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Roster of champions

They are the champions, my friend…

Charley Thomas and his M&M Junior men from Grande Prairie. An amazing story. 4-4 in mid-week, the lead’s father suddenly dies back home, his son decides to stay and compete and they win five in a row to win the title. The funeral is this Thursday. Should the Albertans laugh or cry? They’ll do much of both this week.

Mandy Selzer and her gals from tiny Balgonie, Sask., which is about 25 kms east of Regina. It’s the first time a Balgonie team has won a national title, let alone a provincial, and now they’re off to Jeonju, Korea for the worlds. Can you say culture shock?

Janet Harvey of Winnipeg, off to the STOH in London. The top Manitoba money team this year after Jennifer Jones, who is of course already there as Team Canada. Not bad.

Andrea Kelly of New Brunswick. The 2005 national junior champ lost her provincial junior final and wasn’t in TBay on the weekend. Instead she was winning the women’s STOH berth into London. Wonder which event she preferred to play in?

Cathy King. Edmonton’s curling queen is back again, and her squad is a major threat this year. Undefeated in the Alta provincial. That’s kinda tough to do.

Kelly Scott, back in the Scott. The only surprise here is that she entered the event. It’s really too easy to forget that if not for a poor lead stone – plus a bad call – early in the 10th end of the Trials final in Halifax, her squad might be waiting on Torino.

Heather Strong in Newfoundland. They played terribly at their hometown STOH last year, but travelled a bit this fall and had a solid Tour season. They’ll do better in London.

Kerry Koe of The Territories. Same squad as last year, which means Canadian curling’s best female vocalist will be on stage in the Heart Stop Lounge. What are we talking about? Just be there.

Chris Daw, skip of the Paralympic wheelchair curling team in Turin. The squad was announced last month but here’s a look at the man charged with last brick.

• And finally… Colleen Jones (photo). Yes, she’s back.
Amazing? Yes.
Surprising? Not really.
Does she gain more respect with this win? Yes.
Can she win the STOH?
Who the heck knows?

Elsewhere:

Blabbermouth calls it the “cheesiest ever“, but we love it nontheless… a look at curling in KC, and outdoors in Bismark… BOA’s U.S. Olympic sponsorship will be revisited after Turin, and the success (or not) of the Curl Girls could be pivotal… and this story may be the weirdest thing we’ve ever seen. And Blogfans know we are experts on the curling weird… er, world.

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Juniors forge ahead at M&M nats


THUNDER BAY – A tragedy has reminded one and all here at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors exactly where sport should rank in one’s life experience.

And it’s an entirely personal belief. For very few can share the experience of the Alberta men’s team, and in particular 19-year-old lead Kyle Reynolds.

Reynolds’ father was killed by a car at a crosswalk Tuesday night back home in Grande Prairie, host of March’s Ford World Women’s Championship. On Wednesday, Reynolds’ mother flew home but Kyle made the decision to stay and continue competing.

Since then, the Albertans have won four must-win games in a row and are now in tonight’s semi-final versus Ontario (live on CurlTV).

Kyle’s older brother Codey, himself an active player in the Peace region, has been meeting the team at the rink doors after each game, and engaging his brother in a huge hug. Kyle finished in a three-way tie atop the leaderboard in lead shooting percentage, firing 86, 56, 85 and 73 over that span of games.

Meanwhile, black ribbons have been subtedly appearing on player jackets over the last day or so. The story is here, and readers wishing to send messages of support can e-mail to: albertamen@tbaytel.net … other team e-mail addresses are listed here.

• Canada’s Olympic curling TV schedules are now confirmed – until they change, of course – for both TSN and CBC. The cable provider is very heavy on the sport, and the full sked can be found here. As for CBC, which has tons of round-robin highlights and packages and also the playoffs, the full sked will be published in the special February Olympic issue of The Curling News. If you don’t subscribe, we invite you to do so promptly, so you can receive your copy in time for the first day of rock throwing on Feb. 13…

• Overall, CBC is providing over 1,000 hours of Olympic coverage across the sport spectrum, which kicks NBC’s 416-hour butt… and doesn’t even include French-language Radio-Canada coverage…

The Sports Network – no, not the Canadian all-sports cable channel but a U.S.-based online content provider – has updated its Torino 2006 Olympic curling profile and, it says here, has done so in prompt, professional fashion;

• Okay, we missed it: TCN didn’t realize that Korea has an Olympic team already confirmed for both Turin0 2006 and Vancouver 2010

• Finally, the Serbs are coming. Actually, they’re already here. Welcome aboard.

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Democracy in, um, action

Okay, first we have a federal election in Canada, and now this (photo). Here’s the story on whatever that is about. Looks like a fun way to politick, however.

Some great shotmaking at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors, available on CurlTV and also on CBC this weekend. Also, live scoring can be seen here in realtime.

More curling profiles and previews, courtesy of the quadrennial Olympic Games: Sun Media’s venerable George Gross gives a history lesson; the Chinese are obviously siding with the Scots’ 1924 Olympic challenge, although they seem to call curling a “race”; a nice feature on the two U.S. teams, plus another on Team Gushue; and a fun on-ice story from America here.

In hard news, Team Ferbey’s David Nedohin will be with his team at the Canada Cup after all; his father’s surgery has been postponed and he can now make the trip west… Doug Riach won the MCA Bonspiel’s Grand Aggregate title, and a provincial berth, last night… Edmonton’s Cathy King is 2-0 at her provincial STOH but has joined the Swiss fashion trend, which you can check out here… and finally, Anne Merklinger is hanging up her broom, following April’s climactic Players’ Championship in Calgary. She had a great on-ice career, and if we can ever pry her out of the boat, perhaps she’ll lend her talents to curling’s boardroom in the future…?

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Thunder Bay

This is the 56th Canadian Junior Championship (women started in 1971) but the first under the sponsorship of longtime curling supporter M&M Meat Shops. From the shock and surprise of the cancellation of the popular M&M Meat Shops Skins in December comes M&M’s repositioning within the national curling landscape. They’re now part of the Canadian Curling Association’s Season of Champions, and they still maintains support of teams (the Middaughs, Sherry and Wayne) and of course clubs, coast to coast, at the franchise level.

There’s our old friend, and Olympic skip/second-in-waiting, Russ Howard. Russ blew into town Sunday night and is here with his wife Wendy cheering on daughter Ashley, who throws second stones for the identical-twin McGuire sisters representing New Brunswick.

CurlTV is here as well… broadcasting every single draw of this event up to and including the semi-finals, whereupon CBC takes over. Why oh why, dear reader, do you not subscribe to CurlTV?

We’re assuming Chinese is on the menu for dinner tonight. For those who have never curled or spectated in this isolated but warm Northern Ontario curling hotbed, both major city clubs – Port Arthur and Fort William, both co-hosting the Juniors – operate popular Chinese food kitchens. It’s a well-known TBay curling tradition… although it is possible to find a hamburger or sandwich among the fabulous Kung Pao Chicken.

Russ looks relaxed, and there’s no sign of TV cameras setting up for tomorrow’s Canadian Olympic flagbearer announcement. Russ might not have made the cut but he and his new Newfie friends have a chance to carry it in the closing ceremony, beginning Feb. 13…

• We’re still awaiting word from the IOC on the fate of Great Britain’s claim to official 1924 Olympic curling gold (and Swedish silver and French bronze). Exhuming ancient documentation obviously takes some time… and it’s not like the Olympic movement isn’t busy, opening the Torino 2006 Olympic Village just two days from now

• CanRock music magazine Chart is all over the heavy-metal curling story; they’ve also tracked down two more rock n’ roll curling occasions, both of them domestic…

• Great to see a U.S. sports website profile the sport in advance of Torinto. Too bad to see it riddled with inaccuracies. Even worse to see the profile picked up by other media outlets including Washington…

• Still with America, here’s a look at curling in Maryland; and this gal in Mississippi is way too grumpy

• The Olympic features are starting to sprout: here’s one of two on defending Olympic women’s champ Rhona Martin; the other tells of her isolated training in a cell-phone-free area of Scotland

• A whack of women’s provincials are underway this week, including Manitoba, where Kristy Jenion’s third Lisa Roy (see the December issue of TCN) is enjoying a homecoming after a tough ordeal

• The U.S. national field is set, with the winners heading to the worlds in Grande Prairie (women) and Lowell, MA (men’s) respectively…

• This U.S. mag claims to know where to throw rocks down south;

• There’s been minor debate in Canada about TV hockey announcers using atypical slang in describing the action; now a player, Paul Kariya, has taken it to the extreme with a bizarro curling reference

Alberta’s Kia Cup stands to be one humdinger of a tourney ;

• Finally, a report on Robin Welsh, the son of one of the Scottish curlers involved in the 1924 Olympic hullaballoo, who himself served the sport faithfully for decades until his passing last weekend at age 86…

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Curling uproar over 1924 Games

Two posts in one day… that’s what happens when 82 years of Olympic history suddenly gets turned on its ear.

The IOC is now investigating: will the Scottish story prove to be premature… or not?

The curling world is in an uproar over The Herald claim to have exposed this 82-year-old Olympic sporting secret. As explained in the previous post, The Herald reports the International Olympic Committee has confirmed that gold medals won by Great Britain in curling at the first Olympic Winter Games (photo), held in Chamonix in 1924, are now genuine, and should no longer be considered demonstration medals.

However, an IOC official, who declined formal comment, told The Curling News that Olympic archivists have now been assigned to verify the facts, and will confirm the information tomorrow: We’re digging out the official 1924 program, the official said. It’s been 80 years, and we’re going to take another day to look at it.

The news, confirmed or not, has shocked the curling world. If the claim is verified, the gold won at the 1998 Games in Nagano by Canada’s Sandra Schmirler and Switzerland’s Patrick Huerlimann would no longer be the first official championship curling medals ever handed out in Olympic competition.

That year, the IOC stated: In 1998 the Winter Olympic Games returned to Japan after 26 years. Snowboarding and curling debuted as official disciplines

More TCN quotes, this time from the CCA’s Dave Parkes:

That’s very surprising. There’s nothing I’m aware of regarding the World Curling Federation investigating this. It’s highly unlikely the IOC would approve that, even if it wasn’t their initiative. Particularly without contacting the international governing body of the sport.

The Herald uncovered evidence for its claim about the 1924 Olympic champions – father and son Willie and Laurence Jackson, Robin Welsh and Tom Murray, all Scotsmen – while researching an annual report from the Royal Caledonian Curling Club, the world’s inaugural curling organization. Herald writer Doug Gillon then went to the IOC, and an initially positive reply led the Herald to claim Great Britain’s earliest Olympic winter gold medal, even preceding ice hockey in 1936.

We consider curling as an official sport in 1924, read the e-mail reply from Jocelin Sebastiani, a staff member at the IOC’s information management department. It was in demonstration in 1928, but for the International Week of Winter Sports, all the winners of the events are considered as Olympics champions.

In 1926 that “Week of Winter Sports” was re-designated the inaugural Olympic Winter Games, whereupon it was decided to create a separate distinct cycle for winter sports. Only summer games had been held previously, in which skating and ice hockey were included.

Welsh’s son, also named Robin, was aware of the Herald investigation into his father’s Olympic status but passed away on the weekend, aged 86. His son Peter was delighted to hear the news:

My grandfather’s Olympic medal is safe at my home in Yorkshire, he told the Herald. I had been looking forward to telling (my father) about the Olympic gold medal, but never had the chance.

The Royal Club and British Olympic Association were astonished but delighted at the revelation about the Olympic victory. BOA chief executive Simon Clegg told the Herald:

I am fascinated, and amazed that huge authorities on the Olympics have not picked up on this. I’m very grateful to The Herald. The history books will need to be re-written.

Just 16 nations and 258 competitors took part in the 1924 Games, with only three countries competing in curling. Scotland beat Sweden 38-7, and then France 46-4 in outdoor matches lasting 18 ends.

The Herald also reports that one of the Scots who marched in the opening ceremony, a Major D.P. Astley, ended up playing for the Swedes. They finished second after a playoff with France, meaning Astley won an Olympic silver medal. The French won bronze.

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IOC declares 1924 curling to be real gold

The curling world is in shock today with news originating from Lausanne, headquarters of the International Olympic Committee.

Great Britain has suddenly been awarded an Olympic gold medal in curling… 82 years after the fact (photo shows the GB squad in action).

After an investigation launched by the IOC following a media inquiry, it has been ruled that the Olympic curling event held in Chamonix in 1924 was not a demonstration event after all, and has now been declared the real deal. As such, Scotland’s Robin Welsh, Willie and Laurence Jackson and Tom Murray will enter the record books as curling’s first-ever Olympic gold medallists, a full 74 years before Switzerland’s Patrick Hürlimann and Canada’s Sandra Schmirler won gold in Nagano.

This is all news to me, said World Curling Federation secretary-general Mike Thomson in an interview with The Curling News.

I’ve not had time to check this out. However, if it means that curling in Chamonix in 1924 is now being recognized as an Official Winter Sport, we are delighted. It is just a pity it took another 74 years before it appeared as such again.

Obviously this is breaking news, and the ramifications are somewhat unknown, but we’ll keep you posted as we uncover more info.

Elsewhere in our never-dull curling Blogsphere:

• PEI’s Suzanne Gaudet is back in the Scott TOH, and so is Quebec’s Eve Belisle;
• Turin-bound Olympians have descended on Winnipeg… and so has Darth Vader;
• Saskatoon’s Stefanie Lawton is now off to provincials, but Sherry Anderson is out;
• The infamous Rudy was spotted over the weekend, as was this family battle and end result;
• A look at curling in Boise, Idaho;
• A feature on British Olympic men’s skip David Murdoch;
• Is it or isn’t it? A curling crisis, that is? You be the judge.

Finally, it’s another federal election day in Canada, and the publisher of The Curling News – not necessarily other staff or contributors – endorses the Conservative Party of Canada.

Why? There’s a myriad of reasons… and one media outlet listed a stunning 218 reasons not to vote Liberal!

First and foremost is the obvious: the governing Liberals are old and tired from 13 years of clumsy, corrupt and arrogant, absolute power. Secondly, the Tories simply offer the best platform, and unlike the Libs, actually spent more time promoting that than attacking their opponents… which is, of course, exactly what the Libs did. Third, a vote for anyone other than the Conservatives – except perhaps the Greens – is an obvious vote for fear and loathing. And there’s nothing worse for a nation’s psyche than its people casting their ballots on fear as opposed to the strength of their convictions.

And if you’re grumping that politics has no place on the TCN Blog, how about this: the Grits have treated amateur sport and its clear correlation to the healthcare file with absolute disdain since 1993: with no official amateur sport ministry and a revolving door of inept or ineffective “secretaries”. With Vancouver 2010 only four years away, that is reprehensible. Meanwhile, the Tories mentioned sport early in the campaign, offering tax breaks for families with kids who participate in organized sports, and have a potential sport minister-in-waiting. At least that’s something.

Finally… Conservative leader Stephen Harper is a huge fan of hockey – he’s been writing a book for a year and is a king of hockey trivia – and also Seinfeld, often quoting lines from the TV show with friends and staff. Not sure about you, but that doesn’t sound scary at all. It sounds rather hip.

Oh, and in terms of a direct curling connection, see this photo. That’s good enough for us.

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Curlers rock out in heavy-metal video

What an amazing story this is.

They are the defending world champions and the gold-medal favourites at next month’s Olympic Winter Games in Italy. And now they’ve grabbed electric guitars instead of brushes.

Anette Norberg’s powerhouse curling squad from Harnosand, Sweden gets top billing in a new rock video from Swedish heavy-metal act Hammerfall (both in photo), and it proves that curlers and metalheads certainly do rock.

Hammerfall guitarist Oscar Dronjak in a statement posted on the band’s website:

“In preparation for the Olympic Games in February, we joined forces with one of Sweden’s brightest hopes for a gold medal. With heavy metal as a source of strength, the girls can now focus on bringing home the gold.”

On ice, Team Norberg crushed the USA 10-4 to win the 2005 worlds in Paisley, Scotland. On video, the team arrives for a game only to be confronted by their opponents: a wild-haired rock band with dubious curling skills. The two sides battle to a predictable finish – with rocks, brooms and an on-ice drum kit – but not before the attractive athletes have morphed into leather and chainmail-cladrivetheads themselves.

Watch the video here.

Team Norberg in a prepared statement said:

“Our big adventure (Torino 2006) is getting closer and closer, and we are in great spirit! For us to succeed, our serious training has to give space to more relaxing elements. Such an element is this more unusual activity. For our team this has created loads of positive energy and is something that beats everything in team-building that we have ever experienced.”

The song, Hearts On Fire from Hammerfall’s 2002 release Crimson Thunder, will be re-released as a single in Sweden only. Kudos also go to Acuvue, a sponsor of both Team Norberg and the Olympic Winter Games, who helped bring the squad and band together for the project.

According to a past Olympic curler, this is at least the third time a music video has embraced the sliding sport. George Karrys won silver for Canada at the 1998 Nagano Games and is the publisher of The Curling News:

“The Sarah Harmer song Silver Road was part of the soundtrack to the film Men With Brooms, and the front man for The Tragically Hip (Gord Downie) sang backing vocals and also appeared in the video as a curling icemaker,” said Karrys. “And in 1998, another Canadian band called Gob went curling in their video for You’re Too Cool.

“But this is the first time any curling team, let alone Olympians, have done anything like this. It’s completely over the top and I think it’s great.”

Nine years after their chaotic on-ice experience, pop-punksters Gob remain fond of the ancient sport known as The Roaring Game.

“We are huge fans of the sport, we think it’s pretty fascinating,” said lead guitarist Theo Goutzinakis. “We spent $2,500 on that video. Aside from bruised knees, and broken brushes – and we lost a curling rock during the shoot – all went according to plan.

“We were originally going to call that album Music To Curl To.”

Norberg and teammates Eva Lund, Catharine Lindahl and Anna Bergstrom have won five consecutive European championships and open their Olympic campaign Feb. 13 against Canada’s Shannon Kleibrink. Many pundits are predicting that matchup to be a preview of the eventual gold-medal final.

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Flag flap: take a pill

Well, the hullaballoo over the Canadian Olympic flagbearer has now exploded, as it does with eye-rolling monotony every two years. We even have The Big Cat (leading the 2002 pack in photo) and Don Cherry taking swipes at each other. For the record, we pick The Cat to win. Easily.

As reported here yesterday, multiple Canadian Olympians are now declining to be considered for flagbearer honours. Ever think it might have nothing to do with Games prep and peak performance and everything to do with media hysteria? Perhaps the COC should just drop the whole thing and have our Italian ambassador do the honours. Or the RCMP constable assigned as head of Canadian team security. Or perhaps the owner of the San Carlo, we hear he has a cousin living in Canada. Twice removed.

Anyway, the Globe’s Bob Weeks teamed up with amateur sport beatster James Christie for today’s curling-oriented look at the controversy, and Russ Howard‘s increasing chances of grabbing the flag. There will be two alternates chosen as well, so he should be a slam dunk for one of those spots – surely? Meanwhile, Russ’ daughter Ashley, who is headed off to Saturday’s M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors in Thunder Bay, reports that her dad is an accomplished board-jumper. We did not make this up.

• Speaking of media hysteria, Winnipeg’s MCA Bonspiel is underway this week and locals are bleating about the phenomenon known as the continually shrinking entry list. Actually, this year’s whingeing isn’t really whingeing at all; sounds like acceptance has hit that market. Incidentally, Toronto’s almost-equally-impressive TCA Energizer city championship recently wrapped up, with the results available here.

David Nedohin will miss Team Ferbey’s trip to Kamloops for the Strauss Canada Cup; his father is headed into hospital for cancer surgery that weekend. Former Trials skip / Kevin Martin teammate /alleged troublemaker Kevin Park will replace him, and throw skip rocks. The last time Ned was replaced – by Kerry Burtnyk in Switzerland back in October – the Ferbs won.

Be sure to check out tomorrow’s Blog: you won’t believe your eyes.

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Russ for flagbearer? It could happen

Former CFL Grey Cup-winner Jan Carinci is part of the New Brunswick lobby group attempting to get Russ Howard the Olympic flagbearer gig. The Canadian Olympic Committee will announce the elected athlete – plus two alternates – on Jan. 26 during a live news conference from both Calgary and Montreal.

Howard was originally thought to have no chance. However, the Toronto Star is reporting that some prominent Canadian Olympians have withdrawn their names from consideration. Included is Beckie Scott, the 2002 Olympian in cross-country skiing who won bronze but was then upgraded to silver and then again to gold almost two years later, due to Russian doping violations.

Scott is also an avowed anti-doping crusader and was the betting man’s choice for the flagbearer’s job. Now, Russ has a real shot at the flag. Pinerolo’s curling event starts on Feb. 13, just a couple of days after the opening ceremony, but that’s plenty of time for a seasoned veteran to overcome the alleged pressures of the flagbearer’s task, and gear up for competition.

Memo to Mr. Carinci: good move talking up Russ’ legacy, but it may help to mention that Russ is one of only two curlers in history to compete in all four Canadian Olympic Trials qualifiers (including the 1991 Brier, which served as the Trials qualifier for Albertville 1992). The second athlete? His brother, Glenn Howard.

Naturally, it’s more than just sport. As Jackie DeSouza, COC director of communications, told the Calgary Herald:

They must be a role model for Canadians. It must be someone who relates through their personal behaviour the Olympic ideals and values. Really, we look at body of experience both inside and outside of sport. This is someone that we can hold up as someone that exemplifies the Olympic values.

If CBC TV cameras suddenly show up in Thunder Bay on Jan. 25, we’ll know that curling has its first Canadian Olympic flagbearer. You see, Russ will be in northern Ontario watching his daughter Ashley Howard (second from bottom of photo) compete at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors, which start Saturday (finals on CBC Jan. 28 and 29).

• CBC has released the massive list of broadcast talent – including 13 decorated Olympians – working the upcoming Torino 2006 Olympic Games, and as expected, the team of Don Wittman, Joan McCusker and Mike Harris will handle curling. This for both the CBC main network and also TSN, but schedule info is still to come.

• CBC’s Olympic website is also humming along with fresh, updated content and a new look. Their equally-impressive curling page is located here. Not to be outdone is the COC site, which is far too light on curling content but does have an interactive curling game front and centre on the home page. And finally, in terms of websites, CurlTV has enhanced its alliance with the Canadian Curling Association, as this newser describes.

• Some Wednesday notes… the Winnipeg Sun’s Jim Bender has torn a strip off the World Curling Tour; five curlers from Lindsay, Ontario are aiming for a curling trip to Japan, but only seniors seem to be invited; and there are two Merklingers competing in next week’s Ontario Scott provincial, plus another as coach, but none of them are named Anne. And none are representing their hometown of Ottawa. Confused? So are we. Joe explains

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Chicks With Sticks?

No, it’s not the sequel to Men With Brooms, it’s a Japanese curling movie called Simsons, which follows four girls in their attempt to qualify for Japan’s 2002 Olympic curling team. Apparently, two of the actors are athletes and will compete for Japan next month in Turin. The movie isn’t even out yet – it’s scheduled for a Feb. 18 release – but the film’s videoblog is raising quite a ruckus in Japan, crashing servers with over 50,000 daily page views. Here’s the story.

Whoops… sorry about that, here’s the story in English 😉 And another one here.

There’s lots more happening on a vibrant Monday, so without further ado…

• The town of Chilliwack in British Columbia will host the fall return of curling’s Ryder Cup, aka the Continental Cup, or so sayeth the local blat;

• There’s a domestic hullaballoo brewing, with the source dishing two somewhat differing stories in the public forum. Both versions concern the funding problems of the Canadian Curling Association and focus specifically on a junket four CCA exes took to Germany during December’s Olympic Trials. First, Ontario Curling Report editor Bob Weeks ran an editorial, which is posted here, with irate consumer feedback following and also posted here. Today, Weeks’ Globe and Mail story is clearly more balanced – for starters, it’s not an editorial – and includes quotes with CCA chief Dave Parkes. Naturally the curling public – still giddy over their unexpected victory in lobbying for the return of TSN coverage this season – shall be the judge, jury and executioners

• British Olympic skip Rhona Martin is done talking about her personal problems and wants to focus on training; the story also points out that there has been no national Scottish curling sponsor either, since the Bank of Scotland shifted gears a year ago…

• Canada’s Global National newscast did a weekend piece on the new school curling curriculum in Manitoba, which you can read about in the next issue of The Curling News;

• Two-time world champion Marilyn Bodogh is back in the Ontario provincial for the first time since 1999. This season also marks the two-decade anniversary seasons of both her wins, in 1986 and 1996 (a sign?). As a Sportsnet commentator she may have her detractors, but as a player she still gives good quote. One example:

I’m surprised I’ve lasted in the game this long. I shouldn’t be playing. I should be getting kicked around by a lot of good young teams, but there’s not enough of them. They’re not as committed, not the way we were 20 years ago. We can’t have just one Jenn Hanna. We need five Jenn Hannas, 10 Jenn Hannas, but somewhere across the bridge something’s been missed in that transition from junior.

And Fort Frances (the provincial) is six hours by plane and car and that’s ridiculous. Nothing against Fort Frances – I can’t wait to get there – but you’d never see the men put someplace like that.

• Calgary’s Shannon Kleibrink went 3-4 in Berne while Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones won the event. Jones actually eliminated Kleibrink in a C-side qualifier en route to the title…

• New Zealand’s first-ever Olympic curling team won the Big Chief Bonspiel in Brantford, Ont. yesterday – second Dan Mustapic is a former Brantford and Thunder Bay Canuck – and they’re off to Winnipeg this week for the legendary MCA Bonspiel. The squad left the Pacific between Christmas eve and Jan. 6, will train in Canada (mostly Calgary) and Japan before heading to Turin, and will not return home until March 2. Said third man Hans Frauenlob, the only Olympic curler to win two MLB World Series rings: Hopefully, we’ll still have our families and jobs (when we return)

• More fallout from Cassie Johnson‘s outdoor curling appearance in Central Park: officially here, unofficially here and also from this guy, who states that “Cassie’s hot but I wouldn’t want to date her”…

• And finally, a where are they now? story from the hockey world spotlights another curler with a victory ring in another sport, and the WCPA’s Paul Boutilier is quoted nicely:

Curlers are great people with terrific personalities who simply need to become more well-known. It’s now my job to get them the exposure and the opportunities they deserve. There isn’t a better job in the world.