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Special report in December 2008 issue

A cool little newspaper called The Curling News has an exclusive on the cover of its new December issue.

A new study by the City of Toronto has numbered the amount of “lost” curlers through club closures over the years. That shocking number is over 8,000.

However, the city is making a new kind of commitment to the sport, through the Toronto Curling Association.

National Curling Development guy Danny Lamoureux weighs in, among others.

You don’t have to be a resident of Canada’s largest city to see how important these developments are – both the acknowledgment of a disaster-in-the-making, and the promise of some real solutions. Toronto stands alone with rather unique curling problems as compared to other urban markets, which are all allegedly “booming” in terms of development. As such, this story is a big one for each and every curling fan.

This story is only available in the print edition of the December issue. You can try to grab a copy at your local club, but as most of you are aware, we don’t send many club “complimentary” copies out. The key is to subscribe.

When you subscribe to The Curling News, you get your copy first – ahead of any other comp copies – and you get it via first-class mail, and in a protective polybag. That’s premium service.

Subscribe today and you will get this December issue, which also includes:

• Brazil? Shmazil… Spain is just one European round-robin away from the Ford Worlds

The TCN Book Sale: just in time for Christmas, we are offering five classic titles at awesome prices

• Report: The Masters of Curling

The Dominion Club Corner: Windsor rebuilds in the east; Monsanto offers cash for clubs in the west

Al Cameron ponders eight separate subjects, including a Kleibrink/Bernard combination

The Curling News TV Guide for December/January

• Can you hit the Million Dollar Button? You might be able to, by registering online …

Larry Wood mulls December’s “final” Continental Cup in Camrose

• Capital One Grand Slam Star of the Future: Winnipeg’s Reid Carruthers

• Québec City is ready for The National

• Rodd Odds and Sods from Teri Lake of Halifax

• Young Canadian artist uses curling in Acadian imagery

Katja Kiiskinen picks up at the Masters

• 2010 championships: Juniors to Québec; Scotties to the Soo; Brier to Halifax

• Manitoba wins Arctic Mixed

• TCN Photo Contest update – with samples!

• 30 Years Ago: an exclusive report on Paul Gowsell’s infamous on-ice pizza delivery

AND MORE!

In addition, be sure to check out our website for a link to order the 2009 Women of Curling Calendar (club edition), as well as the latest TCN Top 15 rankings.

It’s pretty clear who is number one among the men, but the Top four women is an honest-to-goodness crapshoot …

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Olympic Trials tickets

As promoted yesterday by Kevin Martin, Jennifer Jones and a really big stone, tickets for the 2009 Canadian Olympic Trials – the Roar of the Rings – go on sale this Saturday morning. Ticketmaster shall be the place.

Same for tickets for the pre-Trials Qualifier in Prince George, B.C. Those ducats are also on sale as of Saturday.

And in other quickee news…

• Vote for curling here, if you please …

• The next women’s Slam starts in Nova Scotia tomorrow, with the legendary Colleen Jones pinch-hitting for Kelowna skip Kelly Scott. Results should be available here or here

• Speaking of the word Olympic, the 2010 Olympic Torch is coming to a town near you – like Regina, fer example – and you can check out the torch route and your area on this page, via the interactive map …

• Canuck curling coach Paul Webster, who was featured in our March 2008 issue, is the latest on The Curling Show

Duffbert has a review of Curling Etcetera posted here

• It seems that Swedish curling for novices involves helmets… and more helmets. Probably a good idea, actually …

• And finally… the next time your third is getting mouthy over your shot calling, we suggest you drop this pearl of wisdom:

“(W) = (.75)(ax + b(1-z) + cy + c(1-y)) + (.25)(ex + fy + g(1-y)).”

Yes indeed, Kevin Palmer’s brain-bending Curling With Math blog has a new story posted, as well as this recently archived piece

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Rock Solid Curling Outings

The Chad is back.

We’re talking about Chad McMullan, the former honcho of the World Curling Tour and World Curling Players’ Association, back when the Grand Slam was an IMG property.

The former Winnipegger has lived in Toronto since the early part of the decade, and has now resurfaced as proprieter of Rock Solid Productions Inc., a new company unveiling some rather cool corporate and educational curling applications within The Big Smoke.

His first property, Rock Solid Outings, seeks out and delivers corporate curling days from the boardrooms to the curling clubs… and not the more traditional other way ’round.

“Most clubs have dedicated rental rates but they don’t have the manpower to go out and sell the club outside of the membership,” explains McMullan.

“We go out to the corporate community and pitch the concept of a corporate day to them directly, then we find the club that suits them best, in terms of location, logitics and cost. Then we execute the event, so it’s a full turnkey for the client. Everything is done for them from start to finish.”

McMullan provides various options for the client, including access to curling champions… of which there is no shortage of in the Greater Toronto Area. Instruction is handled by a Rock Solid representative or, in some cases, the club pro or manager, or someone assigned by the club.

“We work case-by-case with clubs, however they like to work,” says McMullan. “Some managers have their set way of doing things, others are open to new models. The point is to get their open ice filled and some new revenues, and potential new members, in the door.”

With next year’s Masters of Curling taking place at the Air Canada Centre, plus the big promo bump of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, we’re betting that McMullan will be a very busy fellow.

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Curling Cuties

Goodness us.

We have found the cutest curlers ever – yes, even cuter than these two – and they happen to live in Seattle, Washington.

Watch them in action right here, courtesy of this KOMO-TV episode of Eric’s Little Heroes.

As you can see, today’s quickee blogpost is aimed at merely applying a smile to your face.

And as an added bonus, here’s another Friday Fingerfest – please stretch your digits before attempting any strenous linkclicking…

• Brantford Expositor sportswriter Ed O’Leary is having fun, we think. Of Glenn Howard’s opening SunLife match this morning against unheralded Darcy Garbedian, O’Leary theorizes when Howard’s second game might take place “If Howard manages to eke out a victory”…

• The 2010 Ford World Women’s is going to Swift Current, Saskatchewan. The official announcement is here and a local CTV news story can be found here. Meanwhile, the town also has this season’s women’s provincial, and they’re looking for more volunteers and sponsors …

Joe Pavia has this on young superstar Rachel Homan

• Here’s a Jim Armstrong wheelchair feature for you …

• Speaking of wheelchairs, Germany and – yes, China – are off to the Worlds in Vancouver

• The Mixed is over, and we have wrap-ups from locals townie bastard and also Clare, a local from Arctic Bay in Nunavut who wants big numbers… so, let’s give it to him, people!

We also have a final column from the champ, Sean Grassie… he’s quite a writer, somebody should hire this guy! Hmm…

And finally, we have this note on the Nunavut legacy

• Bear Mountain is close to confirming their top-notch field

• Okay, we lied… looks like she is playing (a little) …

• Only a mere decade into his career as the curling guy at the venerable Globe and Mail, it was still a real shame to see some Globe desk jockey misspell Bob Weeksfirst byline of the season

• Although they did repost a corrected version later …

• Nice scarf!

• Nice license plate!

• Sorry! but this might as well be labelled a new curling board game

Lisa led 52 youngsters out onto the ice recently …

Janet, from Japan, tried curling in Germany

• The Virden CC welcomes two new bartenders. For what it’s worth, we love curling bartenders!

• Golden Ears needs a new club manager, and right away …

• CBC curling host Scott Russell loves that Million Dollar Button thang …

• Grey Power Insurance is back in curling, as the new title sponsor of the Players’ Championship …

• Look who’s coming to Clermont, Quebec …

• The Little Mosque on the Prairie curling episode “Jihad on Ice” (remember this? And this?) is now posted on YouTube. It can be viewed in three parts, all of them located here

• And finally, here’s a major, humungeous U.S. wrapup:

they’re pumped in Kalamazoo, Michigan as the U.S. Nationals are headed their way in 2010;

– KXMC in the Dakotas has a promo story here – including a slideshow – and even a video, located here;

– there’s this spotlight on Indy;

– and this one on Colorado

– and in Simi Valley, California …

– and in Sweet Home Chicago

– and this, on radio and transcripted, from Detroit Rock City

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Russ Howard: Swiss curling coach

After reading this here chat thread about Canadian curling coaches, Russ Howard flew his star pupils – Switzerland’s Team Ralph Stöckli – over to Moncton and then into Toronto yesterday.

Okay, we’re kidding, this Canadian Tour has been planned for a while.

Following a week of training in Moncton, with the Stöcklis bunking in at Russ’ house, the squad made a pinch-hit appearance for Team Steski in the Toronto Major League last night at St. George’s. They lost a close one to defending provincial Silver Tankard champ Bill Duck, the club manager.

In the TCN photo taken by Anil Mungal, that’s skip Stöckli at left, followed by third Jan Hauser, The Olympic Champion Yelling Guy, second Markus Eggler (who himself skipped Switzerland to the 1992 world championship) and lead Simon Strübin.

Today the Swiss hit the 401 for the short drive to Waterloo for the first Capital One Grand Slam of the year, the Masters of Curling.

More on Russ and his charges in the December issue of The Curling News, which goes to press next week. Are you a subscriber?

Lots to say about Slam number one:

• There’s a CBC Slam season preview located here;

Glenn Howard, who has a new interview posted over at The Curling Show, comes in ranked number one, ahead of Kevin Martin (according to us, anyway);

• As Brian Belfry writes, this could be Ontario’s last chance to see the once-previously-retired Kerry Burtnyk throw a live stone;

• Did you catch the announcement of the brand-new $170,000 Capital One Cup …?

• And the one regarding world’s first Curling Rewards credit card – click on the ad banner atop this fine website (and this one, too) …?

• How about the Million Dollar Button contest, now underway and which climaxes at the third men’s Slam at Winnipeg in January?

• What about the not-yet-publicized reveal that next fall’s mammoth Toronto 2009 event – hosted at the Air Canada Centre – has been rebranded as the Masters of Curling Toronto 2009?

That reveal also shows that a secret All-Star men’s team will round out the field – that’s the good news – and that a new $14.00 facility fee has been applied to ticket purchases. That is most certainly the bad news.

What of last fall’s club ticket drive? Those ducats didn’t have a facility fee applied to them at the time…

“TCA will pick up the cost of the facility fee for the package offered last year,” said Toronto Curling Association president Elizabeth Woolnough. “That cost will not be passed down to the clubs, nor to the ticket holders.”

Finally, don’t forget the webcast and television coverage: CBC Sports Online has live streaming of the weekend playoff round (action starts tonight) and both CBC-TV and BOLD will combine to cover those playoff games – three of them – on television.

Anything else, you ask?

• At the Canadian Mixed, the wheat chaffers were undefeated at 7-0 as of Tuesday night and Manitoba skip Sean Grassie even wrote this introductory column for the Winnipeg Sun.

Meanwhile our friend townie bastard is working behind the scenes as a member of the organizing committee… and despite his previous fretting, his photos are just fine!

• You heard about the 2010 Tim Hortons Brier heading to Halifax, right? if not, read this and this

• Guess what: Rainy River will survive

• It’s just a guess, but it looks like the Toronto Curling Association might be behind this Vaughan Today feature. The participation message is strong among three different sources …

• Here’s a cool idea: check out Hamilton, Ontario’s “Club 64” league for juniors …

• 2006 Olympic wheelchair curling champion Chris Daw is in a Newfoundland hospital recovering from a broken hip …

Stefanie Lawton is taking a year off work to chase her Vancouver Olympic dream

• Wisconsin curling hero Bob simply did a great job

• We’ve got just one more Midland, Michigan TV story for you …

• Crash! They’ve had their first injury at the new club in Columbus, Ohio; and congratulations, by the way …

• DID YOU KNOW: that the venerable Wall Street Journal gave us a call today? Nope, we don’t know why either. We’re playing voicemail tag right now …

• Napanee, Ontario is gunning to host either the 2010 or 2011 Ontario Men’s TSC Tankard at their newish $9.8 million Strathcona Paper Centre …

• More madness in Moose Jaw as local politicians are threatened over the proposed $61.3 million sportsplex, which would include a new home for the local Hillcrest Curling Club …

• Finally, Bob Weeks has been dishing on an interesting webstrategy quoted by the Canadian Curling Association (follow-up located here) …

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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!