursday morning at 9:15. The finals are Sunday at 3:30 at the North Grenville Curling Club. Go to www.classic.ovca.com for info.

JUNIOR NEWS

Lauren Horton, Kim Gannon, Lindsay Bell and Jessica Armstrong defeated Quebec’s Genevieve Laurier to capture their second consecutive Broker Link Junior Superspiel. On the men’s side, Scotland’s Bruce Mouat defeated Manitoba’s Matt Dunstone 7-4.

BROOMHAHA

The World Curling Federation issued a statement recently indicating it would announce a decision regarding directional fabric broom heads by Nov. 8. Curling Canada has issued a statement to all the teams participating in the Canadian Mixed that they “must be able to “see” the “fabric weave” in any brush head fabric that will come into contact with the ice.” Curling Canada goes on to say this is an interim decision only applicable to the Mixed. The WFC’s pending broom head decision coincides with the opening day of the mixed in Toronto. Team Ontario is from Ottawa and consists of skip Mike McLean, Brit O’Neil, Andrew Denny-Petch and Karen Sagle.

END NOTES

The Pembroke Curling Centre is staging their Fall Spiel Nov. 20 to 22 with $5,000 in cash prizes. Contact Carl Zieroth at carlz@royallepage.ca.

joe@hoglinecurling.com

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Scottish rink makes noise at Challenge Chateau Cartier

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist

BY

For Bruce Mouat, it was a bonspiel he’ll never forget.

After losing its first game at the Challenge Chateau Cartier in Buckingham, Que., the young Scottish rink surprised the field rattling off six straight victories to earn a spot in the semi-finals.

Mouat’s rink defeated teams from Denmark, Switzerland, China and seemed to have Ontario rink John Epping’s number by defeating him in both a B-side qualifier as well as the quarterfinals.

The Scottish rink finally lost 6-3 in the semis against Brad Gushue (Newfoundland rink), who went on to win the event.

Mouat’s rink travelled to Canada to gain experience by playing in Gatineau as well as the Broker Link OVCA Junior Superspiel. “We wanted to gain experience playing top class teams like John Epping and Brad Gushue. Lucky, we got to play them both. It was cool even to be on the same sheet,” said Mouat, 21, who captured the bronze medal in last year’s World Juniors.

The Scottish skip is currently studying festival and event management at Napier University in Edinburgh.

Unlike most young curlers the sport didn’t run in his family. After seeing Scotland’s Rhona Martin win gold at the 2002 Olympics, his father encouraged him to try the sport.

“I loved it from the get go. I started when I was seven and loved it ever since I stepped on the ice.”

His team is scattered amongst three cities making team dynamics tough. “We try to get together as much as possible. So we have a team training session every Wednesday.” They play every weekend, go to the gym twice a week and each practices on their own. British curling funds them while the Scottish Sports Association provides personal training and strength and conditioning coaches.

“They are funding us to come over here and compete at a high level … to hopefully grow the sport and expand it by providing good performances in the worlds and the Olympics.”

When asked which curler Mouat most admired growing up, he said Jeff Stoughton. “I thought he was awesome. I used to watch shots of his on YouTube.”

His other hero was David Murdoch. “Hopefully I can have people look up to me if I ever get that far.”

The Challenge results saw the quarterfinal runners-up as Guy Hemmings, Epping, Jia Liang Zang and Shawn Adams. Gushue went on to win the spiel by defeating Sarnia’s Mark Bice 6-1 (Bice defeated Adam Casey from P.E.I. in the other semi).

In the Open section Buckingham’s Roger Bertrand defended his title against Steven Munroe.

As for the Superspiel, the Scottish men hope to qualify.

“I know there are definitely strong competitors. We are not underestimating any of the Canadian teams.”

Mouat will be facing a formidable men’s field headed by Braden Calvert, the defending world champion from Manitoba.

American Korey Dropkin is back to defend his title. Another ’Tobin is here, Matt Dunstone, who has a world junior bronze medal. Add to that mix six provincial championship squads as well as Tyler Tardi from B.C. with his Canada Youth Olympics team and the weekend has the recipe for some great curling.

The women’s field features defending champ Lauren Horton of Almonte as well as three provincial titleholders and the U.S. standard bearer Cory Christensen.

Tournament action will take place at six clubs with the championships set for Sunday at 4 p.m. at Carleton Heights. Go to www.superspiel.ca for more info.

END NOTES

The Masters of Curling begins today from Truro, N.S. Sportsnet coverage starts on Thursday morning. Ottawa’s Team Homan is competing in it.

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THE MASTERS OF CURLING BROADCAST SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Sportsnet Broadcast Schedule
*Note – As a part of a sublicensing agreement, CBC will broadcast the Men’s Quarter-Finals and Final. All Sportsnet broadcasts also available for streaming via Sportsnet.ca/live, the Sportsnet App, and Rogers Anyplace TV™. Broadcast schedule subject to change.

 

Thursday, Oct. 29

·         Round Robin, 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)

·         Round Robin, 2:30 p.m. ET / 11:30 a.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)

·         Round Robin, 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)

Friday, Oct. 30

·         Round Robin, 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)

·         Round Robin, 2:30 p.m. ET / 11:30 a.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)

Saturday, Oct. 31

·         Men’s Quarter-Finals, Noon ET / 9 a.m. PT (CBC)

·         Women’s Quarter-Finals, 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)

Sunday, Nov. 1

·         Men’s and Women’s Semifinals, 8 a.m. ET / 5 a.m. ET (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)

·         Men’s Final, Noon ET / 9 a.m. PT (CBC)

·         Women’s Final, 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)

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Call it a super spiel

Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist

BY

svenSkip Sven Michel of Switzerland throws a rock during the fifth draw of the Syncrude Elite 10 Grand Slam of Curling event in Fort McMurray Alta. on Friday March 20, 2015. Robert Murray/Fort McMurray Today/QMI Agency

 

 

“It’s a great spiel in a great place.”

So says Sven Michel, the Swiss skip who is returning to the Challenge Chateau Cartier de Gatineau. His rink is one of the elite teams competing in the $55,000 prize purse World Curling Tour this week at the Centre sportif Robert-Rochon.

There are a number of European teams in the area anxious to battle for big bucks. Niklas Edin from Sweden is one although the squad could be termed as a local team since they have been living in Ottawa all season. (They leave in November). That team is joined by Scotland’s David Murdoch and Rasmus Stierne from Denmark. Add two Chinese rinks and a young Bruce Mouat team from Scotland and you have lots for Canada’s elite rinks to tackle.

The elite homegrown rinks are the surging Brad Gushue, Team Canada — Pat Simmons with John Morris — Adam Casey from PEI and Shawn Adams from Nova Scotia with Ottawa athlete Craig Savill.

Spiel organizers do a fine job of keeping the athletes happy. For instance out of town players who stay with their hotel partner (Double Tree by Hilton) not only get a good rate but receive money towards a car rental. Another aspect of the event curlers like is the venue. “Arena ice is a big one, one of two spiels on the WCT that is held on arena ice. Players love our ice conditions.” said Rick Fagay, one of the organizers. “This is also a great warm up for the Masters Slam in Truro, Nava Scotia the weekend after.”

The tournament features the 32-team elite division and an open section. The elite section plays all their games at the arena beginning at 8:30 tomorrow morning. The open division begins Wednesday at 8 p.m., at the arena and in the Buckingham curling club.

To see some of the best curling in the National Capital Region this season go to the Centre. The admission is $5 per day and a $15 event pass is available.

BROOMHAHA

There is plenty of controversy over so-called directional fabric brooms and really no solution in site. Maybe it is time for an independent organization to test all pads and see what one is the problem — if any. With accusations flying back and forth between Balance Plus and Hardline Curling and with no independent verification of allegations, this could go on a long time.

WINNER’S CIRCLE

The Broker Link Junior Superspiel qualifier was held in Almonte on the weekend. Those teams advancing to the Oct. 30-Nov. 1 spiel are: Emma Wallingford, Doug Kee, Marie-Elaine Little, Peter Stranberg, Sierra Sutherland and Ryan Hahn.

BRIER COUNTDOWN

You can now purchase mini ticket packs that cover both the opening and closing weekends at TD Place. Individual tickets for select round-robin draws go on sale Nov. 19 while playoff single draw tickets will be available on Jan. 7.

END NOTES:

Local curlers Cheryl McBain and Layne Noble were inducted into the Governor Generals Curling Club last weekend”¦. Registration is now open for the OVCA Mixed Bonspiel Jan. 14-17. Returning teams are guaranteed a spot until Dec. 1. This year’s theme is “East Coast Kitchen Party.”

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CHALLENGE WILL BE A CHALLENGE

by Joe Pavia

The organizers of the Challenge Chateau Cartier de Gatineau have a stellar cast of characters who will be fighting for their share of the $55,500 prize purse plus world ranking points. Among those attending are Brad Gushue, Scotland’s David MurdochNiklas Edin from  Sweden, Pat Simmons and Jean-Michel Menard.

All in all the 32 elite division teams come from 7 provinces as well as Switzerland, Sweden, Scotland, the USA, Denmark and China. These elite rinks start sharp at 8:30 a.m. October 22. All these games as well as the October  25 at 3:30 p.m. championship games will be played at the Centre sportif Robert-Rochon.

The open division begins on October 21 at 8:00 p.m. with their matches at both the Centre and the Buckingham Curling Club. The open finals are at the same time as the elite final on October 25.

To see some of the best curling to take place in the National Capital Region this season go to the Centre. Admission is $5 per day and there is a $15 all event pass available at the door. Visit www.challengechateaucartier.com

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Ottawa-based foursome hits Autumn Gold on impressive roll

BY , CALGARY SUN

At the end of the day, Rachel Homan’s curling season will likely be judged by how she and her team perform at a select number of big events.

The Scotties looms largest, obviously, but the Canada Cup and Grand Slam events will likely be the biggest barometers of the team’s success.

A little more than a month into the season, though, and Homan & Co. have already put together a run that would have most teams beaming when the snow starts melting next spring.

Saying they’re the hottest team on the tour doesn’t do them justice. The Ottawa-based foursome — which includes third Emma Miskew, second Joanne Courtney and lead Lisa Weagle — has already won two events and sits atop the WCT women’s money list with $42,254 in earnings.

That number would have been enough for Homan’s crew to finish fifth on the money list at the <italics> end <italics> of the 2014-15 season.

But with the Curlers Corner Autumn Gold Classic set to kick off Friday morning at the Calgary Curling Club, no one around the Homan camp is resting on her laurels.

“I think this sport is always a game you’re constantly working at and (trying to) improve yourself,” said Homan, 26. “Everyone else is trying to do the same. The minute you think you’re No. 1, people are going to pass you.”

That’s the attitude that’s seen Homan’s team establish itself as one of the top women’s teams in the world over the past couple of curling seasons. They won the Scotties in both ’13 and ‘14 and went on to finish with a bronze at their first world championships and a silver at their second.

But with Olympic champion Jennifer Jones still at her peak and Valerie Sweeting’s Edmonton-based team emerging, Homan’s rink spent the summer hard at work both on and off the ice trying to gain whatever edge they can find heading into the season.

“The off-season is a lot of dry-land training, getting stronger in the gym and taking care of injuries and anything that’s happened during curling season,” Courtney said. “We’ve played three events and we’ve had a start that we’re happy with and a lot of good things are happening on the ice process-wise, but there’s a lot to improve on and it’s still early.”

This weekend’s bonspiel in Calgary will present another big test. Both Jones and Sweeting are in town for the event, as well as perennial contender Shannon Kleibrink and Stefanie Lawton. Homan opens the event Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. against Edmonton-based Jessie Kaufman.

 

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Situation critical for Curling Club

By Kevin Anderson, The Northern Times

The Kapuskasing Curling Club is facing financial hardship and desperately needs to increase membership by 20-30 members, or face the potential closing of the club.

This according to club executive member John Arnold, who recently spoke with The Times.

“We need to ensure the long-term stability of the club,” he said. “If we don’t get a bit higher membership than we have now, we may have to shut the club down. The situation is urgent.”

The club has been operating at a deficit for the last two years and coffers are running low.

“We’re getting close to insolvency,” said Arnold. “Hydro costs have gone up, maintenance costs are substantial and sagging membership is really hurting us.”

Arnold said historically, older members had been the backbone of the club, but with so many people choosing to winter in warmer climates (the club is even trying to create packages for those folks, who can’t commit to a full season), new members are needed.

“Look, we know curling isn’t for everybody, but we also know there are a lot of people, who have considered joining the club but for one reason or another have procrastinated in doing so,” said Arnold. “Well, if they’ve ever thought about it, now is the time.”

The Kapuskasing Curling Club has a long, rich history in the Model Town, having operated for 86 years since its establishment in 1929.

“I’ve been playing on and off, mostly on, since the early 1960s,” commented Arnold. “Curling has a very storied history in Northern Ontario and it would be a shame to see our club go because of a couple of off years”.

Arnold said curling is a sport unlike many others, combines athletics with social aspects, and is playable by people of all ages.

“We have our youngest members in our ‘Little Rocks’ group, right on up to seniors, who while the may not be able to get down in the hack and throw rocks anymore, can use one of the aids we have so that they can still participate,” he explained. “Anybody can play it. It doesn’t have to be a super physical sport and it’s not an expensive sport to play relative to a lot of others. It’s about having fun and getting together with friends”.

Registration for this curling season will be held on Oct. 18-23 at the Kapuskasing Curling Club. Regular league play is slated to being Oct. 25-30.

Furthermore, David Guay will be offering a clinic for prospective curlers at a cost of $50. Those interested can sign up for the clinic on registration day.

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TRAIN THE TRAINER

TRAIN THE TRAINER!
Adult Learn to Curl
Even the best can use some instructing now and then…
The OVCA “Train the Trainer” session will assist your
Club’s ‘Learn to Curl’ coordinator to teach effectively
using the latest methods based on the Adult Learn to
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When: Sunday, September 27th, 9 am
Where: Ottawa Curling Club
Register at: www.ottawvalleycurling.ca
Cost: $55 per person Registration Deadline is September 22nd.
Limited to two (2) coaches from each club until September 20th.
Registration fee includes course materials, morning coffee, lunch & instructor name tag.

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TSN’s curling experts make their bold predictions

Take a look at TSN.ca’s 2015-16 curling previews: MEN – WOMEN

 

Vic Rauter

Vic Rauter’s Picks

2016 Brier Champion – Brad Gushue (St. John’s, NL)

I think it’s going to be a magical year for Brad Gushue. He will win the Brier and then go back next year as Team Canada when St John’s is named as Brier host in 2017.

2016 Scotties Champion – Val Sweeting (Edmonton, AB)

Val Sweeting will finally take the big step after losing last year in the final to Jennifer Jones. A full year with Lori Olson-Johns as her third will be big for this rink.

Men’s World Curling Tour Money Winner – Brad Gushue (St. John’s, NL)

Team Gushue is always up early money and will play a lot again this season. My only question is whether he burns himself out, hurting his Brier chances.

Women’s World Curling Tour Money Winner – Chelsea Carey (Edmonton, AB)

Throw stones and Carey On. Chelsea Carey, now skipping the team previously led by of Heather Nedohin, brings more bite to the team. She could give Sweeting a good run in Alberta.

Dream Mixed Doubles Pairing – John Morris and Joanne Courtney 

Morris loves it and has the ability to throw up-weight while Courtney (Rachel Homan’s second) is arguably the best brusher in the women’s game right now. Also, Cathy Gauthier and Russ Howard. They would simply win because the other team would die laughing.

 

Cheryl Bernard

Cheryl Bernard’s Picks

2016 Brier Champion – Kevin Koe (Calgary, AB)

As a second year team I think they will have worked out a lot of the kinks that all new teams have. They have all the talent, just needed a year to find common ground with regards to style of play and timing. Not an easy route out of Alberta, but if they make it, I pick them at the Brier.

2016 Scotties Champion – Jennifer Jones (Winnipeg, MB)

You can’t argue with her track record at the Scotties. She has won it five times in the past 10 years and the years she didn’t win, she was in the playoffs. And the other important element is that she is guaranteed to be at the Scotties as Team Canada from last year.

Men’s World Curling Tour Money Winner – Mike McEwen (Winnipeg, MB)

McEwen was the overall money winner in the 2014-15 season, making $172,500. They have been the No. 1 money winner four out of the past five years. You can’t argue with that type of consistency or talent.

Women’s World Curling Tour Money Winner – Rachel Homan (Ottawa, ON)

Homan was the overall money winner last year with a total of $91,000 in winnings and now a second year under their belt with Joanne Courtney as their second will give this team the benefit of knowledge and experience as a unit.

Dream Mixed Doubles Pairing – Val Sweeting and Marc Kennedy

He can do it all and she is a clutch skip that can draw. They’re a perfect pair to win Canada another medal in curling.

 

Russ Howard

Russ Howard’s Picks

2016 Brier Champion – Mike McEwen (Winnipeg, MB)

Finally, it is going to be Mike’s year. The new father will finally win Manitoba and the flood gates will open and he will win the Canadian Championship on his first try. They are the best all round team in the world right now.

2016 Scotties Champion – Jennifer Jones (Winnipeg, MB)

Now that Dawn McEwen has had the baby, the team will round into form for the Canadian Championship and defend their title. Amazingly enough, this team is still motivated, looking for a world championship.

Men’s World Curling Tour Money Winner – Mike McEwen (Winnipeg, MB) 

Team McEwen has been the top money winner two years in a row. There is no reason to believe they won’t repeat as they are extremely consistent at all four positions.

Women’s World Curling Tour Money Winner – Rachel Homan (Ottawa, ON)

She is very motivated after last year’s disappointing Scotties.  Emma Miskew has changed careers to dedicate more time to training which should only help this young team.

Dream Mixed Doubles Pairing – John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes

In mixed doubles you need a skip that can brush – John fits that bill. He’s a great team player, gets along with anyone and is not afraid to make the big shot. Kaitlyn is very similar. She has a great attitude as a team player, has all the shots and like John, the sweeping judgement is key for all the finesse shots required in mixed doubles.

 

Bob Weeks

Bob Weeks’ Picks

2016 Brier Champion – Mike McEwen (Winnipeg, MB) 

This is finally the year that the team not only reaches the Brier but goes on to win it. They’re just too good and too hungry.

2016 Scotties Champion – Jennifer Jones (Winnipeg, MB)

Being Team Canada gives them a leg up on the field and when this team gets the Maple Leaf on its back, there’s no team better in the game.

Men’s World Curling Tour Money Winner – Brad Jacobs (Sault Ste. Marie, ON)

These guys will be rolling again this year after a solid WCT season a year ago and looking to improve on the $100,000 they won in 2014-15.

Women’s World Curling Tour Money Winner – Rachel Homan (Ottawa, ON)

There are no better money players in the game today than the four on this squad. They are truly pros.

Dream Mixed Doubles Pairing – Marc Kennedy and Emma Miskew 

Two of the best thirds in the game would be an awesome combination and a favourite for gold.

 

Cathy Gauthier

Cathy Gauthier’s Pick

2016 Brier Champion – Mike McEwen (Winnipeg, MB)

Mike and his team consistently perform well on the money tour and has been one of the best three for several years – just cannot get out of Manitoba. The arrival of the new baby will provide the all-important perspective (or sleep deprivation) needed to break through.

2016 Scotties Champion – Val Sweeting (Edmonton, AB)

She is consistently a Cool Hand Luke throwing the last rock. Getting as close as she did last year has shown her what they need to do as a team to take it that one notch higher. Team Sweeting will be one of the hardest working teams this year.

Men’s World Curling Tour Money Winner – Mike McEwen (Winnipeg, MB)

They have figured out how to win at the highest of levels and this year should be no different. Team McEwen are being driven by the Olympic potential and there will be no change in focus in this season.

Women’s World Curling Tour Money Winner – Jennifer Jones (Winnipeg, MB)

Jennifer will be close at the Scotties – she always is.  The Scotties is one week but the season is a long one.  Their incredible strengths throughout the lineup will generate a lot of high finishes and when Dawn rejoins the team when she is ready, look for an even bigger surge on the cash circuit.

Dream Mixed Doubles Pairing – Charley Thomas and Kalynn Park

There will be a big surge to mixed doubles now that it is an Olympic sport, but these two have worked hard at it and are very strong.  I watched them in Sochi at the World Mixed Doubles in April of this year and was impressed on many levels.  They are incredibly fit and have been great students of the European Mixed Doubles game in anticipation of the announcement of Olympic status.

 

AND

 

Bryan Mudryk

TSN Curling Guru Bryan Mudryk’s Picks

2016 Brier Champion – Brad Jacobs (Sault Ste. Marie, ON)

After last year’s disappointment in Calgary, Ryan Fry vowed to work even harder this season. He’s changed tactics and it’s paying off. Fry will actually drop his chin another inch closer to the ice this season ensuring chin burn and no broom missed. With the Brier returning to his home city of Ottawa, John Morris will win the Patch. Relegation or not, Jamie Koe will finish a close second.

2016 Scotties Champion – Stefanie Lawton (Saskatoon, SK)

Why not? She’s a lovely young lady and I bet none of my colleagues select her. Also, Saskatchewan will get a major event again eventually and this pick ensures me no line and no cover at the Patch. Rachel Homan wins best kitchen (Pinty’s) and Val Sweeting’s squad with best performance at a charity golf tournament this year. (It might have been mine, but never let facts ruin a good prediction).

Men’s World Curling Tour Money Winner – Marc Kennedy (Calgary, AB)

During an event in Northern Manitoba, Marc will be scouted by a top European speedo model company and make $1.4 million alone this year. Vogue Magazine also has him in the running to be Mr. July in the “2016 Dreamboats of Curling.”

Women’s World Curling Tour Money Winner – Jennifer Jones (Winnipeg, MB)

Former World Champion. Olympic Gold. Scotties Champion. Married Lainger. The hits will keep on coming.

Dream Mixed Doubles Pairing – Kate Upton and Taylor Swift

We can all dream. Get them a broom.

 

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FALL ROCKS NOVICE OPEN BONSPIEL

Annual FALL ROCK$ Novice
Open Ca$h-$piel
RCN (Navy) Curling Club
www.curlnavy.com
Sept 26th and 27th 2015
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
50/50
Additional Prizes to be won!
Finals on Sunday with lunch available for
purchase
Hosted by the RCN Evening Ladies Division in association with the OVCA Colts League
For information on rules, eligibility and to register visit http://www.coltscurling.ca/
or contact Denis Carter
denisc@gbs.ca
613-551-3431

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BRIER NEWFOUNDLAND BOUND

For Immediate Release
Sept. 14, 2015
St. John’s named to host 2017 Tim Hortons Brier
Curling’s biggest rock stars will be heading to the Rock in 2017 for the Tim Hortons Brier, it was announced today by Curling Canada.

The 2017 Canadian Men’s Curling Championship will be played March 4-12 at Mile One Centre in St. John’s, and will be just the second time the Brier has been played in Canada’s easternmost province.

The 1972 Macdonald Brier was held at Memorial Stadium in St. John’s and won by Manitoba’s Orest Meleschuk.

Forty-five years later, after a rousing campaign put together by local organizers that saw Newfoundland and Labrador curling fans put deposits down on nearly 2,200 event passes, curling’s biggest show is making a long-awaited return.

“While there were some very attractive bids submitted to host the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier, the enthusiasm shown by St. John’s and Newfoundland and Labrador and the local organizers made this a natural choice,” said Pat Ray, acting Chief Executive Officer for Curling Canada. “St. John’s has wonderful facilities that will work perfectly, both for our athletes and the fans from across the country who will be eager to see what a St. John’s curling party is all about.”

Mile One Centre, with a seating capacity of around 7,000, opened in 2001, and is home to the St. John’s IceCaps — the Montreal Canadiens’ American Hockey League affiliate. It also played host to the 2005 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, won by Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones with a dramatic 10th-end in-off takeout to score four and beat Ontario’s Jenn Hanna.

“As a proud Newfoundlander, this really is a dream come true for all of us,” said 2006 Olympic gold-medallist and 12-time Tim Hortons Brier participant Brad Gushue. “My hometown will put on a great show for the curlers and curling fans from across Canada, and I know our team will be working extremely hard for the chance to be able to represent our province in 2017.”

The 2017 Brier will mark the 13th year of title sponsorship by Tim Hortons, one of North America’s largest restaurant chains in the quick-service segment.

“We are honoured to be back for the 13th year as title sponsor of Canada’s prestigious Brier,” said Peter Nowlan, Chief Marketing Officer, Tim Hortons. “The Brier is an exciting tradition for all of us curling fans and St. John’s will make a great home to what we’re sure will be another spectacular event.”

In addition to the curling action at Mile One Centre, the World Famous Patch will be set up in the adjacent St. John’s Convention Centre, which is connected to the arena by a covered pedway.

“We got it! The City of St. John’s is thrilled the Tim Hortons Brier will be coming to our capital city,” said Dennis O’Keefe, Mayor of the City of St. John’s. “Events such as these highlight all that St. John’s has to offer to a national and international audience, and we are proud to be an event sponsor. We believe in the importance of high-calibre sport and we look forward to showing Canada’s best curlers a fine time.”

The winner of the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier will represent Canada at the 2017 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship on home soil (host city and dates to be announced). As well, should the Brier champs win a medal at the Ford Worlds, they also will secure direct entry into the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials in Ottawa.

“Congratulations to the 2017 Brier Bid Committee and to STEP St. John’s on the successful bid to host this first-class sporting event,” said the Hon. Paul Davis, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. “Our government is proud to support the Brier, which will provide significant economic benefits to the region. It will also draw attention to the benefits of an active, healthy lifestyle, as curling is a sport that welcomes participants of all ages. This is a fabulous economic and athletic opportunity, as we showcase to the country, our province’s sportsmanship and love of curling.”

Tickets for the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier, the 88th edition of the championship, are expected to go on sale early in 2016.

The Brier has been played in 31 cities across Canada, from Victoria to St. John’s. Manitoba has won a leading 27 Briers, while Alberta is just behind with 26 victories. New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut have yet to win.

Newfoundland/Labrador’s lone Brier championship was in 1976 when Jack MacDuff prevailed in Regina.

The 2016 Tim Hortons Brier is scheduled for March 5-13 in Ottawa. Tickets are available at www.curling.ca/2016brier/tickets/

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MEN’S OKTOBERFEST BONSPIEL AT CITYVIEW

September 30th – October 3rd
ENTRY FEE: $320 per team
• First sixteen team entries accepted
• Four games guaranteed and cash prizes
• Snacks on Wednesday & Thursday night and Friday afternoon
• Meals for Friday night, Saturday lunch & dinner
• Tap Takeover featuring local breweries w/ Cask Beer Saturday
• Live music Friday night
• First two games options:
A) Game 1: Wed night Game 2: Thu night
B) Game 1: Wed night Game 2: Fri night
C) Game 1: Thu night Game 2: Fri night
D) Game 1: Fri 2:30pm Game 2: Fri night
Inquiries please contact oktoberfest@cityviewcurling.ca
Register and pay online at www.cityviewcurling.ca
Event Sponsors
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Who’s-who in world curling in Cornwall for Shorty Jenkins Classic

Courtesy of the Cornwall Seaway News

Who’s-who in world curling in Cornwall for Shorty Jenkins Classic

Published on August 26, 201

 

CORNWALL, Ontario – Brockville’s loss is Cornwall’s gain now that a technical glitch has forced a world-class curling event to move to the Seaway City.

Shorty Jenkins Classic chair Gord McCrady announced this week in Brockville the annual bonspiel that brings in names like Glenn Howard, Jeff Stoughton, and Brad Gushue will not be hosted at the Brockville Country Club because of a broken compressor.

The event, running Sept. 17 to 20, will instead be played at the Cornwall Curling Centre instead of Brockville, where it has found at home for the last 18 years.

“It’s an honour for us to even be considered,” said John Dilabio, a fixture at the Cornwall club. “They could have easily said they were going to go the other way and go to Kingston. But they needed a six-sheeter, and we have a six-sheeter.”

The six-sheet Cornwall club was built years ago to host just such an event, and Dilabio said local officials couldn’t be happier.

“There’s very few clubs that can say they have hosted a World Curling Tour event. So it’s huge,” he said.

Officials estimate the four-day bonspiel will result in as much as $500,000 in economic spinoffs for Cornwall.

And there’s also hope that the event could return to Cornwall in the future. The Brockville Recorder and Times reported this week that there is no guarantee the event will be hosted again in that city.

The newspaper added over the years the tournament has attracted Olympians and world-renowned competitors with the likes of Brad Jacobs and Rachel Homan, who can all call themselves Shorty Jenkins champions as well.

Dilabio said teams from Korea, Switzerland, Sweden, Great Britain and here in North America will descend on Cornwall for the event.

Tickets will be made available to spectators who want to enjoy the bonspiel in person.

“Tickets will be sold at the door. But you will also be able to buy a pass for the weekend,” he said.

More information is expected to be released in the days ahead as local organizers get ramped up to host bonspiel.

Dilabio said CCC board members officially approved the decision to host the event at a meeting Tuesday night.

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CURLING: Broken compressor sends popular annual curling event down the highway to Cornwall this year

Jenkins jettisoned

By Jonathon Brodie Brockville Recorder and Times

Sault St. Marie's Brad Jacobs won't be be able to seek his third straight AMJ Campbell Shorty Jenkins Classic curling title in Brockville as the event has been moved to Cornwall because of ice making equipment issues at the Brockville Country Club. Former Shorty Jenkins champion Rachel Homan is to the left. (RECORDER AND TIMES FILE PHOTO)

Sault St. Marie’s Brad Jacobs won’t be be able to seek his third straight AMJ Campbell Shorty Jenkins Classic curling title in Brockville as the event has been moved to Cornwall because of ice making equipment issues at the Brockville Country Club. Former Shorty Jenkins champion Rachel Homan is to the left. (RECORDER AND TIMES FILE PHOTO)

After 18 years of some of the world’s best curlers coming to Brockville to compete in the AMJ Campbell Shorty Jenkins Classic, there is no certainty it will ever return home to where it all started.

Shorty Jenkins Classic chair Gord McCrady announced Tuesday the annual big-time bonspiel will not be hosted at the Brockville Country Club (BCC) because of a broken compressor at the facility. The event will instead be moving to Cornwall.

The event was expected to take place from September 17 to 20 at BCC and McCrady said he was notified about the broken compressor, which is about 50 years old, last Wednesday.

The estimated cost is $25,000 to $30,000 to replace the compressor.

McCrady said he would like to have the Shorty Jenkins tourney return to Brockville in 2016, but the decision is up to BCC. With the focus being on getting this year’s event running, there has been no talk about next year, he added.

Glenn Singleton, BCC general manager, said there was a plan in place to change the compressor after this year. The club is now looking to have the compressor replaced sooner, so the facility can still have a curling season. The ice wouldn’t be ready for Sept. 17, however, and it takes about two weeks for curling ice to be put into BCC.

Singleton said he would like to see the event return to the club.

“There are no concerns here (that the Shorty Jenkins Classics wouldn’t return to BCC), I hope that would happen,” Singleton said. “However, I haven’t been privy to any of the meetings with Cornwall, so I don’t know what has been discussed there about that. I would hope we would get it back again, for sure.”

The loss of the Shorty Jenkins Classic – at least for this year – might be a tough one for Brockville economically.

McCrady wasn’t sure how much money the tournament has generated for the community over the years, but he was sure more than 200 nights are booked at hotels each year when the event comes to town.

Last year the Shorty Jenkins Classic won the Chamber of Commerce tourism award. Staff at the Brockville Tourism office referred all questions about the Shorty Jenkins Classic to McCrady.

“Many of us who have been involved for 18 years feel sad for the City of Brockville, the hotels and the restaurants as well,” McCrady said. “It leaves a huge hole for them over four days. It wasn’t a very good week last week, I’ll say that.”

Over the years the tournament has attracted Olympians and world-renowned competitors with the likes of Brad Jacobs, Glenn Howard and Rachel Homan, who can all call themselves Shorty Jenkins champions as well.

Going forward, McCrady hangs onto a quote from Shorty Jenkins himself, “You do whatever is best for the curlers and don’t worry about anything else.”

“That’s what I’m doing now,” McCrady said. “I’m doing what’s best for the curlers by making sure this event runs in Cornwall.”

McCrady spoke with representatives from the World Curling Tour last week and they told him the loss of the Shorty Jenkins Classic on the schedule would be missed because of its popularity amongst the curlers.

The event also earns points this year for competitors that go towards the Olympic trials.

The board of directors at the Cornwall Curling Club (CCC) were expected to meet Tuesday night to approve the move of the Shorty Jenkins Classic to Cornwall.

McCrady said he has twice spoken with CCC committee members, “who are pretty excited about the possibility of the Shorty coming to Cornwall.”

There is a lot to get done if the event does move down the road to Cornwall on the logistics side of things, like the reprinting of posters and programs and finding new local sponsors.

“It’s not going to be an easy feat, let’s put it that way,” McCrady said. “It’s about an eight month preparation and planning to make it happen and we’re trying to do it in three weeks.”

Twitter.com/ @jonathonbrodie

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Professional figure skating, ice hockey and curling teams to be set up in Beijing

Courtesy of the China News

Beijing, together with the city of Zhangjiakou, will host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Recently announced, the games are expected to foster a better understanding and appreciation of winter sports, especially among the nation’s youth, while also developing the popularity of these somewhat peripheral sports.

According to Sun Xuecai, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Sports Bureau, Beijing is preparing to establish professional figure skating, ice hockey and curling teams. The three teams will participate in the upcoming 13th National Winter Games in Xinjiang. When conditions are more favorable, short-track speed skating, speed skating and skiing teams will also be organized.

Thanks to the Winter Olympics, a group of winter events clubs and sports teams will also be formed gradually. The Winter Sports Management Center is being planned by the Beijing government.

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Jeff Stoughton named Curling Canada’s mixed doubles program manager

Sport to debut as medal discipline at 2018 Olympics

The Canadian Press

Former Manitoba skip Jeff Stoughton was hired on Tuesday as manager of Curling Canada's mixed doubles program. The three-time Tim Hortons Brier champion and two-time world champ will oversee several aspects of the program leading up to the sport's debut as a medal discipline at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Former Manitoba skip Jeff Stoughton was hired on Tuesday as manager of Curling Canada’s mixed doubles program. The three-time Tim Hortons Brier champion and two-time world champ will oversee several aspects of the program leading up to the sport’s debut as a medal discipline at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. (Andrew Vaughn/Canadian Press)

Former skip Jeff Stoughton was named Curling Canada’s mixed doubles program manager on Tuesday.

The three-time Tim Hortons Brier champion and two-time world champ will oversee several aspects of the program leading up to the sport’s debut as a medal discipline at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

“I’m excited to have this opportunity and I truly appreciate Curling Canada’s support as we ramp up our chase for the mixed doubles gold medal in South Korea,” said Stoughton. “It’s an exciting way to play the game, and I know our country’s top players are eager to get involved and I want to be able to help in any way I can.”

Traditional curling involves teams of four players while mixed doubles teams have one male and one female. Mixed doubles teams also throw six stones in each end instead of eight.

‘Jeff has already been doing some terrific work behind the scenes to help build mixed doubles curling in Canada, and the Canad Inns Mixed Doubles Classic is an example of that.’- Curling Canada high-performance director Gerry Peckham on Stoughton

Stoughton, who retired at the end of last season, started working with coaches and players earlier this summer in Edmonton.

He’ll also be involved in the Oct. 20-21 Canad Inns Mixed Doubles Classic in Portage la Prairie, Man., an inaugural competition sandwiched between traditional men’s and women’s events at the Portage Curling Club. It’s possible that many of Canada’s top players will participate in the mixed doubles as well.

“Jeff has already been doing some terrific work behind the scenes to help build mixed doubles curling in Canada, and the Canad Inns Mixed Doubles Classic is an example of that,” Curling Canada high-performance director Gerry Peckham said in a release.

“Canad Inns and Portage have stepped up and are definitely on the radar for more events leading to how we determine our mixed doubles entry for the 2018 Winter Olympics, and I’m thrilled to have an individual of Jeff’s calibre, with his accompanying competitive background, on board as we pursue gold.”

Stoughton also has been working with Canada’s entries for the upcoming Audi quattro Winter Games New Zealand mixed doubles competition. Reigning national champions Charley Thomas and Kalynn Park of Calgary are entered along with 2014 champions Kim and Wayne Tuck of Strathroy, Ont.

“Kalynn and I had a chance to work with Jeff earlier this summer and truly enjoyed the experience,” said Thomas. “Jeff has an amazing resume, as we all know, and his experience and knowledge of the game will be a huge benefit to our mixed doubles program leading up to the 2018 Winter Olympics.”

The 2016 world mixed doubles championship is scheduled for April 16-23 in Karlstad, Sweden. The location and dates for the Canadian mixed doubles curling trials have not been finalized.

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Kim and Wayne Tuck competing in radically different mixed doubles curling in New Zealand

y Ryan Pyette, The London Free Press

Wayne Tuck

Wayne Tuck

 Yes, there is such a thing as the New Zealand Winter Games.

It starts next week.

It will feature, obviously, an international curling tournament, and of course, Canada will be well represented.

Kim Tuck, through her Canada Curling Stone family business in Lobo, recently sent some handles to the Kiwis so they could enjoy some roaring game fun on the other side of the world. She never, in a million years, believed she would be shipping herself, along with husband Wayne, to compete in a curling mixed doubles event there in what’s the middle of our summer.

“We’re going by the seat of our pants,” said Kim, one-half of the stone-chucking Tuck couple, who represent the Ilderton Curling Club. “We’re told to expect temperatures there between zero and 10 degrees (Celsius). It’s the furthest we’ve ever gone to curl and to a place I never expected to visit.”

There will be 12 rinks on hand, including the hosts, Japan, Australia, United States, Czech Republic, Korea and Finland. Curling Canada already had a team entered, but when offered a second berth, invited the 2014 national mixed doubles champs — the Tucks.

They will play at the Maniototo Curling Rink, which prides itself as being the only dedicated indoor curling facility in the southern hemisphere and the first with international and Olympic standard offerings. It’s in the historic central Otago borough of Naseby, which has been holding bonspiels for more years (145) than it has residents (around 100 these days).

Mixed doubles has been a rather obscure wing of the curling world. That could change.

Canada is just starting to wrap its head around throwing a few bucks at it, especially now that it has been accepted as a full-medal sport in the Olympics for 2018 in Pyeongchang, Korea.

“We found out late about this, had a week to fund-raise (over $5,000 for flight and hotel alone) and we relied on our friends, families and local companies to sponsor us (on gofundme.com),” Kim said. “We’re so lucky we had a great response.”

Curling in New Zealand sounds unconventional. But not quite as unique as this two-person version of the game.

In mixed doubles, teams use a six-rock system, rather than eight, and start off with one each already in play. The placement of that rock is determined by who has the hammer.

There is one male and female per team, with one person throwing first and fifth rocks per end, while the other throws the middle three.

It’s bent on being a higher-scoring affair, with the loss of hammer the penalty for a blanked end. It’s quicker, too, with each tilt lasting just over an hour.

And get this — the shooter has to sweep his or her own rock.

“When I first started playing it, I wasn’t a fan,” Kim said. “I was trained in four-person and had always sort of took on that cheerleader role, getting everybody up for the game. I found it (less social), being kind of lonely with no other teammates and you don’t talk as much (to the one you have) because you’re always moving and there isn’t time.

“It’s the same game, but in essence, it’s quite different.”

The Tucks haven’t turned exclusively to this brand. Wayne will play fours with Travis Fanset this fall while Kim is third for Londoner Caitlyn Romain.

But with mixed doubles heading to the big Olympic stage, it’s time to get more serious about it. The Tucks, as one of three teams to win a national title, have a legitimate shot at making the Canadian team.

“For the longest time, two players off the Canadian mixed (fours) team went to worlds to play mixed doubles,” Kim said, “but now that there’s a new point system being developed (leading to a Roar of the Rings style playoff down the road). They’ll start those points now, so this will be an important season to do well.

“We’ll see where mixed doubles is at and where funding goes and then decide whether we start focusing on that discipline alone.”

The long journey starts on the other side of the world, in the country where the movie trilogy “Lord of the Rings” was filmed.

They could end up, one day, at the world’s most famous five-ringed circus — the Olympics.

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HELP ESTABLISH A RECORD

WANT TO CURL THIS SUMMER? The Carleton Heights summer curling league is possibly looking to expand the summer league from 24 to a record of 30 teams this year (which is quite incredible in my opinion), but need 2 more teams to get to 30.Call the club for more info. The league begins Tuesday August 25

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Curling great Kevin Martin having a Wild time on the diamond

Courtesy of the Times Colonist

So this is what one of the most recognizable, successful curlers on the planet does when he retires.

“Nah, I’ve been doing this for years,” said 2010 Olympic, 2008 world and four-time Brier champion Kevin Martin, referring to coaching girls softball. “I love it.”

He sure was enthusiastic about it on Thursday as Martin’s Edmonton Wild Warriors lost a 6-5 squeaker to the Delta Heat 2001 team as part of the 2015 Under-14 Girls Canadian Softball Jamboree, currently being conducted at the Helmcken-Centennial diamonds in View Royal.

The Wild Warriors looked much more relaxed than their opening 0-2 day on Wednesday.

“That was a heck of a game. They were really nervous to start,” said Martin, whose daughter Mykaela is part of the team that rebounded from a 5-0 deficit Thursday to force late heroics from the 4-0 Heat.

The Warriors had a right to be jittery, considering this is the first time Softball Alberta has allowed a team to the Softball Canada event.

Of course, Martin still handles curling colour commentary for Rogers Sportsnet and his involvement in sports remains true as he runs the Kevin Martin Summer Curling Academy at the Saville Sports Centre in Edmonton. The facility also houses his Kevin’s Rocks-n-Racquets store.

Last year was the final time he ran his prestigious annual junior bonspiel as the longer Grand Slam of Curling season has taken away his time involvement. The bonspiel was the largest event of its kind in the country and ran for 17 years.

Oh yeah, and he’s also one of 14 Canadian owners of the Desert Dunes golf course in Palm Springs where former Edmonton Oilers’ great Grant Fuhr is the director of golf.

“I get down there more now,” he said of spending a handful of weeks south of the border, now that he is retired from competing (in which he also won a whopping 18 Grand Slam titles).

Golf remains a big part of his life, especially when he visits Victoria.

“I’m too darn busy here though with all the ball,” he said. “My golf shoes are in the bag, though, so if I get a chance I might rent some clubs. Don’t tell anyone though.”

mannicchiarico@timescolonist.com

– See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/sports/curling-great-kevin-martin-having-a-wild-time-on-the-diamond-1.2023677#sthash.V0tJw1Fq.dpuf

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Mainland’s curlers hope for Winter Olympic sweep

Courtesy of the China Post

HARBIN, Heilongjiang — When Liu Jinli first heard the soft rumble of curling stones slipping over Chinese ice a decade ago, the sport was virtually unknown in the country.

But a few years later she won world championship gold with China’s national curling team, securing Beijing’s place as a major power in the sport first played in medieval Scotland.

China’s rapid rise up the curling ranks is part of a wider growth in winter sports promoted by the country’s authorities as Beijing pursued its successful bid to host the 2022 Olympics.

China only settled on an official name for curling — “ice kettle” — in 1995, and had no professional teams until 2001.

Taking up the game as a teenager in the northeastern city of Harbin, Liu said the players “used to make our own footwear.”

“At the very beginning, we would buy plastic shopping bags and put them over our shoes before going out on the ice,” she said. “We had about two brooms for every 10 people.”

Now, with the financial backing of China’s General Administration of Sports, the 26-year-old and her teammates train full time throughout the year.

In summer they retreat to the seaside resort of Qinhuangdao, some 270 kilometers (170 miles) from Beijing, to build their strength with a type of tough gymnastics called calisthenics.

“Curling is a gentle sport. It’s changed my life,” said Liu after grimacing her way through an afternoon weightlifting session under the watchful eye of coach Zhang Wei.

“I think the sport has really developed quickly … there has been a great leap,” said Zhang, a former ice hockey player who 20 years ago became the first Chinese curling coach, as he looked on with an icy expression.

‘Five gold flowers’

Games similar to ice hockey were played in China as early as the 17th century, but other winter sports are relatively new to the country.

China won its first Winter Olympic medals in 1992 and has since racked up 12 golds.

Curling got an unlikely start in China in the mid-1990s thanks to Japanese investors seeking to profit from their neighbor’s increasingly open economy.

An official from Japan’s snowy northern island of Hokkaido suggested the two countries “jointly develop the sport of curling in China,” according to the China sports administration website.

In a cold classroom in Harbin in 1995, coach Zhang recalled, Japanese curlers taught China’s first-ever class on the sport’s combination of precise stone throwing and tactical sweeping.

The deeply strategic sport sees athletes “throw,” or slide, heavy, circular granite stones across a long stretch of ice towards a target, with two sweepers wielding brooms rushing along the stone’s path in an attempt to influence its track without touching, or “burning,” the rock.

Icy nations such as Canada and Sweden have long dominated the sport, which secured an official Winter Olympic billing at Nagano in 1998.

But within a few years of the class in Harbin, Chinese teams were competing abroad, and officials “saw that we might be able to get good results in a relatively short time,” Zhang said.

Harbin city funded China’s first professional men’s team in 2001, hiring coaches from Canada to raise standards, but it was the women curlers — nicknamed the “five gold flowers” — who took the country’s first world title.

With the last strike of the 2009 final, captain Wang Bingyu carefully unleashed a perfectly paced and targeted shot that knocked out two Swedish scoring stones, secured gold for China — and triggered a blood-curdling scream of victory from one of her teammates.

The men’s squad scooped a bronze at the 2010 Winter Olympics, and both are currently ranked in the world’s top five.

Olympic Glory

Zhang said that curling was “very suitable for Asians, as Asians have flexible thinking.” But despite a population of almost 1.4 billion, China is thought to have just a few hundred curlers, almost no grassroots teams, and only three venues.

Government spending was key to the teams’ success, he said, and investment aimed at securing medals is expected to increase in the run-up to 2022.

“All the sports which China is promoting are government-sponsored sports, there is only a very small grassroots sports movement in China,” said Xu Guoqi, a Hong Kong-based professor and author of a book on China’s Olympic movement.

“In major Winter Olympic sports like skiing, China will have trouble because it will take ages to train the best athletes. But for curling, I guess within a few years you can do very well if you train players full time,” he added.

The next generation of Chinese curlers train at the Linxian Curling club in Harbin, where average daily temperatures plunge as low as minus 24 degrees Celsius in January.

“Most of the funding for curling comes from the government. No matter if it’s money for training, competitions, coaches or players, it’s the state which provides a guarantee,” said the school’s head Wang Jingang.

Conditions on their frozen training pitch are basic, with muddy footprints covering the ice, but the two dozen teenage curlers train for six hours a day.

“Curling is like chess on the ice,” said youth captain Zhang Zehong, 17, who said he hopes to “contribute to my motherland’s efforts” as part of the 2022 Olympic team competing on home territory.

“It tests your thinking, and ability to keep calm,” he said as the clunk of colliding stones echoed through the room.

Nearby, a banner next to a large Chinese flag read: “Health for the People, Glory in the Olympics.”

 

 

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Mankato Curling Club at crossroads after last 2 seasons

Courtesy of the PostBuletin.com from Minnesota

MANKATO — Mankato Curling Club president Kim Rheaume doesn’t want to be an alarmist, but she admits this is a critical time in the 112-year history of the organization. Depending on how things play out, the curling club could thrive or it could cease to exist.

“This is definitely a pivotal moment for us,” Rheaume said. “If we can’t raise the funds we need, we won’t have curling in Mankato anymore.”

Curling has a long history in Mankato, dating back to the early 1900s. Until recently the program had about 200 active members who played regularly at the club’s facility — the Caledonia Community Center — nestled between Franklin Rogers Park and the Madison East Center.

How many active members the club has at the moment is debatable because the 2014-15 season was cancelled because of an inability to make ice.

The Caledonia Community Center is owned by the city and leased to the curling club. It has always been the responsibility of the club to maintain the building — including the ice plant.

Can’t make ice

The club’s woes began about three years ago when its three-part, ice-making apparatus began to break down. The club has worked desperately to keep it running, purchasing expensive replacement parts, but last January it became evident it just wasn’t going to work anymore and the curling season had to be canceled. The organization also had to cut short the 2013-14 season.

“It was kind of terrible this last season without curling,” said Russ Weingartz, a club member and former club president. “We curled one night a week down in Mapleton, but it’s not the same. When you don’t have your own ice, you lose a lot of membership, a lot of interest.”

Rheaume said the Band-Aid approach just isn’t sufficient with the ice plant anymore. The facility needs a new ice-making system that costs about $160,000.

Rheaume said club members are tapped out financially, having had to fund the repairs over the last three years. That’s why they’re looking for outside funds to try to keep it going.

“That’s not easy for us to do,” Rheaume said. “It’s a pride thing for us. We’ve been self-sufficient for 112 years, but now we need help.”

The club has approached the city to see if it would be willing to help, but so far, the answer has been no. Rheaume was told the best the city might be able to do is to make it part of the budget, but that could take five to six years and the organization doesn’t have that long.

The club has started a GoFundMe.com web page where it hopes to raise at least $50,000. It’s off to a slow start as the page has raised slightly more than $1,000 over the last five months.

The club recently applied for and has been granted tax-exempt status as a nonprofit organization. The plan now is to try to hit some of the bigger businesses in town to see if they would be willing to make a tax-deductible donation.

“We’ve even gone to other curling clubs to see if they could help us out, but they’re all non-profits, too, so they don’t have any extra money they can give us,” Rheaume said. “We’re brainstorming to see if we can come up with other ideas, too.”

The club has also tried to get some insurance money for the ice plant, but Rheaume says the prospects don’t look good. Mankato curling has also applied for some grants but none have come through.

Rich history

The curling club’s history is a rich one. According to a release on its website, the club has produced state and national champion curlers at both the adult and junior levels.

Its members have competed in Olympic Trials and World Championships and the facility has played host to several national-championship events including the USA Mixed National Championships in 2004, the Olympic Team Trial Challenge Round in 2005 and the USA Club National Championships in 2008, 2011 and 2012.

Those events are all in addition to the casual recreational opportunities the club provides its members throughout the winter months.

“I certainly think it can come back,” Weingartz said, if the necessary purchases and repairs are made. “We have everybody from 5-year-olds to 80-year-olds and people often leave and then come back to it. The biggest thing is we have to guarantee ice, and we haven’t been able to do that the last couple of years.”

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Curling foundation launched in memory of David Murdoch’s father

murdoch

David Murdoch in Great Britain’s Olympic Gold medal match against Canada. Credit: EMPICS Sport/EMPICS Sport

Courtesy ITV News

Former World Champion and Olympic silver medallist David Murdoch is launching a Youth Curling Foundation today in memory of his late father Matt.

The curler, from Lockerbie, says it’s aimed at helping and encouraging more young people to get involved with the sport his family is so passionate about.

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Council approves gymnastics facility in curling centre

Council approves gymnastics facility in curling centre

 Sarah O. Swenson/ courtesy of the Wetaskiwin Times

The Curling and Crafts Centre will be home to a new gymnastics facility.

The Curling and Crafts Centre will be home to a new gymnastics facility.

 Council chambers was packed to the brim for its regular July 20 meeting as members of Wetaskiwin’s curling and gymnastics clubs waited anxiously to see if city council would move forward on a proposal to develop part of the curling rink into a new gymnastics facility.

 

In the end, a narrow and hotly debated 4-3 vote will see the city move forward on the plan to lose four sheets of curling ice in favour of a top-notch gymnastics centre.

The initial proposal came before council during its regular June 29 meeting, during which both clubs pleaded their case: the gymnastics club searching for more space for safety and the ability to host competitions, while the curling club believe less ice would be detrimental to the growth of the sport. With not enough information or time to make a decision, council directed administration to bring back a report for the July meeting, detailing the feasibility of a shared space between the gymnastics and curling club, working in consultation with both clubs’ executives and council.

City director of community services Kevin Lucas presented the report to council, beginning by citing to council that their established strategic plan called for all city departments to look for ways to maximize the use of city facilities, identify cost-saving measures, and any opportunities for increasing revenue streams.

“By allowing the gymnastics club into this facility, the City of Wetaskiwin could potentially see a gain in revenue of over $30,000 in 2016 and a reduction in operating expenses of $10,000,” stated Lucas. “Environmentally, this will also reduce our carbon footprint by reducing the number of sheets of ice.”

Lucas said both groups are looking to grow; the gymnastics club has far outgrown its current facility and the curling club has indicated growth in future membership, but could face a complete collapse should only four sheets be offered.

“For the city, it is not every day we have a community group ready to invest $80,000 into a city facility with the anticipation to be a tenant for the duration of the building,” pointed out Lucas.

“Having heard from both groups, both positives and negatives about the project have been voiced. While most recreation in communities is subsidized by the municipality in varying degrees we must be comfortable that all users groups are being treated fairly.

“It is our opinion that the Curling Club could exist and even grow substantially with a four-sheet surface. We also believe, as evidenced by what is done in other communities, that it is possible to host bonspiels on four sheets, although admittedly the draws would have to start earlier and end later.”

Mayor Bill Elliot expressed concern that, should council approve the facility for gymnastics, only three months until the start of the curling season would be unfair to the curling club to reorganize its affairs.

“I don’t think we would do it to minor hockey, the ball players, or figure skaters,” said Elliot. “It’s too late in the year to make this decision and we need to give the curling association a chance to come up with a strategic plan … I think to kick somebody out three months before their season and not give fair warning — I just find that difficult.”

Coun. Patricia MacQuarrie argued that the characterization of kicking someone out of their house was unfair.

“What we’re looking at is providing space for two user groups in the community to have the ability to grow,” she explained. “When we talk about maximizing our facility space, I see this as a step forward in providing facilities to more users in our community.”

Coun. June Boyda pointed out that both city and curling club documents seem to state the curling club would still be feasible with a loss of four sheets, though it may have to heavily modify how it operates.

“I think three months is enough time to rearrange schedules to modify to fit into just four sheets,” said Boyda, adding the club’s anticipated growth might put them at near capacity on four sheets. “To me, we’re wasting city space and taxpayer dollars to fund a group that could fit on four sheets of ice, so I think this move would be of benefit to both groups.”

Coun. Joe Branco frankly stated no matter what decision came out of the vote, council “is screwed.”

“I’m along the same lines as Coun. Boyda,” added Coun. Wayne Neilson. He noted the curling club’s schedule highlighted 22 hours set aside for school curling per week, totalling about 400 hours per season, although the report only shows between 50-70 hours of school time.

“If that information is correct, it’s just sitting there when it could be booked up by schools, sitting there idle,” said Neilson. “I would be in favour of trying to maximize the use of the building and giving both groups a chance to grow their sports.”

Elliot noted the city subsidizes many recreation programs.

“My thought is if we close something down, we’ll never get it back and that’s my biggest worry,” he added. “If we are trying to grow our community… yes we have all these young people in gymnastics, there are 600 of you, but at the same time, curling has been an institution in Wetaskiwin as well.

“To create an ‘us versus them’ or ‘curling versus gymnastics’ was never the intent of what council is trying to do. No matter what we do, half the people in this room won’t be happy with us.”

Council accepted the presentation from Lucas as information and MacQuarrie followed that with a motion to direct administration to remove four sheets of ice from the Wetaskiwin Curling Rink to accommodate the Wetaskiwin Gymnastics Club, who will renovate the Southeast portion of the rink for the Gymnastics Club’s use, to be done at the Gymnastic Club’s expense, and for administration to work together with both user groups to enter into agreements for this purpose.

The motion passed 4-3, with Councillors MacQuarrie, Branco, Boyda, and Wayne Neilson voting in favour. Mayor Elliot, Councillors Tyler Gandam and Bert Horvey voted against.

— sarah.swenson@sunmedia.ca

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Liverpool Curling Club may be forced to shut its doors

Courtesy of Nova News Now>

Barb McKennaPublished on July 21, 2015

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Without it, he says, he is not optimistic.

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

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Curling Canada to get rid of pre-qualifying round in 2018

Courtesy of the Winnipeg Free Press

 

Canadian curling championships’ experiment with a pre-qualifying round will be short-lived, as Curling Canada announced it will ditch the format after this Olympic quad is done.

The changes, announced on Monday, mean that starting in 2018, Scotties and Brier teams from lower-ranked jurisdictions will no longer have to compete in a pre-tournament battle to make the main draw. That format was introduced only this year at the Scotties, which saw Northern Ontario’s Tracy Horgan move on over the Northwest Territories’s Kerry Galusha and Yukon’s Sarah Koltun; and at the Brier, where Prince Edward Island’s Adam Casey moved past rinks from Nova Scotia and Yukon.

The format was introduced to accommodate expanding to include teams from Northern Ontario for women and Team Canada for men, but it was widely panned by players. At the Scotties, players who competed in the pre-qualifying round expressed frustration at travelling to the tournament only to risk elimination before it had truly begun; and some players from teams already on the main draw asserted they thought the tournament could absorb an expanded draw, or apply other qualifying metrics to prevent the awkward added competition.

In response, Canada Curling agreed to eliminate the format at its annual general meeting, which ended last Friday in Collingwood, Ont. The pre-qualifying round will be retained for 2016 and 2017 “to remain consistent during the Olympic quadrennial,” Curling Canada said in a statement, but will be ditched after the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. The new format, which will be fine-tuned in the coming years, will feature champions from all 14 member associations, with a potential of adding other teams.

The national curling association also announced it would eliminate age restrictions on all Brier and Scotties playdowns, to bring curling in line with World Curling Federation and Olympic rules.

Finally, Curling Canada also unveiled a new residency policy. The new policy allows teams to have just one non-resident outside of the jurisdiction they are representing, while the other three players will be subject to stricter proof-of-residency rules. This change too comes after years of rumblings from within the curling community.

“We’re ready to do our part for the integrity of the game,” Mike McEwen said in a statement. “We understand the thought process that went into this decision, and we know it wasn’t an easy decision, but we believe it was the right one and we will do what we can to help Curling Canada and the Member Associations make it work.”

Finally, longtime Winnipeg curling leader Resby Coutts was elected to the Curling Canada board on a four-year term. Curling Canada also announced that Saskatchewan earned the MA Cup, awarded to the member association with the best average finish at each of eight national championships, while Quebec won the Governor’s Cup for best total improvement from the previous season.

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Regina curling clubs get 2-year tax break from city

Curling clubs sought 5-year exemption

courtesy CBC Regina

Two Regina curling clubs have been given a two-year break on the municipal portion of their property taxes.

The value of the exemption, which was passed by city council Monday night, was pegged at $27,306 per year and breaks down (per year) to $16,608 for the Tartan club and $10,698 for the Highland.

The Tartan and Highland clubs were seeking a five-year exemption on their full property taxes (municipal, education and library), noting they are non-profit organizations that have seen increases on their assessments.

The partial tax break, for a shorter period of time, was somewhat of a disappointment to some in the curling community.

“I guess it’s bittersweet,” Derek Boes, president of the Highland club, said after the meeting. “It looked like we were going to get the full exemption for the two years and we were pretty close to the finish line on that and we were just getting ready to get get up and clap and then the amendment came on and there was a little bit of a takeaway at the end where we lost a little bit. So maybe a little bit bitter, but so at least now we know and we can move forward.”

According to materials presented to council, the Highland’s property tax bill was about $11,000 in 2012, and is just under $19,000 for 2015 ($10,698 for the municipal portion, $7,177 for education and $1,079 for the library).

The Tartan Curling Club has seen its tax bill go to $30,000 from $10,000 in just three years. In a presentation to council, the club said it has been running a deficit and was asking for a five-year tax break on its curling rink at 1464 Broadway Avenue.

Prior to the Monday night meeting of council, city officials were recommending no tax break.

Tartan Curling Club

The Tartan Curling Club says it’s running a deficit and recent property tax increases could sink the not-for-profit organization. (Nichole Huck/CBC)

“We were struggling financially when our annual property tax was $10,000,” a letter from the Tartan to the city said. “The recent increase to $30,000 might just guarantee our demise.”

Alan Bratt is general manager at the Tartan.

“We want to stay part of the community. We don’t want to disappear,” Bratt said Monday prior to the council meeting. “I plan to keep this place going, but it would be a hell of a lot easier if I didn’t have that extra burden that is unfair.”

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WARREN HANSEN’S LEGACY

Curling Canada is going through quite the change this year with both Greg Stremlaw (CEO) and Warren Hansen ( 42 year employee and events manager) leaving – the former to seek new challenges and the latter to retire.

Folks involved in curling events have plenty of stories about Hansen both positive and negative. Locally here in Ottawa volunteers involved in the 2001 Nokia Brier blame him for causing that Brier to be one of the few in history that lost money. Ottawa curlers had nothing to show for all their efforts.

As a first time Brier volunteer at that time I was in charge of the media bench and helped with the marketing of the event. Full disclosure: I questioned some of the marketing strategies Hansen and his full time marketing people came up with with regards to purchasing television time to advertise the event.

I also saw first hand how the head honcho of the event could at times ride rough shod over his staff ensuring they were supposed to be where they were needed at all times.

In the grand scheme of things however one thing was apparent. Hansen knew what had to be done to make sure the event worked and made money. Indeed the Brier was (and is in many ways) the cash cow for the then CCA. Over and above that he oversaw the collection of sponsorship money that made Canadian curling one of this country’s models to sports governing bodies.

As times change Hansen also was not blind to the fact that Curling Canada’s events suffered from attendance drop offs that were more a sign of the times than poor products.

How his colleagues handle the entire relegation question will determine how goes the event business and the money they generate.

Hansen has already signalled that smaller venues are the way to go and the imminent announcement of the Brier travelling to St. John’s, Newfoundland, will seal that direction.

His hand was also felt in last week’s announcement that mixed doubles will become a medal sport in Korea. He worked that format into the Continental Cup from the beginning because he understood what the folks who run the Olympics were looking for with regards to new sports. Like the format or not it is a medal nevertheless.

From the stand point of a lowly volunteer to someone who has had accreditation to events he ran, Hansen always had time for me and even laughed at my jokes!

 

 

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Olympic nod will boost mixed doubles curling’s profile, officials say

Courtesy of the Toronto Star

Amid grumbling that the format isn’t legit, Canadian executives are thrilled that the two-a-side game will be played at the 2018 Winter Games.

 

Mixed doubles curling is a faster-paced game but essentially the same as traditional curling, just sped up, condensed and better suited to attract fans unfamiliar with the sport.

MICHAEL BURNS / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO

Mixed doubles curling is a faster-paced game but essentially the same as traditional curling, just sped up, condensed and better suited to attract fans unfamiliar with the sport.

On Monday, the International Olympic Committee announced mixed doubles curlingwould join the schedule for the 2018 Winter Games, and the new event figured to boost Canada’s medal count.

After all, of the 10 total gold medals awarded in men’s and women’s curling since 1998,five have gone to Canadian rinks. Putting men and women on the same team would only strengthen Canada’s stranglehold on the event.

Right?

Not quite.

Curling experts emphasize that mixed doubles is a related but distinct event, with different rules, lineups and strategies than traditional curling. And while top curlers dabble in mixed doubles, Olympic champs such as Brad Jacobs and Kaitlyn Lawes rarely play it. The world championship in mixed doubles curling has been contested eight times and Canada has medalled just once, beaten out by curling minnows such as Hungary, Spain and New Zealand.

Curling Canada communications director Allen Cameron says that because the sport is new and evolving, it’s difficult to handicap and easy for the IOC to embrace.

“It touches nations that are non-traditional and that was an appeal to the IOC,” Cameron said.

The mixed doubles format was born in 2002 as a TV-friendly element of curling’s Continental Cup. Instead of using four players of the same sex, teams use one man and one woman, and the person throwing the stone also has to help sweep.

While traditional curling matches span 10 ends, mixed doubles teams play eight. And instead of eight stones per end, each team throws five. Two more rocks are put in place at the beginning of each end, ensuring more scoring. Curlers can’t knock a competitor’s rocks from the circle until at least three rocks have been thrown.

“There are a ton of rocks in play,” says Paul Webster, a national coach with Curling Canada. “A lot of big ends. It lends itself to a lot of scoring.”

The result, Cameron says, is a faster-paced game that is to traditional curling what Rugby Sevens is to Rugby Union — the same sport, just sped up and condensed and better suited to attract fans unfamiliar with the sport. While four-a-side curling contests last more than two hours, most mixed-doubles matches wrap up within 90 minutes.

But for some die-hard curling fans, mixed doubles isn’t an exciting complement to the four-a-side game.

It’s a sideshow.

“Mixed Doubles Curling is the equivalent of putting a home run derby in the Olympics,” posted Twitter user @matthew_bremner.

Webster and Cameron both acknowledge traditionalists won’t adopt the mixed doubles game quickly as the IOC has, but they say inclusion in the Olympics will help mixed doubles curling win legitimacy among fans and players. At the mass participation level, they say traditional curling still dominates mixed doubles, and among elite players the four-a-side game still takes precedent.

Toronto Curling Association president Hugh Murphy estimates that among the roughly 15,000 players registered in its member clubs, about 400 play mixed doubles. He says clubs haven’t emphasized the two-a-side game, because traditional curling allows them to accommodate more players at once.

“I wouldn’t say it isn’t popular, but it isn’t as exposed,” Murphy said. “But it’s also on the rise.”

Murphy says mixed doubles leagues and bonspiels are increasingly common locally. And observers agree the prospect of an Olympic medal will inspire top players from traditional curling to attempt the transition to mixed-doubles.

“I’m optimistic our top players are going to embrace this because of the Olympic angle,” Cameron said. “Once people see it in PyeongChang (South , it’s going to take off.”

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CURLING IS MORE EXCITING THAN SOCCER

courtesy The Sports Blog

Curling is more exciting than soccer!

image description

Curling is more exciting than soccer! Yeah I said it, curling where people push stones on ice is more interesting and fun to watch than soccer is to me. Now of course curling is probably the 2nd most boring sport there is but it is better than soccer.

I will say soccer is excellent exercise for young people and that is its only redeeming factor. I know soccer is a very popular sport especially in foreign countries but to me it’s very boring. I never understood how people could get so mad that they would kill each other over soccer in riots.

 

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HANSON LEAVING CURLING CANADA

Hansen leaving Curling Canada
A man who devoted his career to building the sport of curling in Canada and around the world will be leaving Curling Canada after 42 years, Curling Canada announced today.Warren Hansen will vacate his role as Director of Event Operations, with his contract set to expire later this year.

“Warren’s impact on the game of curling can’t be overstated,” said Hugh Avery, Vice Chair of Curling Canada’s Board of Governors. “He took our sport to levels that were never thought possible when he first got involved in the 1970s, and the success of our events, and their significant place on the Canadian sports landscape is in no small part a result of his tireless efforts. With preparations already underway for the 2015-16 Season of Champions events, it was time to start the process of finding a successor to Warren, and that process will get underway extremely quickly.”

Hansen, a competitive player himself who won the 1974 Macdonald Brier throwing second rocks for Edmonton’s Hec Gervais, had numerous roles over the years with Curling Canada, including in the areas of coaching, officiating and technical development. He was also active in putting together clinics around the world to get new curlers involved in the sport outside of Canada.

That, in turn, would help bring more countries into the curling fold with a long-term ambition of adding curling as a medal sport to the Winter Olympics — a dream Hansen and others would finally see come true in 1998 at Nagano, Japan.

But it was his constant desire to build Canada’s national men’s and women’s curling championships — the Tim Hortons Brier and Scotties Tournament of Hearts — into major sports and entertainment properties that not only determined national champions but also provided ticket-buyers with a show, on and off the ice, for which he may be most remembered. Additionally, he fought to modernize the image of the game to bring it in line with other Olympic sports, putting the emphasis on athleticism.

“I worked with some amazing people on these events over the years, and I share a lifetime of wonderful memories with them thanks to their tireless efforts,” said Hansen. “The sport of curling has provided me with experiences that I will cherish forever. The people — the fans, the curlers, the event staff — are what made it special.”

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For further information:

Al Cameron
Director, Communication & Media Relations
Curling Canada
Tel: 403-463-5500
acameron@curling.ca

5,669 total views, 4 views today

Regina curling clubs want tax exemption

BY NATASCIA LYPNY, REGINA LEADER-POST

REGINA — Two Regina curling clubs are on thin ice with their finances, and they’re not getting the help they’d like from the City of Regina.

On Tuesday, the city’s finance and administration committee voted to deny tax exemptions for the Tartan Curling Club Co-operative and the Highland Curling Club.

The not-for-profit clubs say they are at a disadvantage with other curling and sporting organizations across the province that operate out of municipal buildings, and therefore are often exempt from property tax.

Both clubs faced skyrocketed tax assessments. The Tartan’s assessment jumped to $1.34 million in 2015 from $312,000 in 2012. That means, through a phased-in tax increase, the club will pay $29,400 in taxes this year — nearly triple what it paid in 2012.

The Highland saw its assessment leap to almost $867,000 from $345,000 in the same time period, with its property taxes increasing to nearly $19,000 from $11,300.

“I think the big thing is to be fair,” said Tartan treasurer Ken Dishaw. “We’re in trouble financially.”

City administration recommended denying the clubs’ request because there isn’t a policy for providing tax exemptions or reduced taxes to not-for-profit organizations or recreational groups.

But that’s the case for the Caledonian Curling Club. The organization signed a 99-year lease agreement with the city in 1978, under which it would receive tax-exempt land in return for financing the construction, operation and maintenance of a facility there. The city was also provided use of the building as a clubhouse for the Craig Golf Course from May to October.

“At the time, this would have been a win-win arrangement,” said Don Barr, the city’s director of assessment, tax and real estate.

Despite the golf course shutting down, the arrangement stands. Barr said a re-evaluation of the lease would require both parties to agree on new terms.

“It is what it is,” said Dishaw of Caledonian’s agreement, making it clear he doesn’t want that club to lose its tax exemption.

“They signed that lease, but the net result is we have to add $30,000 to our membership fees, and we’re in competition with the Callie (club) for members.”

Both clubs are now in the red: The Tartan suffered a $74,700 deficit in the 2014 fiscal year; the Highland, $16,750.

“We’re running losses right now, and if we don’t turn that around, we’ll have to close down,” said Dishaw.

Travis Netterfield, general manager of Highland, said the club can’t compensate for the increased taxes through membership fees alone — although they have been hiked at both clubs — for fear of scaring curlers away.

Capital improvements at both buildings have been put off and programming might suffer, the groups say. The clubs have also been trying to book out their spaces during the off-season.

Instead of tax exemptions, the city encourages not-for-profits to apply for community grants. Curl Regina Inc. received a $10,000 general grant and $6,000 for specific programs from the city this year, which is shared among clubs. Netterfield, though, said it’s not enough.

Coun. Barbara Young, a finance committee member, agreed.

“I think grants might be helpful, but I don’t think we have enough money in the grant pot to give all of these community organizations that do great work in the community,” she said.

On Tuesday, Young proposed providing a tax exemption to the clubs for one to three years, until they can balance their budgets.

“I don’t want to see local curling clubs go under,” she said. “I don’t want to see seniors’ and children’s programs have to disappear in curling.”

The requests are going before city council on June 22, where Netterfield and Dishaw hope they’ll have another shot to make their arguments.

nlypny@leaderpost.com

 

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Charlotte Curling Association member selected to national team

courtesy of the Charlotte Observer

note: Jamie is from Manotick and holds dual US and Canadian citizenship.

3,382 total views, 5 views today

Court ordered to reconsider man’s claim against curling club

courtesy of Grand Forks Herald

 

A district judge erred in dismissing a man’s claim his membership to the Grand Forks Curling Club was improperly terminated.

In a ruling released today, the North Dakota Supreme Court said membership requirements under state law do not apply to a member’s individual action against a nonprofit corporation.

Justices reversed a Grand Forks District Court decision against C.T. Marhula and remanded the case for findings of merit of his claim against the club.

In 2012, the Grand Forks Curling Club expelled Marhula, who filed a lawsuit the following year and claimed his membership had been improperly terminated following disagreements he had with the club’s board over where to rebuild and relocate the its building, according to court documents.

The club asserted Marhula, who joined the club in the mid-1990s, didn’t meet statutory requirements to properly challenge the termination.

District Court Judge Jon Jensen sided with the club, prompting an appeal by Marhula to the Supreme Court, which heard arguments in March.

During oral arguments, Marhula’s attorney, David Thompson, said Marhula did not receive a “fair and reasonable” procedure for termination, which includes giving prior written notice of his expulsion.

The club’s attorney, Theodore Sandberg, argued the club followed its bylaws and did give a fair and reasonable procedure to the best of its ability, and that Marhula didn’t follow the proper guidelines for appealing termination.

2,651 total views, 5 views today

OCA IMPROVEMENTS

by Joe Pavia

The Ontario Curling Association’s annual tour of the zones landed at the RCMP Tuesday evening and what a refreshing change it was from previous zone meetings under the previous regime.

Executive Director Steve Chenier and Vice President John Shea lead the meeting.

Yes the usual ice allocation was accomplished first so that the way too many events could be accommodated.

But then the changes started – all for the better.

1. The new Curling Club Symposium was outlined. This weekend educational but also fun event will run October 30 to Nov.1 in Kitchener. The aim is to give clubs tools to run their business better. AND the OCA is PAYING FOR 2 DELEGATES FROM OCA clubs to attend – mileage allowance, accommodation, meals and the symposium!

2. Chenier outlined a new Hydro Project that hopefully will cut down on club’s power bills. The gist of it is:

  • Getting a grant from the Ontario Power Authority so that clubs can borrow this money from the OCA to install new ice making equipment (The Force and the Ice Mistress) that will results in a quick payback to the clubs. The cost will be $5,000 on average.
  • The OCA is working on a bulk energy buy from Blackstone Energy who supply Ontario hospitals with power at lower rates. The institutions have reduced their power costs by 12%.

3. Bylaw Template: The OCA is working with a lawyer who is working on creating a template for clubs so the creation of their bylaws will be not so expensive. Instead of costing thousands for  a lawyer to do this the cost will be between $300 to $500.

4. Health and Safety: The OCA gave each club a memory stick that contains 600 health and safety related documents that are all printable. It also includes info on board insurance.

5. New database: The OCA has received a student grant so the Association can hire someone to create a proper data base to make website tasks more automated and allow for better sharing of information.

6. Competition review: A committee chaired by Ian Tetley has been formed to get stakeholders views on current OCA competitions. They are soliciting your  views and wants them before their next meeting on May 30.

7. Payment for ice use. The OCA wants to pay clubs for using their ice but needs to rationalize their competitions and perhaps raise more revenue in order to do that. They have to reduce their costs. For instance their single largest expense is $100,000 annually for hotel rooms for curlers at various provincials. They also pay Sportsnet and Rogers a total of $40,000 a year to televise the Tankard and Scotties provincials.  The OCA will be working with these event host committees to share some the event revenue and share costs.

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CEO DEPARTING CURLING CANADA

For Immediate Release
May 19, 2015
CEO departing Curling Canada
Greg Stremlaw, Curling Canada’s Chief Executive Officer, is departing the organization to pursue other executive opportunities in sport, he announced today.

Stremlaw, who joined Curling Canada in 2007, will assist in a smooth transition to his replacement, assuring a seamless changeover with a work plan and transfer of knowledge of the organization.

He leaves Curling Canada in the best condition in its history, with this country ranked first in the world in men’s, women’s and wheelchair curling for the second straight season, along with a healthy financial picture.

“This is simply the right time to move on,” said Stremlaw. “We have accomplished everything that we set out to do at Curling Canada. The organization is now in a maintenance phase of the operation rather than rebuilding, so it’s a very good time to see a new operational leader best suited for that role.”

“Today’s news is a big loss for Curling Canada,” noted Canadian Olympic Committee president Marcel Aubut. “Greg has enabled the outstanding results this organization has achieved. He is pure and simple, a major difference-maker with best-in-class in his fibre. Not only is he a leader in curling, but he was also a leader in sport at large. He brought the culture of business and athletic excellence to the leadership positions he held, notably as co-chair of the Winter Sport Caucus. He is one of my go-to-people for leadership and I intend to ensure the Canadian Olympic Committee continues to be partnered with him going forward in one way or another as he is a significant asset to what we do in many different ways.”

Stremlaw’s eight years with Curling Canada produced some unprecedented achievements for the organization. Among them:

•   Turning the organization around financially from a seven-figure deficit in 2007 to its current multimillion-dollar surplus and long-term financial reserve.
•   Leading negotiations to secure the sports long-term television stability with both TSN as well as RDS, producing more than 300 hours of live television annually through to 2020.
•    Responsible for the oversight of a currently sold-out sponsorship portfolio for Curling Canada’s Season of Champions events, including long-term partnerships with Tim Hortons, Ford, Kruger Products, Bell, World Financial Group, Home Hardware, New Holland,  DuPont Pioneer and Travelers Insurance.
•    Oversaw an historic performance at the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi that saw Canadian teams sweep the men’s, women’s and wheelchair gold medals — a feat never before accomplished, resulting in Canada finishing the 2013-14 season ranked first internationally in all three disciplines; our country maintained those rankings this past season.
•    Developed a comprehensive business plan and organizational strategy that led to the creation of the sport’s first national philanthropic program, For The Love Of Curling, and also led to the organization’s first major rebrand and systematic brand architecture launched this past March.
•    Posting best-in-class scores in Canada’s National Sport Organization (NSO) audit conducted by Deloitte (an independent third party) as part of the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Enhancement Initiative for national sport organizations. Curling Canada scored the highest possible score in 26 of the 31 process areas — the highest reported overall score among the country’s NSOs.

“Greg is one of the best sport leaders in Canada,” said Anne Merklinger, Chief Executive Officer of Own The Podium. “His achievements at Curling Canada are nothing short of remarkable. His vision, hard work and success are evident to every sport organization in the country. On behalf of Own the Podium, I wish Greg the greatest success in his next senior executive role in sport.”

“Curling Canada has been so fortunate to have had Greg help guide us for the past eight years,” added Marilyn Neily, Chair of Curling Canada’s Board of Governors. “He has done a remarkable job for us, being recognized for best practices in sport and business, as well as being seen as a best-in-class organization. Curling Canada has a huge gap to fill. We wish him great success in everything he does as he will be unbelievably missed.”

The process to determine Stremlaw’s successor, including the naming of a search committee or third-party firm, has yet to be determined and will be announced as soon as possible.

“It has been an absolute privilege to work so closely with Greg over the past eight years,” said TSN president Stewart Johnston. “TSN and Curling Canada are exceptional partners, due in large part to his significant personal involvement, open communication and his passion to drive progress for curling on TV. Greg’s dedication and efforts have clearly elevated Curling Canada’s marquee events.  TSN’s recent record ratings and innovative multi-sheet coverage are a testament to Greg’s leadership within the sport.  I can’t wait to learn of his pending opportunities and look forward to continuing our strong relationship.”

“It has been an absolute honour to be involved in one of the most iconic and significant sports in Canada,” said Stremlaw. “In 2007, I was hired to help turn the organization around, make it fiscally responsible, sustainable and the class of national sports organizations by running it like a business. I believe we have been able to achieve those very lofty goals with the efforts of our amazing staff, Board of Governors and the support of curling fans across the country, and I could not be more proud of the collective efforts to get Curling Canada to the stage it is at today.”

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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.


joe@hoglinecurling.com

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.