Curling in Brazil

Just days from now, the sport of curling will debut in South America for the very first time.

Apenas os dias a partir de agora, o esporte de curling vai estrear na América do Sul pela primeira vez.

Shopping Eldorado in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, will host a corporate promotion by Neutrogena, one of the beauty brands of Johnson & Johnson. And The Curling News has learned that Canadians – and Norwegians – will play a pivotal role.

The promotion is being executed by Sao Paulo agency Ginga Brasilis and Toronto’s Rock Solid Productions, who also deliver the Capital One Rocks and Rings school program.

The fellow charged with making Brazil’s first “real” sheet of curling ice is none other than Mark Shurek, the chief ice technician for the Grand Slam of Curling series.

Things get underway August 13 with the campaign launch, and features the skip of Norway’s 2010 women’s team, Linn Githmark.

Curling continues all the way to August 22, with two more Canadians – noted curling instructor Brian Chick and reigning World University Games silver medallist Hollie Nicol – on site every day, helping curling-crazed Brazilians hit the ice for the very first time.

Surprised at that? Trust us, Brazilians have gone gaga for curling as if it was some kind of winter football (ie. futebol). Check out the excitement here, here and here… just for starters.

A dedicated website recently launched here – so check it out for yourself. And stay tuned, as we will continue to bring you exclusive information of curling’s latest and greatest step forward.

Brazilian media interested in learning more can contact Gui Bromberg at Ginga Brasilis via:

E prepare-se para jogar, Brasil!

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More Brazil, New York Times Curling

The New York Times, and Brazil, are both back on the curling trail.

This new Times story focusses on icemaking guru Hans Wuthrich and why he wants to make Vancouver’s Olympic curling ice “bumpy”. There’s nothing necessarily Brazilian about this story, except for the accompanying Yannick Grandmont photo (shown above).

It is interesting to see this kind of entry-level story coming out in mid-August, given that variations of this tale will be told and retold again from about January right through the round-robin portion of the Games.

Let us pray for one thing, however: if the Times is to continue publishing curling stories – which would, of course, be fantabulous – we need to get them some new curling stock pics. Yes, January’s Brazil story (and the pics) was interesting… but that is so last season.

Incidentally, we can expect to hear of another Brazilian challenge for a berth into the 2010 Capital One World Men’s Championship in Cortina, which the United States will be expected to host again, early in the new year.

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Manitoba, Mississauga Masters and more

This photo (above) comes from a Breakfast Television appearance – Winnipeg version – back in January, to promote the then-imminent BDO Canadian Open Grand Slam.

The pic shows youthful Manitoba curling skips Reid Carruthers (standing left) and Mike McEwen (right) and the BT hosts messing about with the same kind of indoor school stones that are featured in the Capital One Rocks and Rings program.

Why do we show you this now?

First of all, we only received these pics fairly recently, so… :-p !

And secondly, these two hopefuls are in action today in Selkirk, as the Manitoba provincial men’s championship, the Safeway Select, finally gets underway.

As such, there is some media to examine, including this piece in which Edmonton import Kevin Park admits that he’s “getting a bit of a hazing… dual citizenship and all.” Meanwhile, in this other Freep story, we find that someone has abducted and replaced Jeff Stoughton – well yeah, did you see this photo? – and that Allan Lyburn has the early start on quote of the week honours:

“We’re here to drink a lot of beer and have a good time. Because, let’s face it, I don’t generally play very well at this thing.”

Meanwhile, the rival Sun is picking Kerry Burtnyk to win it all, and former Manitoba competitor (ooooh!) Jon Mead is on the air with this week’s Shaw TV coverage

Meanwhile …

• It seems the Masters of Curling Grand Slam scheduled for Toronto’s Air Canada Centre in October is moving to nearby Mississauga and the Hershey Centre. Brian McAndrew of the Toronto Star has this story posted, while Donald Duench of the Toronto Sun has a piece here and the local Mississauga News is understandably pumped.

Our opinion? Well, while it would have been cool to see the Roaring Game at the ACC, the current economic climate makes the move unsurprising… and perhaps GTA curling fans should be pleased that a) the event is still running; b) it’s still in the GTA and c) it’s still got the same dates and amazing international field.

For more on this, check out the upcoming March issue of The Curling News for some quotes from Mr. Insight Sports himself, Kevin Albrecht

• The Edmonton Journal asks: should Canada select a team for the Olympic Games, as opposed to hosting a Trials shootout?

Cheryl Bernard can be heard on The Curling Show, and we hear that Mr. Blunt himself, Ben Hebert, will be on the air shortly …

• There be a roaring argument going on in Scotland …

• More Brazilians are on the curling ice – er, glass – this time in High River, Alberta

• And finally, the fun folks at the Blind River CC have a quick story on the Emo Curling Club, which was built out of a 100-year-old schoolhouse. Very cool!

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Big USA, Brazil curling weekend

In this Friday installment we rail against curlers who wear black, set up the Canadian Juniors, test your curling mettle with a pop quiz, show you some Scottish stuff, rail against curlers who wear black, and amaze with a crazy eBay promotion. But first…

This is a big weekend for U.S. curling, Brazilian curling, and world curling in general. And it’s all going down in beautiful Bismarck, North Dakota, host city of the 2002 Ford Worlds, and in Green Bay, Wisconsin, just steps away from famous Lambeau Field, the home of the Packers.

To start things off, the big day has finally arrived… Friday night will see Brazil versus the United States, in game one of the best-of-five men’s challenge series for the final berth in the 2009 Ford Worlds in Moncton.

And none other than the famed New York Times ran a story – complete with some decent pics (like the one above) taken during one of Brazil’s recent training sessions in Quebec, Canada.

Of course, subscribers to the print edition of The Curling News saw a photo of the team way back in the November 2008 issue, after their appearance at the inaugural Team Glenn Howard Fantasy Curling Camp, which of course will be happening again this coming September. But we digress.

As the WCF announced earlier this month, 2007 world bronze medallist Todd Birr is the man in the hotseat for the United States. Birr is quoted in the Times story, but we also grabbed a fresh quote courtesy of USA Curling:

“We’re looking forward to representing the U.S. in this event, it’s something that’s been in the background for us all season long,” said Birr.

“Certainly we want to secure our spot at worlds, but beyond that it’s just such an honor to play in something this historic. It’s the first time the U.S. has been challenged at the men’s level, after all.”

Will any Brazilians make the long trek to the Dakotas to cheer on their team? Judging from the Brazilian fans we have seen at other sporting events – and we’re not just talking about futbol, either – we sure as heck hope so!

To follow the results, check the USA Curling website or the Gameday Scoreboard at CurlingZone. And check out this here blog, too… you never know what we might come up with through the weekend.

Secondly, Bismarck is also hosting the U.S. men’s national Challenge Round to declare the final four berths to the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Curling next month in Colorado. Play started Wednesday and big names involved – that failed to make it straight to Denver – include 2006 Olympic bronze medallist Pete Fenson (currently 3-2), defending U.S. champ Craig Brown (3-1), perennial U.S. men’s runner-up Craig Disher (3-1), former Fenson Olympic teammate John Shuster (5-0) and former national champion Jason Larway (3-2).

That’s a murderer’s row of great teams, as witnessed by the struggles of of former Canadians – Brier competitor Brian Wight and TCN correspondent Matt Hames (with Brier competitor Dean Gemmell of The Curling Show on the front end) – who are both at 1-4.

Meanwhile, another ex-Canuck, former Canadian Junior finalist Greg Romaniuk out of Winnipeg, is the co-leader at 5-0.

Romaniuk is a big secret. When Canada’s Mark Johnson fled Edmonton for the U.S. he grabbed some press, and he grabbed some more when he qualified for Denver. But Romaniuk has had a better season stateside – he’s travelled extensively and won a tournament in Madison, Wisconsin – and now he’s off to a great start at the Challenge Round.

Pop quiz, hotshots… which junior skip did Romaniuk play for and in what year did they lose that Canadian junior final? And whom did they lose to? Anyone?

By the way, next month’s Olympic Team Trials will also decide the squads, both men and women, that will compete in this year’s world shootouts in Gangneung and Moncton… so Denver acts as a double championship.

Third – or is that fourth? – the women’s Challenge Round started up Thursday night in Green Bay. It’s a small field, with six teams fighting for four spots, and it features two-time U.S. junior champion Aileen Sormunen and former national champion Amy Wright, who were both at 1-0 at time of writing.

Fourth – er, fifth – a wild new curling promotion has been launched by Denver Sports and USA Curling. Believe it or not, you can bid, on the eBay auction site, to put your face on the button during the U.S. Olympic Trials.

With a minimum $1,150 bid, the “Buy The Button” auction allows the winners to have their face placed in the ice on the button, where it will remain throughout the competition. There are four such buttons available, and the winning bidders also receive 10 tickets to the women’s and men’s final matches on February 28 (10:00am and 3:00pm MST)

The auction runs from now through Wednesday, February 4. So click here if you don’t believe us!


• Speaking of the New York Times, can anyone tell us why they emailed us back in December seeking a photo of Joe Frans? They didn’t reply to our reply, so it’s all a mystery …

Chery Bernard defeated Shannon Kleibrink to claim the first playoff spot in Alberta, and it’s down to three sqauds in Saskatchewan, with Stefanie Lawton leading the way

• The M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors begins on Sunday in Salmon Arm, BC. Russ Howard will be there with TSN for the finals but he’s also on proud papa duty, as daughter Ashley is skipping Team New Brunswick. Ironically, Russ’ brother Glenn Howard has a son, Scott, who lost the Ontario junior men’s final to just miss out on qualifying.

Other names of note include, of course, defending women’s champion and world bronze medallist Kaitlyn Lawes of Manitoba, with a video of her winning shot located here.

There’s also stalwart skips Brett Gallant (for the men) and Erin Carmody (women) of Prince Edward Island.

But the women’s side is most intriguing. It says here that Lawes’ biggest challenges will come from Alberta’s Casey Scheidegger, who has Kalynn Park at third stone, and Ontario’s Rachel Homan, who is already a legend despite her debut appearance at the Juniors. Oh well… sitting 10th on the (adult) Canadian Team Rankings list for a spot into December’s Olympic Trials will do that for ya.

• A Canadian interloper named Kevin Koe has made the cover of the February Scottish Curler, and it must have something to do with the Albertans grabbing much of the moolah in Perth earlier this month

• Speaking of Scotland, two-time and defending world junior champion skip Eve Muirhead – who graces the homepage of the 2009 World Juniors website – is more than just a fine on-ice shooter: she’s a damned fine golfer, and she’s Friday’s Local Hero, too …

• Numbers man Kevin Palmer has another installment of Curling with Math online …

• First it was British Columbia… then it was Ontario… now it’s Manitoba’s turn to discuss the restructuring of men’s curling in their province. The difference with Manitoba is that this back-and-forth, which has been noticed by The Curler, talks about much more than just the provincial-level teams; the plan is to give a boost to all grass roots areas …

• And finally, we liked this nice story from Al Cameron on what competitive curlers do with the mountain of jackets they amass during a career.

It turns out that Heather Rankin, who is wearing power orange (no photo, Al?) has the same colours as another competing team… and she blames Cameron for the duplication, telling him that he “wrote an article last year about everybody wearing black, and I found the most obnoxious colour I could find just to make you happy.”

This will be music to the ears of Bob Cowan, proprietor of that venerable Scottish Curler magazine and also the recent but already legendary Curling Today blog, who is on a one-man crusade to get curlers to just STOP WEARING BLACK… and we agree …

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Le Gruyère European Curling Championships 2008

Lots of stuff going on this week – but first, Euro 2008.

And no, not the summer footyfest.

The scene: one year ago in Füssen, Germany. In the “Party Zone”.

The question sounded innocent enough: How does it feel to win a spot into the A-division of next December’s Le Gruyère European Championships, and a chance to compete in the 2009 Worlds?

The tall, handsome fellow leaned against the bar and gestured with his hands. “It’s weird,” he said.

He shrugged.

“We are Spain. We are not even supposed to be here with the big boys.”

Antonio de Mollideno skips the Spanish national men’s team that will already make history when they take to the ice tomorrow at this Le Gruyère Euro shootout in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden.

Mollinedo’s foursome managed to finish second among the myriad of B-pool teams at last year’s Euros and qualified for this year’s A-division, in which the top seven squads will qualify their country for the 2009 Ford Worlds in Moncton. In the TCN photo (above) taken in Füssen by Urs Raeber, Mollinedo (right) leads his grinning squad on their “victory” march down the ice.

And hey… who is that waving the Spanish flag and sign in the background? Anyone?

As this multi-featured Spanish spotlight continues in the December issue of The Curling News, it becomes quite obvious to the reader that Spain might have a better chance of qualifying for Moncton than Brazil.

The Brazilians must beat the United States in a best-of-three “challenge” showdown next month. The Spaniards just need to string some wins together to finish in the top seven in O’vik.

O’vik is a critical championship for another reason – it marks that beginning of the “last chance” for European teams to make it to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

European curling fans are in for a viewing bonanza, as all-sports channel Eurosport is covering 10 matches in High-Definition, and a total of 24 games online via the new Eurosport Player.

Moreover, the Eurosport Player – a subscription service – is available to European (only) curling fans at 25 per cent off the regular rates, for either a monthly or yearly (ending April 30, 2009) subscription.

Subscribers in selected countries need only input their nation’s special code to get the discounted access – click here to see the list of countries and their respective access codes.

Games are also available through STV in Sweden and the Swedish curling webstreamer Curlingkanalen. Rumour also has it that CurlTV is picking up the Curlingkanalen games – although we hadn’t seen anything yet on their website.

The usual brigade of Canadian TV crew members are in Sweden, producing all the feeds for World Curling Television (WCTV). There are also a few Canadian coaches accompanying the more than 51 teams representing 29 countries.

Lots of world news pickup of ECC 08, from Spain to Ingerlund as well as in France, Scotland and Germany. As for hosts Sweden, this news site asks if viewers will watch the games: as of very early Friday morning, 35 per cent said yes and 60 per cent said no (another five per cent “don’t know”). Meanwhile, this event preview story also asked the same poll question, but this one has the Jas at 76 per cent and the Nejs at 24 per cent.

Finally, we all know who is there representing Sweden’s women, but who makes up the “other” Swedish team?

And there’s more. There is always more, here at The Curling News Blog

• Did you see the listing of Swiss Sport Television curling coverage at the World Curling Tour Europe (WCT-E) website? You can find it under TV Archive on the left hand side; all games shown on TV this season are available for repeat viewing …

• Red-hot Glenn Howard has a 1-2 record at the second Slam of the season, The National in Québec City. Could this mean The Streak of seven Tour events in a row – dating back to April of last season – might be ending?

• Also on The National website is a reprint of a story that first appeared in the March/April 1971 edition of Canadian Curling News. The bizarre goings on at the Fuddle-Duddle Brier first appeared a year ago in our paper, now called The Curling News, and the mayhem is not to be missed …

• Dallas, Texas just loves their curling-promo stories, while WDIO-TV Duluth has both text and video located here and Mankato, Minn. has got KEYC-TV all fired up …

• Still in America, the Grand National Curling Club has started a men’s curling tour in the eastern United States. Here’s a link (PDF download), and do watch for a special celebration of those GNCC crazies in the upcoming January print issue of TCN …

• DID YOU KNOW: that the 2008 Tim Hortons Brier in Winnipeg raked in almost $450,000, good for seventh place in the career Brier attendance …

• Sault Ste. Marie’s local blat is calling for local investment in the 2010 Scotties …

• Only 14 Winnipeg teams have entered the city’s Scotties TOH playdowns. Yikes …

• The Dominion is back – again – as a sponsor of yet another national championship, the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) shootout, which heads to Montreal in 2009

• And speaking of The Dominion, 26 Manitoba curling clubs are into the Dominion Club Championship (so far) …

• Here’s a story of a local fill-in team at the big Brooks Tour event last month …

• A curling safety head band? Why not?

• OK, wait a minute, the Swift Current Broncos would like to clarify that they are indeed OK with the 2010 Ford Worlds coming to “their” arena …

• Cool T-shirt alert: click here and go to “Collections”, re. the second image …

• Tickets are now on sale of the B.C. men’s provincial at Golden Ears …

• And finally, a big Way To Go the Yorkton CC in Saskatchewan: they turned 100 years old yesterday

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The Curling News: November 2008

Here we are, back again, with the 52nd season of the world authority on the sport of curling.

The Curling News is the granddaddy of this blog, the monthly newsprint edition, and it is chock full of stuff you don’t see here.

Like our monthly TV Guide, which lists all the great curling action available on your TV screen – even local Super Leagues in cities like Brandon and Regina.

And fantastic curling writers like Calgary’s Larry Wood and our resident Canadian-in-Switzerland, Rodger Schmidt.

And fantastic curling writers who also throw a mean competitive stone on the ice, like defending world champion Jill Officer and Halifax’s Teri Lake.

Don’t delay, subscribe today.

Our website subscription page is located here.

In this issue:

• A summary of all the summer curling hijinks

• The first look at the Brazilians

• They Said It starring Michael J. Fox, Brad Gushue, NBA coach Phil Jackson and more!

Larry Wood challenges your powers of observation

• More Zombie Curling! Yarragharagh!

• Team Glenn Howard rocks inaugural Fantasy Camp

• Thompson returns with the Eversharp blade

Jill Officer on set: Lights! Camera! Action!

• The Dominion launches the Canadian Club Championship

• Capital One Star of the Future: Mike McEwen

Teri Lake reviews Curling Etcetera

Shannon Kleibrink on a roll

• Masters of Curling preview

The Curling News TV Guide for November/December

Rodger Schmidt says the future is in Europe, not Asia

And more!

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Movember Curling

Movember, the month of moustaches, is back in full force. Curling men are asked to not shave for the entire month, beginning tomorrow, to show support for the fight against prostate cancer. BalancePlus chief – and the coach of Team Glenn Howard – is Mr. Scott Taylor, and he is the prime mover behind this campaign, which you can read about in the October 29 posting at the SWEEP! magazine site.

You may recall our promotion of this thing last year. And yes, that’s them Howards (photo above by Tae) after winning Brantford’s SunLife cashspiel last Movember. Wonderfully cheesy, and all for a great cause.

What else is going on, you ask?

• The 2010 “Olympic Brier” is bound for Halifax, and will be announced there next week. Another story is located here, and another here

• They’re looking for more Tim Hortons Brier volunteers in Calgary, stories here and here

• As yesterday’s post indicated, today is the last day for one kind of tickets to the Ford Worlds in Moncton and tomorrow launches another series of ticket packages …

• Bismark, North Dakota will host the Brazil/USA Worlds challenge on January 30 to February 1. Background info located here

• The Chinese have left Canada and are in New Zealand, preparing for the Pacific Championships which start on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Aussies – who had a productive yet somewhat disappointing performance in Grand Forks – are looking for more success

• The new $1.5M curling centre in Midland, Michigan is ready to open, as ABC-12, WNEM TV and NBC-25 all show us. The debut opening is November 8 …

• The A-division draw is up for the 2008 Le Gruyère European Curling Championships …

• CONTEST ALERT: This one is for readers in the Kitchener-Waterloo area of Ontario, as the local blat if offering up six pairs of Event Passes to the first Capital One Grand Slam of the season, the Masters of Curling

Amy Nixon is on The Curling Show, and other recents have been KPark, B.C.’s Bob Ursel and everyone’s favourite, mrnn

• We are now 496 days away from Vancouver’s other major sports doo-dah, the Paralympic Winter Games …

• 2002 Olympic bronze medallist and 2000 world champion skip Kelley Law surfaced last week, and as this story tells, she is content with her life away from the curling ice …

Nerdsopolis has returned our recent shout-out: grazie …

• The dark side of curling? Bring it on, baby! After all, this is the Halloween weekend …

This Dutch blog likes the Women of Kurling and their Kalendar

• There may be hope for northern Ontario’s Rainy River club following their critical meeting last Friday …

• California’s Wine Country Curling Club will learn its fate at a Vacaville city council meeting on November 11 …

29 years of writing about local women’s curling? Wow …

• Rookies tossed some “22kg stone thingys” at Fenton’s the other day …

Don Gordon of Lake Cowichan, B.C. quotes a curling story in talking tough about supporting a local arena upgrade plan

• We have more curling tales from Schenectady, NY and also from Greg in Hollywood

• The site of the original “Callie” was set ablaze on Wednesday …

• Melfort, SK needs an icemaker

• Kamloops city councillor Arjun Singh has blogged about a local curling club asking for funding …

• Finally, we like this definition of curling posted by the Kalamazoo CC:

CURLING: The difference between a great winter and a crappy, not-enough-snow-to-really-ski winter!

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Brazil curling has begun


Stunning news from the World Curling Federation tonight, as Brazil has officially challenged the United States for the second “Americas” berth at the 2009 Ford Worlds in Moncton.

Brazil has been a WCF member for a decade now, and they are finally taking the big step forward with a challenge… which means the U.S. will host the best-of-five series somewhere (to be determined) and sometime in January.

Canadians will be surprised to hear that the athletes are all students in Quebec, and train at Lennoxville. Or perhaps that is not so surprising?

As the newser states, Canada and the U.S. are the only two nations to ever represent the “Americas” zone. But the team which finished lowest (of the two) in any previous worlds has always been open to a challenge from any other member. And this challenge has never happened… until now.

Uau! E a invasão brasileira dos olympics começou!

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