Joe’s Blog


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Plenty of curlers question curling associations, – Curling Canada, the Ontario Curling Association, even the Ottawa Valley Curling Association. Below is the OVCA’s spring newsletter with a host of accomplishments listed. ​


The following are examples of some of the work that has been done on your behalf by the OVCA.

Prior to 2007 – $1,272,000 in loans to clubs for infrastructure improvements and $383,000 from 2007 – 2015.
$120,000 Purchasing smaller rocks for youth programs
$12,000  Junior Superspiel support since 2008
$19,400 Youth programs and travel support  since 2008
$14,500  Adult team recognition (travel grants) since 2008
$1,350  Coaching clinics since 2013
$5,000  Adult Learn to Curl grants to clubs 2014-15

Organizing or obtaining events such as:
The Alexander Keiths Mens
The OVCA Mixed
Brokerlink/OVCA Junior Superspiel
The Royal Lepage Fall Classic in North Grenville – a World Curling Tour Event
Annual Golf tournament
Several Briers including 2016
The Roar of the Rings 2017

Other activities
Business of Curling seminars
Sponsorship funding for clubs hosting provincial and national competitions
Representation at the Governor General’s Winter Celebration
School Curling programs
Colts League support
Presenting OVCA club interests at the Ontario Curling Association
Recognition of volunteers through the Ken Thain Award program
Website support for member clubs
Providing recognition to OVCA teams attending Provincials and Nationals (see photos on our website).


The above achievements are accomplished with the help of volunteers. Be a part of the support the OVCA gives to local curling  – be a volunteer. We have several openings on the Board and on the committees that organize these events. We need you! Please

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by Joe Pavia

Mike McLean did it the hard way.

His Ottawa foursome fought back through a tiebreaker to win the Broker Link Ontario Mixed title in Gananoque on Sunday.

“We started out at 1 and 3.” said the skip. “But we felt we played well. We just kept going and if we win that’s great and if we don’t we’ll have fun.” At that point they were one loss away from last place. They ended up winning six in a row.

McLean, his third Brit O’Neill and Karen Sagle lost the final last year as a team. The new addition was Andrew Denny at second this year.

When the round robin was completed they were tied with Ontario Brier skip, Mark Kean, at 4-3. They defeated Kean 7-4 on Saturday evening. Sunday morning brought the semi-final versus Brampton’s Kevin Lagerquist who had finished the round robin at 5-2. The key was a fifth end three McLean took to run Lagerquist out of rocks with a score of 6-4.

Belleville’s Dave Collyer who lead the RR and finished 6-1 had previously beaten McLean. The low scoring final saw the Ottawa rink steal singles in two ends. Collyer threatened in the final end where he was laying two without hammer. “I threw a double for the win but rolled out.” said McLean. The final ended 4-3 win. The Ottawa rink advances to the Canadian Mixed next November in Toronto.

In Junior Mixed the Michaud brothers – Pascal and Decebal – from Carp went 7-0 to win the province. They played out of Acton.

CITY VIEW BUILDS: The City View Curling Club is celebrating the ground breaking for their new club on Wednesday May 13. The 3 p.m. ceremony marks the beginning of construction for the expected opening in January 2016.

MIXED MESSAGE: The World Mixed Doubles begins on April 18 in Sochi, Russia. The International Olympic Committee is considering the discipline’s inclusion in the Olympic programme of the 2018 PyeongChang games. A decision is expected later this year.

END NOTES: The Kanata Theatre is presenting the comedy The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon by W.O. Mitchell May 12 -16 and 19-23. If you need a spring curling fix check it out at The Hogline Curlers Proshop Little Rocks championship is this Sunday at the RCMP. This is the season’s last column. This city will be hot for curling next season. Rest up and prepare to welcome the world to Ottawa in 2015-2016.


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Here are the team competing in the BrokerLink Mixed provincials.





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by Joe Pavia

This area had plenty of good teams playing this past week.

In Whitehorse the Rideau Masters women’s team ended up at as the number one seed with their 7-2 record. They advanced to the semi against Alberta and won 7-4. They faced BC in the final (they defeated the BC foursome 10-4 in the round robin) but had to settle for the silver medal by a 4-3 score. The team was Diana Favel, Sheila Rogers, Edna Legault and Sue Kollar.

Meanwhile in Edmonton the Huntley team of Kayla MacMillan, Sarah Daviau, Lindsay Dubue, Marcia Richardson and Coach Jill Rivington won the gold medal by rattling off seven straight wins at the Optimist U18 International Curling championship. They defeated the other undefeated squad Alberta in the final. The Ontario men who were coached by Richard Hart lost to Manitoba who was coached by Cathy Overton-Clapham. Both coaches had sons playing.

A rink from Kars on the Rideau School captured the provincial banner in Gananoque for the 2015 TimBits Elementary School Championship. The winning team was Adrienne Belliveau, Julia Brennan, Jordan McNamara and Lucas Houle. The coaches were Michelle Belliveau and Angela Houle. The rink they defeated in the final was from the same school. They went 6-0 in the 64-team field.

OTTAWA BRIER: The volunteer call went out just 10 days ago and already 80% of the 600 volunteer positions are filled. Bar service positions in the Patch are still open.

END NOTES: Late news from the Everest Canadian Seniors. The Ontario player Mike Johansen was the First All-Star Team second. His teammates Brian Lewis and Jeff McCrady were second team All-Star Skip and Third respectively. The Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling, the Players Championship, began yesterday. The top twelve men and women’s teams in the world will be competing in Toronto. The Swedish team of Margaretha Sigfridsson will have a familiar spare – Alison Kreviazuk. The team faces Rachel Homan in their first game. Sportsnet’s coverage begins on Thursday morning at 9 with the women’s final Sunday at 2 and the men’s later that day at 7.

timbits winners


The TimBits winners.


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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



Mike McEwenMike McEwen reacts after his final rock came to rest during the Safeway Championship provincial men’s curling event at Keystone Centre in Brandon, Man., on Sun., Feb. 8, 2015. (Kevin King/QMI Agency)


He won’t have to worry about getting out of Manitoba anymore.

Mike McEwen is moving to Iqaluit in the spring.

“I am tired of it.” said the stellar skip. “Every time I turn around someone reminds me of my provincial jinx and not representing Manitoba at the Brier.” He went on to say, “If he had a nickel for every time someone told me that I wouldn’t need the $153,000 I won this season.”

Because he works for Hardline Curling, it is easy for him to move. Most of his work is done via email and telephone. Wife Dawn, who is a federal government employee, secured an inter-departmental transfer to the territorial capital.

McEwen plans to join the curling club and see who might be available to curl with and get to the Ottawa Brier. “I know Nunavut is relegated but at least I will sort of be at the Brier. And I won’t have to see Stoughton’s rear end.”

McEwen vice B.J. Neufeld remarked, “It certainly was a shock when he sent me the text telling me he was moving. He even included a happy face. With Mead back in the province I can move to skip and maybe win more money.”

Other players on the tour were shocked at the news. Ottawa’s Lee Merklinger who played at the same event in March as Team McEwen says she knew something was up. “Mike’s team took my team to dinner and paid for everything. He gave me plenty of wine then asked me all sorts of questions about Iqaluit. I told him he might have me mixed up with Lynn Kreviazuk who is from Ottawa as well but coached up there. Maybe Mike had too much wine.”

The 2015 Manitoba Brier skip, Reid Carruthers, felt it was a good move for Mike. “It’s a lot colder in Winnipeg than it is in Iqaluit.”

Loof Lirpa, who reads backward and manages the Iqaluit facility said, “There is a club rule that new curlers have to play lead for a season. He better know that coming in.”

The Gold Trail money leader says he is looking forward to the move. “I just want my Brier experience.”

After what happened with Team Howard this week, is anyone else planning a move?


The wrap up of the new Ottawa Youth Curling League happened on Sunday at the RCMP facility. Both Craig Savill and Lee Merklinger were there to present the trophies for the respective winners. The Savill division winning team was Jessica Thorne, Thalia Hartwig, Jade Merkley and Cloe Bourguignon. The Merklinger division-winning rink was from Buckingham and was Jeremy Langevin, Cedrik Labonte, Olivier Pelletier and Olivier Bourgault.

If you want league information for next season contact Marc Bourguignon at 613-297-9680 or


Buckingham’s Ted Butler and Don Westphal were First Team All-Stars as skip and third respectively at the just ended Everest Canadian Seniors. They were the silver medalists. The team of Mat Camm, Jason Camm, Gary Findlay and Marc Beaulne won the Cumberland Deep Sea spiel.


The Optimist U18 International Curling Championships begins today in Edmonton. Representing Ontario is Team MacMillan from Huntley. The Ontario Curling Association launched its new website Monday. Check it out. People wishing to sign up as an Ottawa Brier volunteer can now do so.

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Alexander Yang is a relatively new curlers who decided he would build a curling sheet in his garage including making his own rocks.


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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



They hope to master the Masters.

Skip Diana Favel, along with her team of Sheila Rogers, Edna Legault and Sue Kollar, are headed for the Canadian Masters Curling Championship March 30 in Whitehorse, YT.

Favel has been to five national championships (three times at the Masters, with a 2013 title as third) but says, “For my team it is brand new going to a Canadian. I am excited for them.”

There are 12 women’s teams divided into two pools of six. After a round robin, the top four teams emerge and play a round robin versus the four teams from the opposite pool. The four rinks advance to the championship Easter weekend.

Despite earning one gold and two silver medals, Favel expects tough competition especially from Saskatchewan’s two-time winner Merle Kopach, who has defeated Favel twice.

The rink is well prepared to meet the challenge.

“We have been playing people our own age all season,” Favel said.

They compete in the Rideau’s competitive daytime league, one of the best in the city. Between the four, they play at four curling clubs.

“Between the curling games that we all do and then practising, Jerry Ciasnocha, our coach, has spent a lot of time with us,” Favel said. “We all maintain our physical fitness programs. I do aqua fit and Sue does running and Edna and Sheila go to the gym.”

If they play well, the women — ranging in age from 61 to 65 — might be acting like kids come Easter Sunday’s gold medal game.


The Mark Kean Brier second, David Mathers, is leaving his team after the Adam Casey rink from P.E.I. offered the Ottawa resident the vice position. “I’m really looking forward to this and looking forward to living in the Maritimes,” Mathers told the Sun. He has many relatives on the east coast. Locally, Team Erin Morrissey and lead Jen Ahde added Lynsey Longfield and Erica Hopson to replace teammates that moved.


Team Ian MacAulay captured the championship in the Alexander Keith’s OVCA City of Ottawa Men’s bonspiel Sunday. With MacAulay were Steve Allen, Rick Allen and Barry Conrad. They took Team Brett Lyon-Hatcher to an extra end. Lyon-Hatcher had a clear last shot tap to win but his rock fudged just before the paint and crashed on a guard. The winners left with $7,100 while the runner-up got $3,800. Bruce Delaney took the senior section while Mike Shulz captured the Senators event. Other event winners were: BDO event: Ian MacAulay, Acacia Curling event: Shane Vahey, Conval-Aid event: Al Solari, Tail Gators event: Allan Scott, Alexander Keith’s event: Ian MacAulay, Hogline Proshop event: Tim Brooks, Club EG event: Roger Gossellin, Safeguard event: Matt Bulmer, Brockerlink event: John Race, Goldline event: James Birtwistle. In the senior section event winners were: Tubman event: Bruce Delaney, Armstrong & Richardson event: Roger Bertrand, Club de golf Outaouais event: Jim Klachan. The Senators sections winners were: OVCA event: Mike Shulz, City of Ottawa event: Doug Woods, Best Western event: John Thera.


In BrockerLink mixed regions those provincials bound are: 1A:Dave Collyer, B – Mike McLean. Senior mixed went to: 1A – Bill Adams, B – Paul Madden.


The Ford World Men’s begins this Saturday. Team Canada is Team Canada in the event skipped by Pat Simmons. TSN will televise all Canada’s games daily beginning Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


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


The teams they are a-changing.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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

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

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


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


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

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

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

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

This same event was at the Hunt last year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



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

If you build it, they will come.

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

That’s changing.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


Gatineau’s Lauren Mann loves it.

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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


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

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



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


From the disappointment of 2011 to the joy of 2015.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mathers thinks their friendship is what holds the team together.

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

And what did the team do on Sunday after winning?

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

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


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


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


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

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



Joanne CourtneyJoanne Courtney (QMI Agency)


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

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

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

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

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

“I keep her company,” she said.

Joanne and Mark keep in touch through phone and Skype.

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

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

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

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

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

Does she ever get sick of practicing?

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



Breanne Meakin. (QMI Agency files)


They have a world of experience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



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


Penetanguishene should be called Little Ottawa.

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

Scotties veteran Merklinger likes her rink’s chances.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



glenn Howard

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


“Yeah, brutal.”

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

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

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

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

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

What to do?

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

The Mike McEwen rink is taking their place.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


Team Homan win second straight Scotties_1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As for requests, more Vegas please.

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

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


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

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


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


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


Curling has a language all its own.

The terms take on different meanings during the Christmas season.

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

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

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

Button: What pops after the festive feast.

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

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

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

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

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

Fall: The season you wish you had started shopping.

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

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

Handle: The guy who wrote The Messiah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Port: What tastes great after the big meal.

Raise: What you hope you get after the holidays.

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

Split: What your pants might do after turkey time.

Straight ice: How you take your eggnog.

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

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

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


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

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


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


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dec. 24 column

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


It’s a leisure study that’s serious.

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

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

So what is his study about?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



Rachel Homan

Ontario skip Rachel Homan (Ian MacAlpine, QMI Agency)


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


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

They came for soccer, but fell for curling.

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The funding for this thrust comes from Own the Podium.

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

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

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

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

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

Paquette believes these habits have to be learned.

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

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

BRIER 2016

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter: @chrishofley

Brier attendance through the years

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

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brier presser

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

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

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

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


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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



The Brier in Ottawa?

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


Navy Curling Club isn’t quite ship shape.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

VOTE, VOTE, and VOTE again.

Mark your calendars and reminders.

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

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

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

You can see the OYCL video at

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

Happy voting!

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


sleep poster

This is a fundraiser you can sleep on.

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

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

So how does it work?

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

Plus Bobbleheads are at stake!

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

But why did she pick the sleep concept?

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

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

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

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

Carter hopes this catches on with everyone.

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

Visit for more info.


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


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

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


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

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist



The celebrity curlers keep coming.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling ColumnistBY

burtnyk girls

It’s scary how good they are.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spiel organizer Dany Beaulieu could not be reached before deadline.

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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All in all Ottawa talent shone on the weekend.



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

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

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

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

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

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

The old school will never understand this.

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

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

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

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







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It’s about time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The road to Pyeongchang, South Korea could be expensive.




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


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Photos courtesy of Pascal Ratthe


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No. 5 — Curling is Canada’s game only

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

This would happen during the 2015/16 season.

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

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

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

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

Well here it is.







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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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FALL ROCKS poster 2014


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

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Boat Cruise (Clark)


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

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original-social LEAGUE ovca


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

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15questions Ottawa Youth Curling League

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Joe Pavia – Owner/Operator

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

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

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