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Danko Rocks Brier


This is excerpted from the Newsdesk section of the latest print edition of The Curling News, on sale now.

HAMILTON – The following is presented with apologies to Sweden’s Anette Norberg and her friends in the heavy metal band Hammerfall.

But when Danko Jones hits the stage on Friday’s opening night of the Tim Hortons Brier in Hamilton, it just might mark curling’s true hard rock moment.

Light years away from other curling openers – the country-pop of Blue Rodeo, the regional vibe of Ashley MacIssac or the classic canrock drone of Trooper or the Stampeders – Danko Jones, a Toronto-based three-piece with scores of fans in Scandanavia and Europe, is by far the loudest and fastest rock band to ever play a curling event.

Jones, the singer-guitarist of his self-named group, isn’t into sports, and he has virtually no familiarity with curling. “I just listen to music,” he told The Curling News.

But he’s looking forward to the gig. When informed of curling’s legendary older demographic, Jones didn’t bat an eyelash.

“I love playing in front of those (new) people, it’s great,” he said.

“There’s something to be said about playing for the converted, and a lot of bands like to do that. But that’s too safe for rock n’ roll.

“It’s fun. It always yields some interesting responses.”

Idle Sons, Danko Jones, and headliners The Trews open the Tim Hortons Brier March 2 at 7:00pm, on the OLG Entertainment Stage in the famed Keith’s Brier Patch at the Hamilton Convention Centre.

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The curling coin

Heard about the coins?

The Royal Canadian Mint is releasing 17 Olympic sport coins between now and the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The first batch goes on sale today, at Canada Post outlets, RBC bank branches and at Petro-Canada gas stations.

And the first coin features curling. Specifically, the image of a female curler.

The inaugural curling coin, a 25-cent piece, shows the athlete in the process of throwing her rock on a stylized Maple Leaf background. Up to 350 million of the coins will be put into circulation before the 2010 Games.

Petro-Canada customers can now swap their regular coins for the curling quarter at no charge. Petro-Canada retail locations will also sell an exclusive Vancouver 2010 coin sport cards, featuring a special colour version of each circulation coin embedded in a laminated sleeve. The curling quarter sits within a green collector’s card with an additional curling graphic – yes, it looks cool, and is well worth the $7.95 price tag. What’s more, a portion of the proceeds go to Canadian athletes and coaches through the Petro-Canada’s Fuelling the Dream Fund.

Judging by the lineup The Curling News saw at a Petro-Canada internal launch yesterday, the collector-card versions will be very popular items between now and Vancouver 2010. There was also a media launch in Calgary yesterday, featuring three members of the bronze-medal Shannon Kleibrink team.

Considering the lack of attention that women’s curling received in the early days, the coin is a huge step forward, six-time Canadian champion Colleen Jones told Canadian Press.

“I think it’s fantastic that they’ve chosen curling in their first of a series and the fact they put a woman on a coin is wonderful,” said Jones. “There are so many female curlers in the country and so many great players too that to honour the sport and honour women in sports is great.”

Now… the next step is to get a curler on the face of this coin. Can you imagine?

Elsewhere:

• It’s not just the Canadian women who decide their national champion this weekend; it’s also showtime in Scotland (men and women) and Switzerland (men and women), too …

• And not to forget the World Wheelchair Curling Championships, drawing to a close tomorrow in Solleftea, Sweden …

• Hamilton – next week – is under the microscope

• There’s a political scandal with curling overtones brewing in Albany, N.Y – and yes, we’re serious …

• Will we have more clues of What Is This? posted soon? You bet we will. Keep the speculation coming …

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STOH TeriBlog v.2

LETHBRIDGE – The much anticipated first game flew by at warp speed. Still 10 ends (and we used every one of our 73 minutes) but it seemed like a blur. Certainly wasn’t our best game as we lost 6-3 to Kerry Koe’s Yukon/NWT team, but a starting point to adjust to the ice.

This is definitely no curling club ice! Don’t get me wrong, it’s great – lots of curl, lightning fast and great for sweeping. I spent most of my season trying to bring up my weight for the ice we usually play on that’s straight as an arrow, and heavy for the first few ends! Not helping me so much this week.

But the kinks are getting worked out and we played much better in our second game. And I vow that never again will Jill have to give my sweepers a message for me saying “Tell She-Ra to bring her weight down.”

Getting back to that second game of ours…man, is Jan Betker on fire or what?!?! Clearly she had to play well to handily beat the tough Manitoba team but she was unstoppable against us too. Skinny picks here, run-back doubles there, she was solid and despite a couple of ends that appeared to be set up well for us, she stepped up end after end with the big shot.

So, we learned a lot on day one and are adjusting well to the playing conditions here in Lethbridge… and looking forward to continuing the incline in performance and enjoying every second of this experience.

Teri Lake, Team Nova Scotia (photo by CurlingZone)

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Curling Telethon and live TeriBlog!

It’s an all-Canadian post today, because The Scotties are here. Well, it actually starts tomorrow – and can be viewed for a full nine days on TSN and then CBC.

A nice preview story by Donna Spencer here.

Check out info on Sunday’s big Sandra Schmirler Foundation Telethon on TSN below (and pin image at left), one of the sport’s great causes and one which The Curling News is proud to support. But for now…

Live blogging from Lethbridge! Oh yes!

Here’s TCN scribe – and Team Nova Scotia second – Teri Lake, from first thing this morning:

Good Lord I’m tired. But we made it and that’s all that’s important!

Yesterday was a marathon. From checking our online flight status every thirty seconds due to the pending storm for us out East (and the current storm happening in Toronto) we got airborne just in time to miss the bad weather on both ends! The seven-hour flight to Calgary ended with a four-hour wait at the airport for the shuttle to Lethbridge. A very late 12:30 arrival in the ‘Bridge (count it…3:30am Halifax time!) saw these five ladies hitting the hay, and rather quickly. But who can sleep when you’ve just arrived at the Scotties? I mean really!!!

We finally settled in with enough time for a great sleep and early wake up for spa day. A lovely local woman named Angie welcomed us into her home and we took her offer to make ourselves at home very seriously, very quickly. Skipper Jill dumped out the massive bag of pin card goodies and off we went to work. A massage and manicure for five, and pin cards for 70!
Then rush, rush, rush to get our uniforms (I’ll get to that shortly), surrender our TSN head shots, practice, a tour of the Enmax Centre, and now a short rest en route to a reception.
So, I’ve got to get ready now but I’ll be back soon and it will be that much closer to when the real fun begins…

Now, for all the fabulous Schmirler stuff that is going on Sunday, this Scotties week and generally around the curling world:

The second annual Curling Club Challenge takes place during the Sandra Schmirler Foundation Telethon, Sunday February 18.

The telethon is an integral part of The Sports Network’s live TV coverage that day and comes live from Lethbridge, during the afternoon draw of the 2007 STOH.

In the last two years, a total of $324,000 has been committed to the six hospitals in the various Season of Champions cities toward the purchase of vital neonatal equipment.

The curling club that donates the most funds will receive three pairs of tickets to the 2008 major curling events – a pair each to the 2008 Scotties Tournament of Hearts (Regina), the Tim Hortons Brier (Winnipeg) and the Ford World Women’s Championships in Vernon, B.C., courtesy of the Canadian Curling Association. The second ranked club will receive two Reactor2 Carbon Fibre brooms and two autographed Olympic T-shirts, courtesy of Olson Curling Supplies and Team Shannon Kleibrink.

The telethon hotline – which can only receive donations on February 18 – is 1-866-9SANDRA (1-866-972-6372). Rules and details can be found on the Foundation website, in the “How You Can Help” section.

Also, a new limited-edition Sandra Schmirler Foundation lapel pin – featuring the new “Champions Start Small” slogan – is now available. In the center of the pin is the logo of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, which has forearms clasped together around a heart, showing the strength that a united effort can bring to any challenge.

The pin costs $6.00 (tax and shipping inclusive) and it is also available with the French slogan, “Petit champion deviendra grand”.

To order, contact the Foundation office at 1-866-210-6011 or send an e-mail here.

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curlquebec.tv

Just two men’s provincials left, folks.

In Quebec, Pierre Charette “upset” Jean-Michel Menard in the Page 1/2 game and awaits the winner of the Menard/Robert Desjardins semi, which is played this morning. The final is tonight.

Did you know you can see tonight’s final on curlquebec.tv? Well, now you know.

In Ontario, the TSC Stores Tankard is underway with Glenn Howard and Wayne Middaugh pegged to clash in the final for the third consecutive year.

Yesterday, The Curling News watched veteran Jim Lyle outpoint former champ Bryan Cochrane live on Rogers Television (you can also see it on Cogeco) and the memories were already rushing around before we read today’s Morris Dalla Costa piece. Lyle’s team entered playdowns to get ready for seniors – same as Saskatchewan’s Eugene Hritzuk – and, well, now that Gene made it all the way to the Sask final before losing to Pat Simmons, one wonders if Lyle’s Geritol Gang can do the same.

Lyle has a rather tall slide that TCN remembers seeing before. “Nev” Breivik and Ted Smith have been to the Tankard a hundred times, losing the 1991 capper to Russ Howard. Ken Baute has been around and we remember him bringing down the house at a few Port Elgin SuperSpiels.

There were lots of Cochrane memories, too. This is his 10th Tankard, which is remarkable, and we don’t think his hair has moved one millimetre out of place in all that time. Chris Fulton has won this before – he was a charter member of the time-clock-challenged Rich Moffatt squad after arriving in Ottawa from Nova Scotia – and we still can’t believe a tall guy can get so low in his delivery. Jeff Henderson is a Northern Ontarian, and of course John Steski is, well, a Steski. ’Nuff said.

Congrats to Charley but, also, to PEIs silver medallists, who have a very bright future. Meanwhile, the junior women’s final has stirred up a mild case of controversy. Give it a rest, folks.