The Curling News Blog

Stephen Colbert capitulates, covers broomgate

I'm with Gerry Geurts here!

I’m with Gerry Geurts here!

We at The Curling News are casual fans of Stephen Colbert‘s new late-night U.S. TV talk show. The veteran host recently took over from David Letterman and is finally portraying himself, and it turns out he is, in fact, oddly warped… something we first suspected from his previous right-wing political persona.

So when Colbert broke down and accepted his writing room’s determination to do something on the never-ending saga of #broomgate #brushgate #broomhaha #brushapalooza #doomandbroom misery – no doubt this past week’s New York Times feature was the last straw – we were optimistic that Colbert and his talented team would deliver.

The verdict? Meh.

In our opinion, the stampede to cliché humour was simply too much… typical, in fact, of U.S. attempts dating back to the late 1990s and early 2000s. That’s right, Stephen, your troops brought old-school corn husks to this here modern comedic battlefield.

We did appreciate the effort, however. And we rather enjoyed, in no particular order:

• The rip on everyone, including Canadian media

• Fish Soccer

• The wireless-controlled curling stone (and backstage hand)

• The shoutout to Gerry Geurts (correct spelling). Stephen is with you, Gerry…

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Vol. 59 Issue 1: November 2015


    A full-blown brushing crisis sweeps the curling world WITH DIGITAL EDITION NEWS UPDATES


    Terry Jones says the forced dismissal of a longtime exec is a bad, bad move


    Our subscribers get the most in-depth and accurate curling event viewer listings


    New columnist Greg Roberson witnessed the Black Brush of Death – DIGITAL EDITION EXCLUSIVE


    The Curling News gets the scoop on a new event in Shanghai, China


    Cheryl Bernard conquered a summit nearly 10 years after a previous TCN columnist DIGITAL EDITION LAUNCHES VIDEO/STORY


    New columnist Andrew Denny puts his baseball/statistics prowess to work


    Current rankings plus the 2014-15 season totals – and you won’t believe your eyes


    The IOC decision and Canada’s first cashspiel


    Matt Brouwer in shorts… and a Hawaiian shirt


    New columnist Stephanie LeDrew dissects the revamped residency rules


    Fred Rinne on why will it take three years to repeal the hated format change


    Mark Inglis is tired of telling you that CURLING IS A BUSINESS


    A look inside the amazing facility in Blaine, Minnesota


    International specialist Rodger Schmidt is angry at… nothing

  • And more… subscribe today!


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The Spirit of Curling 2016

Awesome fundraising tool for curling facilities

This thing is awesome!

This thing is awesome!

As today’s Curling Canada news release details, the 2016 edition of The Spirit of Curling wall calendar is now on sale, and two groups will benefit: 1) the next generation of curlers and 2) Canada’s curling centres.

A portion of the proceeds goes to the Curling Canada Foundation — the philanthropic program that benefits young curlers and curling centres across the country.
“We were thrilled with the response last year, because the money played a significant role in continuing to build our sport across Canada,” said Rachael Wilson, Director, Fund Development for Curling Canada. “It’s a beautiful calendar, and it reminds us of why we fell in love with the Roaring Game, and why it’s so important to get young people involved.”
Printed on high-quality glossy stock, the calendar displays images of Canada’s top curling athletes as well as everyday grassroots participants. Specific themes include the unique attraction of outdoor curling, Canada’s success at the world junior championships and even Rocks & Rings, the elementary school curling program.

The Spirit of Curling also contains a full events guide showing Curling Canada’s national championship events and, in fact, additional curling events from around the world. The listings ar colour-coded signifying men’s, women’s, mixed and open events, making this a true curling calendar.

The calendars are now available for purchase at at a cost of $20 each plus taxes, shipping and handling. Orders will start shipping later this month, making it a perfect holiday gift idea.

But that’s not all.
“The Spirit of Curling calendar is also available to curling centres as a fundraising tool,” said Rick Warner, CEO of project partner The Community Fundraiser. “Curling centres get a special price and get to keep a portion of sales for their own use, be it infrastructure costs, junior curling programs or anything else that requires funding.”
The Community Fundraiser and The Curling News have now produced curling-themed wall calendars dating back to 2009, covering the Women of Curling era, the ultra-successful Men of Curling product of 2014 and last year’s Spirit of Curling effort.
[Click on image to increase viewing size]

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2015-16 Season Underway

Hi there! After a lengthy blog vacation, The Curling News is back.

Agree? Or not? See link for all 15!

Agree? Or not? Click the link for all 15!

The traditional winter curling season is underway – in fact it’s already week five or six (depending on interpretation) on the World Curling Tour. As such, we’ve updated our popular Top 15 feature, which you can check out via “TCN TOP 15” on our homepage.

All summer we have kept you abreast of curling news and info (plus memes and mockery) through our extremely popular social media feeds. If you don’t “Like” or “Follow” you are missing out, so be sure to join the fun here on Twitter and here on Facebook.

Advertisers are signing on and subscriptions are pouring in… and that means the first print and digital edition of The Curling News’ 2015-16 season is just around the corner. Be sure to renew or purchase your subscription – or gift subscription – via this page and we suggest you do so quickly, as you don’t want to miss a single issue of our amazing 59th year of publishing.

Nice form, girl!

Nice form, girl!

Yes, it’s remarkable but true… we published our first issue back in 1957. When curling looked like – this!

(Chicago Tribune photo at left, 1957)

One last piece of advice… our most recent issue (April) is still available online, via our homepage, and it is open to all eager eyeballs.

Simply click on the “April DIGITAL ISSUE” promo and presto, you will embark on a voyage of no less than 29 pages (!) revealing hundreds of links to associated videos, photo galleries and webpages.

It’s a digital media playground for curling fans, and only our subscribers get access to all six of these mammoth bonuses each season. So again, we invite you to visit our SUBSCRIBE page.

Stand by folks… The Roaring Game is back, and so is The Curling News!

[Click on images to increase viewing size]

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2015 Worlds: Did Ping-Pong rocks squish Canada?

A three-timage sequence showing the attempted "Squish"

A three-image sequence on the attempted “Squish”

[Click on image sequence to increase viewing size]

Exciting stuff at the world men’s championship in Halifax.

USA, skipped by John Shuster, scored their first winning record (6-5) since Pete Fenson went 8-3 back at Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy, in 2010, but lost in a playoff tiebreaker to colourful Finland. Then, Norway beat Canada for the second time this week, pushing The Pants into Sunday’s final for the second year in a row and dropping Canada down to tonight’s semifinal, where they will lock horns with the winner of Finland versus Sweden.

Earlier this week, guest blogstar Dean Gemmell was in Halifax… and he mentioned something called The Squish.

Here’s another reference to The Squish, and it comes from last night’s NOR vs CAN page playoff tilt. In the 10th end, CAN skip Pat Simmons tried a tricky hit for two that involved “squishing” the first of two red stones in the combo at left (see image sequence) into the back of the rings, for two points and the win. A single point would score only the tie.

As we all know, the shooter stuck for the tying point but that elusive second red point squished through the back of the house and out of play. It wasn’t even close, actually, and Norway went on to score their winning point in the extra end.

Would that elusive “squished” stone have stuck around in the back if Simmons had struck the first stone off centre, and rolled his shooter across (but not out) of the rings?

Here’s another question: Are the rocks these athletes are throwing and sweeping any different than stones from the past – even the near past – and would those old-school curling stones have reacted differently, as per the wishes of Team Canada?

Ask around, and you might find some past legends of the game who might say something between “maybe” and “definitely.”

We recall a lengthy, three-part interview series we published with the legendary Ed Werenich back in 2009 (Feb/Mar/April issues, Vol. 52, Issues 4/5/6). Eddie was lamenting recent differences in curling stone quality, pointing to what he believed are unnatural stone tendencies these days, which includes takeout results… and said The Wrench:

I would like to see them get rid of the magic mushroom rocks that go down the sheet and break four feet from the hogline in. It takes a person that can read ice and then call ice… it takes that stuff right out of the game. It’s just too easy, with the sweeping instruments of today, to flop one around.

We gotta get rid of the inserts and the sandpaper to get back to the way where the rocks curled on a consistent basis all the way down. Because of the rocks it’s too easy to make double, triple peels. The rocks are like ping-pong balls. I see five or six rocks in motion from throwing just one shot. We always used to talk about the quality of the granite.

So there you go. Did these “magic mushroom” or “ping-pong ball” curling stones befuddle Team Canada’s attempt to win the 1 vs 2 playoff game?

[Image sequence from WCTV coverage – click here to watch the video highlight at the 2:05 mark]


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2015 Worlds: Nordic efficiency

Niklas Edin: On a roll

Niklas Edin: On a roll

By Dean Gemmell

HALIFAX – So it was a Canada-free afternoon draw in Halifax. At least on the ice. Considering the fact that Canada had a bye, there was a reasonable crowd. Lots of students of the game in the seats watching the Finns, Czechs, Scots et al. Watching a bit silently, I’m afraid, but intently.

I think the number of teams that record games on video is fewer than those who don’t. I’m not saying this to be pro or con. But I wonder about all those hours of video. Do they end up like so many family camcorder videos, buried on hard drives and left unwatched? It seems to me that it might be helpful if you were simply clicking record at key moments to review later. But even the fastest fast-forward might not be enough to get teams through to the key points of a game they already played. I don’t see the Curling Canada stuff running a camera. Nor Canada’s Bob Ursel, the coach of the Russian men. The the Swiss and the Scots aren’t videographers either (that’s not a particularly scientific survey but it’s what I saw from the bench this game).
[Actually, Scotland always records their matches; one must sometimes look way high up in the rafters to find them! –Ed.]
Sweden and Niklas Edin seem to be getting into a groove and dispatched Japan with Nordic efficiency. I caught up with Edin, his Swedish teammates and coach Freddy Lindberg — alarming when coaches are decades younger than me — for a bit in the Patch last night. Shouting over the band, they told me they were pleased with how things are coming together in their first year together. Reasonable assessment, I would say.
I feel like the whole tournament was on the line for the young Swiss team in their match against Scotland. The Scots and Ewen MacDonald had a couple of chances to win the game in regulation, including a draw to the side of the lid on his last in 10, but couldn’t close the deal until Pfister missed his draw for the win in the extra. Winning would have kept them believing they can get into the playoffs and make some noise. Losing means they’ll probably still be thinking they can — but maybe not really believing it. That’s the head space in curling.
After a fast start, Joel Retornaz of Italy has pulled a Simmons/Morris and left the rings. Amos Mosaner called the game and threw last rocks, after the team started the event Ferbey Four-style. Mosaner skipped as a junior so it’s not a big adjustment. Retornaz threw second and held the stick on skip rocks in their win over the Czech Republic.
Speaking of the Czechs, I’m sensing they’ve hit a plateau. A game away from the Olympics in Füssen and I expected more improvement after playing them in Basel in 2012. They seem stuck at the moment.
I could tell you about Russia-Finland but I have to admit I largely ignored it. Nothing against them. Just the far sheet and I don’t have enough focus to watch every game. I’ll just mention, again, that there’s a lot of hair on that Finnish team.
[Curling Canada/WCF photo by Michael Burns – click on image to increase viewing size]

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2015 Worlds: Sort of quiet

Pants 1, Canada 0

Pants (and socks and caps) 1, Canada 0… so far

By Dean Gemmell

HALIFAX – Not exactly the best night for the home crowd with Canada ceding an early four-ender to a Norwegian team that was dressed like John Daly crossed with Pippi Longstocking by way of St. Andrews. Something like that anyway.

U.S. skip John Shuster had a relatively straightforward quiet hit for two in the fourth and played a double for three. Made it. Ergo, great call. After this morning’s loss, there might have been a bit of anger in that shot. Or a belief that an opportunity needed to be taken. Or it was way simpler than that and he just figured it was an easy shot for three.
Niklas Edin’s Swedish side delivered a reality check to the young Swiss team — up front 8-1 at the break and handshakes after the mandatory six ends. The only concern for the Swedes once they got out in front was making sure one of them didn’t suffer a broken foot due to a Christian Lindstroem peel. A serious chucker, that kid.
I was thinking Joel Retornaz looks a lot older than when we saw in him play for Italy at the 2006 Olympics. Then I realized that was nine years ago — it would be weird if he didn’t.
Remember how shocked everyone was when Italy started out 2-0 this week? Here’s what The Editor blogged about Italy’s stunning win over Canada back at those Torino Olympics… and what was said when Retornaz fled Italy for Switzerland a few months later… and what Rodger Schmidt wrote about him more recently from the Cortina worlds of 2010.
I saw women walking with beers that had not only lids, but straws. Maritime practicality.
Spoke to ice technician Jamie Bourassa between yesterday’s draws. He was hopeful that the soft, fudgy ice that developed Monday last night wouldn’t occur; he turned the lights off between draws and has only people with low overall body temperature working on the ice surface. At least that’s what I heard after the part about the lights. Then I was distracted by beers with straws.
It was sort of quiet in here last night. That’s what happens when the home team gets down early.
[Curling Canada photo by Michael Burns – click on image to increase viewing size]

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2015 Worlds: Some ugliness

Team China

Team China in Halifax

By Dean Gemmell

HALIFAX – A reasonable crowd in here for a weekday afternoon and they saw the gamut, from great shotmaking to some Tuesday League ugliness. Some soft ice picks meant there weren’t many teams on the ice without a hair brush in the mix.

The Czech Republic was really never in it against China, even without Rui Liu standing on the tee line. Sources say Liu is now a father and, apparently, that precludes curling. I’ll let my editor try to explain. (Er, no chance – Ed.)
According to the stats of Gerry Geurts and CurlingZone, Scottish skip Ewen McDonald had a 60% chance of winning when he was up one without the hammer playing the 10th against the USA. I think, however, those stats look pretty shaky when you have a bunch of misses in said 10th end. Then, those stats get better again when you make a super wide in-off on your last throw to force John Shuster to try a Red-Yellow-Yellow run. Count it as a win for Scotland.
The Patch is open, it seems, and I’m headed over there. I fear that if I venture outside it will be snowing, this being Nova Scotia and all.
[Curling Canada photo by Michael Burns – click image to increase viewing size]

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2015 Worlds: Tuesday letdown

Look who is on site at the 2015 world men’s championship in Halifax… it’s our pal Den Gemmell, host of the incroyable podcast The Curling Show. And we’ve given him some blogspace!
What’s wrong with our pants, bub?

What’s wrong with our pants, bub?

By Dean Gemmell
HALIFAX – The Tuesday afternoon draw starts the Squish stretch for half the field, including my American colleagues and Canada, playing this afternoon, tonight and tomorrow morning. I can’t claim to understand it but I imagine there’s a reason for it. Draws are often like that. Except when they just don’t make any sense at all and it’s early Spring and you’re ticked because you were hosed when you had a legit chance to win a quality Toaster Oven.
But here at the worlds, Tuesday is tough, especially when you’re in the Squish. The early rush of adrenaline from the start of the event is fading, and if you’re sub-.500, it can look like you’re about to be forced down into the coal mine for a stretch. Teams who make the playoffs figure out how to fight through it.
U.S. skip John Shuster played a solid third end to get a deuce.
Norway’s pants are typically awful.
The Finns have more hair on one team than entire curling clubs do.
The Chinese were a lot more intimidating with Rui Liu.
More after the break. Must relocate here on the bench…

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Vol. 58 Issue 6: April 2015


    Hall-of-Fame columnist Terry Jones takes us through the biggest debates of the curling year– DIGITAL EDITION LAUNCHES MULTIPLE PHOTO GALLERIES


    We provide quick links to the season’s best shots as part of our Newsdesk – DIGITAL EDITION LAUNCHES MULTIPLE VIDEOS


    Two pages in print, and another eight in our digital edition; we present the best in 2014-15 curling imagery – DIGITAL EDITION LAUNCHES MULTIPLE PHOTO GALLERIES


    The Brier marked a turning point in the TSN versus Sportsnet battle – DIGITAL EDITION LAUNCHES VIDEO


    You won’t believe the amount of curling to watch in April, and only we have the most in-depth and accurate event listings


    New columnist Cheryl Bernard on her debut commentating season


    Matt Hames on U.S. desperation; Mark Dacey tears a strip off Nova Scotia curling mandarins


    Columnist Rodger Schmidt warns us of the People in (Curling) Power


    Columnist Matt Brouwer says curling fans have got it wrong – DIGITAL EDITION LAUNCHES PHOTO GALLERY


    Which nine men’s and women’s teams have now earned over 100K this season? Only The Curling News tracks every dollar won in the sport, regardless of event affiliation


    Columnist Fred Rinne knows firsthand of the curling payback, which is “Immediate and priceless” – DIGITAL EDITION LAUNCHES PHOTO GALLERY


    Travelling man Guy Scholz went a Mile High at the new Denver Curling Club’s first big bonspiel


    A 2015 CIS roundup; columnist Heather Maxted on an uncertain future at U of M


    Columnist Mark Inglis helps facility managers differentiate between two confusing stakeholders


    Columnist Jim Corrigan’s search for the perfect teammate who got away


    We welcome back columnist Colin Hodgson, the new Brier Hot Shot – DIGITAL EDITION LAUNCHES PHOTO GALLERY


    Columnist Kevin Palmer weighs in on the topics of the year

  • And more… subscribe today!

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