Winnipeg 2013: Game of the week

Jacobs versus Morris is bigger than you know

by George Karrys

“They all want us to lose, right?”   “That’s right.”

At 2:30pm ET today, less than an hour from this time of posting, defending Brier champ and world silverado Brad Jacobs (4-0) takes on defending Olympic champion third John Morris John Morris (3-1) at the Canadian Olympic Trials.

You should know the storylines.

Both came out of the last-gasp Trials qualifier in Kitchener a couple of weeks ago.

Both are in the top men’s three, and there are only three teams that will make the playoffs.

Both squads scream youth and vitality, and represent a continuing and definitive changing of the guard from the legendary Kevin Martin – Glenn Howard – Jeff Stoughton power trio.

Three of these eight guys – Jacobs, his second E.J. Harnden and Morris – are super-hunk models in the hottest curling product in the world right now, the 2014 Men of Curling Calendar.

Morris, the veteran, has been filling the curling souls of his British Columbia teammates with unprecedented confidence.

Jacobs’ 2012 lineup changes – Ryan Fry in from Newfoundland to play third, Harnden now at second – have driven the Soo squad into the stratosphere.

This should be a great show, which Canadian fans can watch live on TSN. But there is far more at play here, enough to arguably make this clash the official Game Of The Week… even acknowledging the upcoming Martin/Morris tilt in the final round-robin draw.

If Morris loses, a number of things happen:

• Jacobs is guaranteed a spot in any tiebreakers or the semifinal…

• The fallen titans of last night’s heartbreakers, Howard and Stoughton, are still alive…

• Even Kevin Koe, 0-4 and widely written off with Olympic dreams dashed, ain’t out of it.

Now just let that sink in for a moment.

Oh, my. Oh, my.

[The Curling News photo copyright ® by Anil Mungal – click on image to increase viewing size]

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Winnipeg 2013: Athlete Support Inc.

Wild on ice, wild in the seats

Up and down, game after game for Nicole Kennedy

By Colin Hodgson

WINNIPEG – What a joy it must be, you might think, to sit with the wife of Team Kevin Martin second man Marc Kennedy during the Olympic Trials, right?

You would be WRONG, unless you enjoy extreme stress, a roller-coaster of emotional collapse and triumphant fist-pumps… as illustrated by these photos by TCN shooter Anil Mungal (click on images at left to increase viewing size).

And given the insanity of last night’s on-ice mayhem – which included K-Mart scoring four in the ninth end and stealing the 10th to beat Glenn Howard against massive mathematical odds – I must say there was quite a show going on in the seats.

What a ride it must be for this native Nova Scotian. She has been a part of Brier championships, World championships, Olympic Winter Games – on home soil – and most stressful of all, the Canadian Olympic Trials. Don’t you dare say she isn’t part of it.

Marc Kennedy (left) sweeps against Howard

The stress a family member undergoes when watching loved ones play for their dreams is utterly unbearable. I myself have put my loved ones in this place before, and it’s not a fun place to have them.

“I feel helpless,” says Nicole. “Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t marry a banker that worked nine to five. I look around and feel the excitement and get the kindest curling fans in my section, like always. They calm me down and chat me through the situation and I understand how having a banker would be so boring!”

It’s a fact – family members have it tough. Watching the people closest to them realize their dreams – or falter in their efforts – is never an “even keel” feeling. How do the better halves of top curlers deal with events like this?

“I feel like it’s mine too,” says Nicole. “I certainly will never stand on a podium, so it is the next best thing. It’s wonderful, the sacrifices our family makes feel like they are worth something.

“Marc is an awesome daddy, and this is something he can share with his girls forever. I am so proud of what he has accomplished. For how hard he works and how much he puts in, he deserves great things. The Vancouver Olympics were a dream come true for him and for our family.”

So… is the sacrifice worth the hardship?

“Always.”

[Canadian Curling Association action photo copyright ® by Michael Burns]

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2013 Brier: Players warned after TV equipment trashed

Damaged what? Who, us?

by George Karrys

The Curling News has learned that while no 2013 Brier competitors have been fined for misbehaviour, a member of one team damaged some equipment used by The Sports Network (TSN) earlier in the week – and restitution was paid for said equipment.

[UPDATED: The Canadian Curling Association has confirmed that no restitution was in fact paid; the player and team – and all the teams – were warned that if another incident occurs that results in equipment damage, payment will be required. Paragraph eight of the original story below has been edited to reflect this information.]

As reported in the cover story of our March print issue, Brier competitors can be fined by on-ice officials if their language or behaviour crosses the line, and in the past the Canadian Curling Association has taken action – although neither fines nor other disciplinary actions are usually acknowledged.

The subject of Brier behaviour and discipline made our cover due to the ejection of Saskatchewan second Chris Schille during one of his team’s provincial championship playoff games, plus the subsequent media furor his dismissal created.

The Curling News then created a good-natured video meme of Brock Virtue’s Saskatchewan foursome, based on the theme from the television show COPS – which has turned into a minor sensation.

According to the CCA, no player at this year’s Brier has been fined for any misbehaviour. The CCA has confirmed that warnings have been issued to players throughout the event, and The Curling News has learned that Team Saskatchewan and Kevin Martin’s host squad are among them.

I’ve been good – honest!

In addition, one particular warning was issued to all competitors following an incident involving television equipment.

According to sources, one of the Alberta competitors removed his player microphone and receiver and threw the equipment against a rink board, causing an estimated $4,000 in damage. A subsequent warning was issued to the player and team, and to the entire field, specifying that any future incidents resulting in similar equipment damage would require payment for repair or replacement.

All of this comes to light as the Brier’s final two round robin draws hit the ice today. After a must-win over Newfoundland and Labrador this morning, Alberta has scrambled from a 1-4 start to an impressive 6-4 record, and has the afternoon bye before facing defending champions Ontario tonight.

However, Martin and his Edmonton squad will need help from the field, in addition to a victory over Glenn Howard tonight, to have a chance at a tiebreaker or playoff berth.

For more on past tales of Brier discipline, here’s an excerpt from our cover story:

Manitoba Bad Boy Jeff Stoughton got an initial $1,000 fine back in the 2006 Brier – for accumulating offenses – which was allegedly whittled down to some $250 or so, but no official word was ever acknowledged by the player nor the CCA.

Russ vs Glenn in 2009: First they were smiling, then the older brother in yellow WENT BESERKER

New Brunswick skip Russ Howard, now a TSN curling analyst, tomahawked his brush during his final Brier appearance in 2009, during a loss to his brother Glenn, and was reportedly fined an undetermined amount – this after both Stoughton (again) and Newfoundland’s Brad Gushue had already boom-thwacked their way to some monetary discipline (Gushue was apparently fined $150).

Although our ace reporters wrote about it at that time on The Curling News Blog, no amounts nor the final status of any actions was ever confirmed.

When fines are levied, the payments typically go to the official charity of the CCA, the Sandra Schmirler Foundation.

The Alberta Curling Federation has a code of conduct for its championships, which includes a warning for a first offence of “verbal abuse” or “unacceptable language” and suspension from the current game and the next game for a second offence; a third offence will result in a suspension for the remainder of the championship. Breaking equipment, like a broom or a TV microphone, could also result in disciplinary measures.

As we wrote in our blogpost – and this is for fans on site at Rexall Place – If you think you’ve spotted an offence, keep your eyes peeled to the carpet after the matches, where the officials gather. This is apparently when the notes are compared, and decisions are made.

[The Curling News photos ® by Anil Mungal – click on images to increase viewing size. Subscribe to The Curling News here]

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Brier 2013: Our pundit predictions

That’s a lot of purple hearts. They should wear ’em all.

As advised, the March issue of The Curling News includes some essential Brier content – including predictions from an elite panel of experts.

Mark Dacey, Sherry Middaugh, Al “The Iceman” Hackner and Randy Ferbey have all donned their thinking caps and made their calls on how Edmonton 2013 is going to throw down; be sure to check out the March issue for all the fun.

And now we’ve added a fifth fearless prognosticator, just for our online followers. From a busy weekend coaching his sons at a provincial bantam championship, here’s the picks from world champion, Olympic medallist, ex-Howard third and new Sportsnet curling analyst – Richard Hart!

Ontario – 9-2
Alberta – 9-2
Manitoba – 9-2
These three teams are closely matched and are head and shoulders above the rest of the field. These guys will be the gold, silver and bronze medal winners and will all be playing next Sunday. All three of them will be 1-1 against each other and then lose one other game to the field out of sheer boredom.
Northern Ontario – 7-4
Quebec – 7-4
These two teams will be the best of the rest and play a tiebreaker for the fourth spot. Unfortunately for the winner, all the TB means is two more losses to their record (the 3-4 game and the bronze medal game).
Saskatchewan – 6-5
Newfoundland and Labrador – 6-5
These guys will have to wait a few more years for the Big Three to retire. Nice week!
To the rest of the field… congratulations on making it to the greatest show in curling. Edmonton 2013 will be one of the best Briers ever; enjoy the Patch!
Finally, Manitoba vs Ontario in the final. It’s a coin flip… but I know who I’ll be cheering for!

[CCA photo by Michael Burns – click on image to increase viewing size]

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The Curling News: 2013 Brier edition

Hurry hard to get the March issue

We haven’t promoted our print edition on the blog in a very long time, and there happens to be a major curling event starting this weekend in Edmonton… so here we go.

You won’t want to miss the March 2013 issue of The Curling News, aka The Brier Issue. The cover story leads with The Bad Boys, aka Brock Virtue’s Saskatchewan foursome, and what on earth really happened at the Sasky provincial. But that’s not all: the story goes on to compare other Brier Bad Boys and their recent misbehaviours at the Big Show, and what the Canadian Curling Association has traditionally done about their trangressions – or not. So unlike what this fun video exemplifies, there might be more than just one team of Brier Bad Boys at Rexall Place.

Our Brier coverage continues with columnist Terry Jones, who points to the significance of the Brier plus Alberta’s Team Kevin Martin as the host hopefuls… and also wonders if this will be the last Brier to feature the Big Three: KMart, Jeff Stoughton and Glenn Howard? There’s also a feature from Senior Columnist Larry Wood on Edmonton curling hero Matt Baldwin, who will be feted live and in person during Friday night’s opening Brier banquet: Baldwin is more than curling’s oldest living Brier champion skip, he was – according to Woody and others – the sport’s first bonafide character, the Guy before Hemmings, so to speak.

There’s also a full-page feature on our official The Curling News Brier Predictions, where no less than four all-star curling legends offer their fearless punditry – who will win, place and show (and not) from March 2-10. Who are they, you wonder? Subscribe today, right away, and we’ll toss your Brier Issue into the mail same day, rushed to you pronto.

Of course, there’s more than The Brier to enjoy in this issue. Newsdesk and They Said It are two of our most popular monthly departments, and this month is no exception. A popular player and pundit – who wields a large digital footprint – weighs in with his love for the sport contrasted with the one thing that really, really bothers him about curling. There’s value for curling facility mangers and decision-makers, too, as this month’s The Dominion Club Corner tells us all about the tiny curling club that just sold its naming rights to a local business for $25,000 a year; that’s a whopping $250,000 in fresh funding over the duration of a 10-year contract.

There’s more, too, including the monthly Curling TV/Web Guide, listing all the televised and online curling coverage you could hope to find and watch, through March and half of April, and across multiple platforms in multiple countries. Not just the Brier, and world women’s and world men’s – how about a replay of last year’s Brier final between Alberta’s Kevin Koe and Ontario’s Howard? How about coverage en francais, via Quebec’s RDS2? How about a provincial championship for Saskatchewan’s Mixed Doubles championship, and another featuring their recreational players, leading to this fall’s The Dominion Club Curling Championship?

That’s right, The March issue of The Curling News has it all. And if you don’t have it yet, check out your subscription options today. We’ll be glad to tuck you in, and we thank you in advance for your support.

[Lineup of March issue contents located here; click on cover image to increase viewing size]

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Curling: Mini-Brier underway in Ontario

Welcome to the BMC

By David Gravelle

BARRIE, Ont. – The home rink of the Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts has been transformed into the house of rock and roll for seven days of The Dominion Ontario Tankard.

While the focus will be on who attempts to dethrone defending world champion – and seven-time consecutive provincial champ – Glenn Howard and Co., it may be the Barrie Molson Centre (or BMC) itself that steals the show.

The BMC is a 4,195-seat multi-purpose sport and entertainment complex which opened in 1995. It’s located at the south end of Barrie, only 45 minutes north of the Greater Toronto Area.

With its bowl-type seating, in-house restaurant (the Horsepower Grill), private boxes and cold beer in the stands, this could be considered a mini-Brier.

That’s the dream of organizing committee Executive Chair Ken Leach, a local competitive curler from the host Barrie Curling Club.

“We knew it was going to be a big facility for an Ontario Tankard,” said Leach, as the first stones of the opening draw were being thrown. “We felt with where we were (only 30 minutes from World Champion Glenn Howard’s hometown of Midland) and the timing that we had, that we had the opportunity to fill this place.”

While the opening draw saw a smattering of fans and volunteers barely make a dent in the large facility, Leach hopes bums will fill those seats as the week progresses.

“Ticket sales are (going) amazing,” explained Leach. “We’ve sold 3500 so far, we’ve got 1500 comps, we have another 2,000-3,000 from the volunteers, and 70 percent of the people will be walk-ups.”

The most anticipated matchup will be on Wednesday evening, when Glenn Howard battles Toronto’s John Epping, or as the locals are calling it, Howard vs Howard. Scott Howard, who plays second for Team Epping, will be playing for bragging rights and perhaps a playoff spot against his dad.  Hopes are high for a mid-week sellout, which would be unheard-of in provincial Tankard history.

“We’re really hoping for it,” said Leach. “Tickets sales are going very well for that night. We’re optimistic that we’re going to have a full capacity crowd.”

This is Howard country. And if hundreds of local curlers and fans make the half hour drive to Barrie, the BMC could be rocking and the dream of filling those seats may become a reality.

EVENT LINKS:

2013 The Dominion Tankard website

2013 The Dominion Tankard on Facebook

2013 The Dominion Tankard on Twitter

2013 The Dominion Tankard – Rogers Television schedule

 

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2013 Skins: Curling votes are in

Steve Gould. Pumped for the Skins.

The long ride is over, and the votes are in.

The Sports Network has just revealed the names of the 16 all-star curling guys who will compete at The Dominion All-Star Curling Skins Game on Jan. 19 and 20 at Casino Rama, just north of Toronto.

Among the usual suspects – such as skips Glenn Howard and Kevin Martin, and thirds John Morris (Martin’s top vote-getter) and Jon Mead (from Team Jeff Stoughton) – there are a couple of welcome surprises.

The Tick Man is in. Ex-Stoughton lead Steve Gould made the cut, finishing third overall at his position. Gould is mostly inactive this season, apart from some mentor duties with the Brad Jacobs foursome.

Now, off you go to the rink for practice rocks, Steve-O.

Gould will be reunited – at the event, at any rate – with his three former teammates, which may (or may not) make for some discomfort. Might he then end up on the same team as one or more of them? See the next-to-last paragraph for how that might happen.

But what about retired third Randy Ferbey? He did NOT make it in, despite ranking among the top thirds some 10 days ago.

Both Gould and Ferbey were on the ballot as per last season’s standing on the Canadian Team Rankings System (CTRS) chart.

Read ‘em and weep, Skinsheads

Meanwhile, all of Team Kevin Koe (the defending Skins champs) are in, as are the members of Teams Martin and Howard, Stoughton second Reid Carruthers and one member from Team Mike McEwen: third man B.J. Neufeld.

On the outside looking in are some social media wizards who worked hard for over a month to court the public vote: this list includes the remainder of Team McEwen, the members of Teams Jacobs and Brad Gushue… and many more.

So how, you might be asking, will the 16 players be assembled into the four competing teams?

A live draw will be held in Toronto on Jan. 17, bringing the teams together at random – and the affair will be televised on TSN. Show details are sketchy at present, but be sure to check the upcoming January 2013 issue of The Curling News (and the monthly Curling TV/Web Guide) for all the details.

Also… CONTEST ALERT! CONTEST ALERT! Be sure to visit our CONTESTS page for a chance to win VIP treatment for two at the Skins Game, courtesy of Casino Rama and The Curling News! Hurry hard, as the contest closes Dec. 20.

CCA photo of Steve Gould copyright ® by Michael Burns. Click on images to view larger.

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New Curling Colours: the art of looking good

Glenn Howard – does he now seek the yellow stones?

By David Gravelle

BRANTFORD, Ont. – Here I sit, high above the ice surface at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre in the hometown of “The Great One”. And at this Masters Grand Slam shootout, you realize there is a new look to the ancient sport of curling.

The elite game has gotten younger, with fresh new faces nipping at the heels of the senior cohort of Glenn Howard, Kevin Martin and Jeff Stoughton – sorry guys, but it’s true. The game has also become more fashionable as athletic bodies (on both the men’s and women’s sides) make those uniforms look good.

Team Howard’s bright yellow jackets feature their new sponsor Weed Man, and with green grass growing up from the waistline, it all looks good on Hi-Definition television. Watching yesterday’s tilt against Winnipeg’s Stoughton, who was wearing basic black with white trim, offered a stark comparison. While black may be slimming, it sure doesn’t have the pop of the yellow and green of the new Howard corporate colours.

The apparel worn by Glenn, Wayne, Brent, Craig and Mike is certainly eye-catching. Oh, and who the heck is Mike, you may wonder? Michael Kernaghan is the CEO of Weed Man and he is here, sitting in the stands with fellow staff members from his company’s Mississauga offices, and many of his franchise owners are flying in from around the country to experience the Grand Slam of Curling.

“Who knew we had so many closet curlers?” Kernaghan asked rhetorically, while trying to understand the importance of the hammer and the sport’s scoring system. “I’m a hockey fan. But when we looked at the target audience and the fit with our franchisee businesses, (curling) made perfect sense.”

The Weed Men spent most of Wednesday following Team Howard around with video cameras and photo crews, and then came “Curling 101” as they met with volunteers and fans. Within 36 hours of Kernaghan’s arrival, his initial reaction to hearing of a curling sponsorship opportunity (“You’ve got to be kidding: a company that takes care of lawns… sponsoring a winter sport?”) was long gone.

Now, the ladies have hit the ice here at the arena (Friday at 3:30pm ET, live on Sportsnet) and it’s another barrage of bright colours and patterns… along with some of the same old, same old.

The evolution continues…

David Gravelle is the owner of the HOT SHOTS Curling Camps and a principle in PROCURLINGwear

Sportsnet image is copyright ® by Anil Mungal – click on image to view larger

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2013 Skins: war of words

Left to right: Randy Ferbey circa 2007; Ron Jeremy

by Colin Hodgson

Twitter feeds explode with public begging. Facebook groups pop up overnight. Is this the United States presidential election? No, it is bigger than that. This is the vote battle for the recently revamped The Dominion All-Star Curling Skins Game.

Canadian curling fans can log in to their computers each day and pick the players they want to see curling in the annual TV Skins Game. This is exciting, all-offense curling that boggles the brain of the average curler until it all comes together with a Hail-Mary heater on the last shot of the game for ridiculous amounts of cash. That’s what I call a curling match.

This year’s Skins Game will be a lot spicier than past events. In previous years, four teams were selected to compete, whereas this year fan voting will select four skips, four thirds, four seconds and four leads, and all will then be randomly thrown together to create four teams. Hence, our best-case viewing entertainment scenario: Randy Ferbey is selected as Kevin Martin’s third – and all pandemonium breaks loose.

Voting just started on Monday, and it seems a fire has already started on social media – ignited by curling stars John Morris and David Nedohin. Attacks between their Twitter feeds, @johnnymocurler and @dnedohin, have been raising eyebrows and thus intrigued, I resolved to find out what is going on between these guys.

Colin Hodgson (CH): So John, the comments on Twitter between you and David probably have a lot of people wondering just where all this animosity between the two of you came from?

John Morris (JM): Well, it seemed to really peak in the mid to late 2000’s when every big game we (Team Martin) played seemed to be against Ferbey. David has always been a strong competitor and so have I, so that nature sometimes translates to fire on ice. We are both really intense guys and sometimes that intensity can get the best of us in the moment.

Sass Johnny Mo? Best be careful.

CH: What is your honest opinion of David Nedohin?

JM: He can be a bit of a square. It’s funny, because when we used to battle for provincial titles my boys at the fire hall would tell me to make sure that nerd Nedohin doesn’t beat you, or else there won’t be any dinner for you when you get back to work.

CH: Let me just quote a tweet you sent to David as an example:

Hey @dnedohin, maybe this skins you’ll make more shots now that you don’t have Ron Jeremy calling line for ya #furball #zing

How did you ever come up with that comparison of Randy Ferbey to Ron Jeremy?

JM: It’s pretty easy if you’ve ever watched 1980s porn as well as Randy Ferbey curling in his heyday, when he drank slightly too much beer and rocked an aggressive moustache.

CH: Given the chance that you might end up playing with David in the Skins Game, how many ends do you think you would make it through before chaos broke out on the ice?

JM: It’ll be all good unless he starts making some bonehead strategy decisions. If that’s the case then it may get interesting out there.

CH: Is there anything you’d like to add about the rivalry?

JM: It’s always been a heated rivalry between us. It cooled off a little when Randy retired but this new skins format has definitely refuelled things.

Well. After interviewing John, I thought it would be appropriate to get both sides of the story. So, naturally, I called Nedohin.

CH: I’ve noticed there is a lot of tension between you and John Morris. Having already interviewed him it seems you guys have a lot of issues to work out. What do you have against John?

David Nedohin (DN): John has a hot personality and it’s always been a bit of a detriment to his team. Like, honestly, who snaps a broom over his knee in the middle of a game?

David Nedohin (foreground) pounds it in 2009

CH: What do you have to say about John’s tweet where he compared Randy Ferbey to Ron Jeremy?

DN: I find it interesting that a player in his position would say something about a player that is arguably the greatest ever. He still has a lot to learn.

CH: Over the years the rivalry seemed to be Ferbey versus Martin and Morris versus Nedohin. What do you think would happen if you were teamed with Morris, and your opponents were Randy and Kevin? How long do you think it would take before all hell broke out on the ice?

DN: That is a really good question but I don’t think it would really matter, because Randy and Kevin would happen first.

CH: Is there anything you would like to say about Morris or Team Martin heading into the voting this month?

DN: I think that Team Martin is one of the best teams in the world right now, and also one of the greatest ever. Even so, I guarantee that if I were to play in the Skins Game against John, I feel confident I would win, and would even be willing to put a small wager on it.

Strong words from both players. But who has the advantage?

Although virtually deadlocked in win/loss records over the past 12 years, prior to 2007 the head-to-head score was 15-4 in favor of Nedohin. Post-2007, Morris has a commanding 20-6 record over Nedohin (thanks to CurlingZone for the stats). Either way, if these players are “elected” to compete at Casino Rama, and if certain lineups and matchups are then created, this new Skins Game cannot possibly disappoint.

Remember curling fans, go to TSN.ca/CurlingSkins everyday to vote for the players you want to see squaring off at The Dominion All-Star Curling Skins Game. The athlete draw takes place live on January 17, 2013 on TSN, and the Skins Game follows on Jan. 19-20. You have the power, now go use it!

[Insight Sports Ferbey photo copyright ® by Dallas Bittle; Ron Jeremy photo copyright ® by Ron de Jeremy (rondejeremy.com); Morris photo copyright ® by Canadian Curling Association; Capital One Nedohin photo copyright ® by Anil Mungal – click on images to view larger]

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Sportsnet new owner of Grand Slam curling

L to R: Scott Moore, Rob Faulds, Pierre Charette and a jet-lagged Kevin Martin at today's announcement

TORONTO – This is truly a “Real” Sports Grill.

Immediately adjacent to the Air Canada Centre, home to the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, the Grill is Canada’s biggest sports bar and restaurant. We’re talking about 25,000 square feet of space (not including another 9,000 square feet of retail) with a enormous 39-foot HD TV surrounded by 199 additional HD TVs.

No hockey today, folks. This place is full of curling stakeholders, athletes, fans and media members.

Indeed, Sportsnet made a big announcement today – and it’s not limited to their new broadcast plans for the Grand Slam of Curling series. Sportsnet is now the new owner of the series, having purchased it from Toronto’s Insight Sports Ltd., and will be establishing a new in-house events division. As such, the purchase marks a significant milestone for Sportsnet, as the multi-platform media brand will now expand its diverse portfolio into the events category.

That’s right: Sportsnet will now wholly own and operate the Grand Slam of Curling – the elite series of men’s and women’s curling events, which are part of the World Curling Tour and feature the “best teams from across Canada and around the world.”

“Curling is an essential part of our Canadian sports fabric, and the Grand Slam of Curling is the cream of the crop in international curling events,” said Scott Moore, President, Broadcasting, Rogers Media. “We are proud to own and operate the Grand Slam of Curling, as it furthers Sportsnet’s commitment to producing world-class content, anyplace, anyhow and anywhere and allows us to integrate and engage the sports fan in new and innovative ways. Sportsnet’s new events division intends to grow the Grand Slam of Curling like never before.”

There is clear relief on the face of Pierre Charette, the President of the World Competitive Curlers Association.

“On behalf of the Grand Slam players, we are thrilled to welcome Sportsnet as the new owners of the Grand Slam of Curling,” said Charette. “This is great news for the Canadian curling community as a whole. Sportsnet will operate events that are second-to-none, broadcast more games and take the Grand Slam of Curling to another level.”

The 2012-13 Grand Slam of Curling series kicks off with The Masters, taking place in Brantford, Ontario from November 14 to 18. The series will air on Sportsnet and CBC, through a sub-licensing agreement. Additional details regarding the full 2012-13 Grand Slam of Curling schedule and broadcast details will be announced in the coming weeks, although Moore did mention negotiations to bring the season-ending Players’ Championship to metro Toronto.

As we predicted yesterday, Kevin Martin is here, and bleary-eyed from an overnight flight from Edmonton. Also on hand is a dapper Brent Laing from Team Glenn Howard, and the defending Players’ Champion winning skip, local boy John Epping.

Mark your calendars. It’s game on!

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