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The Curling Decade

Santa has come and gone – gone curling, but of course! – and it’s time to welcome a new curling decade.

The Curling Guru took a quick snapshot look back at the past curling decade in this Sun Media column released on Monday.

A rival scribe from the Glob & Flail is currently soliciting “best ofs” the curling decade for his own similar column, and so we also ask: what are some of your most memorable curling memories from 2000 through 2009?

Feel free to include any personal curling memories that may not have been recognized by the general public. End-of-year lists are supposed to be fun, after all.

Happy New Year – er, Decade – everyone!

[Barcroft Media photo by Mark Clifford]

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A Christmas Curling Carol

Christmas is coming… and TCN publisher George Karrys has this curling take on the Charles Dickens holiday classic, as it appeared Monday in his weekly Sun Media column.

Which do you prefer: Ebenezer Martin, or Kevin Scrooge? (Photoshop job of Kevin Martin by Anil Mungal)

For more curling news, be sure to follow the TCN Twitter feed. We had planned to celebrate our one-thousandth Tweet but, whoops, it looks like we passed that milestone a while ago, and currently sit at more than 1,400 postings (as of Thursday morning).

We hate it when that happens!

Among the awesome curling newsworthys you will find are:

• Team Cheryl Bernard gets their Olympic tattoos

• 130-year-old outdoor curling clubs hits the ice

• CTV Olympics video player allows you to “call the play” from previous Olympic moments, and the CTV guys are huge fans of one such video for the 2006 Olympic men’s curling final

• Men’s, women’s and junior playdown results

• Merry Ho Ho greeting from the Swiss Olympic women

• VANOC Marketplace offers Olympic curling tickets for legal re-sale

• Team Ferbey makes list of Top 10 team sport dynasties of the decade

And more. So much more.

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Olympic Trials Postscript

Roar_Bernard fans_sm

by Margo Weber
As I write this I can barely keep my eyes open. Immediately upon completion of this blogpost, I will put my kids into bed and fall into the sack myself.
What a week! I had a blast trying to come up with stuff to fill up your brains. I can’t wait for the Olympics. My girlfriends are discussing a girls trip out to Vancouver (oh my GAWD). We’ll see, I think my husband and kids are attention-starved right now. The good news is, there is NO curling this week to distract me.
Here’s a final pic from my camera… in the midst of the Team Cheryl Bernard fan club, who dressed up to the nines in their black-and-whites.
Thanks to my editor, gk, for being pretty much unavailable and for making me want to gouge my eyeballs out. However, I did have fun and enjoyed hearing ‘What’s up Playah!?’ from my friends in the Patch.
Congrats to The Curling News on a fantastic new web site… and don’t forget to check out the @curling Twitter feed (gk and I have a relationship eerily similar to John Mayer and Jennifer Aniston; he spends more time twittering than discussing curling with me.)
I also got a Facebook message from TCN yesterday; apparently there’s a super subscription deal on, but only until the end of… tomorrow, as in December 15.
Subscribe before the end of the day and get three extra issues tacked onto your subscription, and if you happen to give a gift subscription, gk and co. will mail a special card to the recipient, in time for next week’s holidays, naming you as the gift-giver. Not bad.
So why not just give’r! Head to the website for the PayPal thing, or ring them at 1-800-605-CURL (or +1 905 887 1261).

Until next time… good couch curling!

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Dude is gonna be a star

by Margo Weber

Okay, so I didn’t go to the final game, and watched it at my in-law’s house. They had a pre-Christmas dinner. We do more than one Christmas on that side of the family.
As soon as the game was over and last rock was thrown… the TV was turned off. Sigh. My favourite part… and I missed it.

I don’t have much to say about the game, except for the obvious: the Kevin Martin squad was the team to beat. They played better, they were just plain better. They will be our best representatives from a skill standpoint… not that I’m in love with his international record but hey, let’s not beat a dead horse here.
I still see some shiny medals coming home to Alberta. I suspect gold in colour, but who knows.

I look forward to seeing how outrageous the John Morris campaigns will be. I’d imagine we’re going to be seeing him rake in some serious cash for advertisements etc. Especially if he helps bring home the gold. Right now, every curling fan in Canada knows who he is. The Olympics are a whole different animal. Dude is gonna be a star.

I like to think of opportunities for curlers at a time like this. The Martin and Cheryl Bernard team members are funded to the tune of $1,500 each a month, tax-exempt, for 30 months. And if they win gold, it will be even more profitable to stick it out and curl and curl and curl and curl and in some cases, treat it like a job.
Don’t get me wrong, nobody’s getting rich curling. But things like getting cash for Olympic medals (is it still $20,000 for gold?) certainly help out the wallet.
Just don’t blow it all on souvenirs.
Photo caption:
KMART: Geez young fellah, you are so gonna overshadow me in Vancouver!
JMO (contemplatively): Yes. I know.
[CCA photo by Michael Burns]
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These girls are Olympians

by Margo Weber
Hurry HARD! Go BerNARD!

I write this blogpost still excited about last night (and very tired, that was my latest night in the Patch for sure.) You see, I have a confession. Susan O’Connor (photo left) from Team Cheryl Bernard is one of my best friends (me at photo right). We’ve been friends since we were early teens and I had the pleasure of being her Maid of Honour this summer at her wedding to Todd Brick (now there’s a curling name, eh?).

I would have been really happy with a Shannon Kleibrink win yesterday too, and I admit I’m a closet Amy Nixon fan. But I most of all was sick to my stomach nervous for a win for my friend. And I got it. When that rock stopped I jumped and jumped with my arms in the air. I sat with that crazy crowd of striped scarves and cheered and screamed and didn’t care who heard.

Susan deserves to go to the Olympics more than anyone I know, she played great all week. She plays with class. She never says anything bad about anyone. She loves her team. She has faith in her skip. And now she is an Olympian and I’m so proud.

I went to the winners banquet last night and it was so neat to talk to her family and the families of the rest of the players. They are so excited, as most of them didn’t dare to think about what would happen the next couple months. They are all going to try their best to find a way to go to Vancouver and see their loved ones play for Canada.

No matter what happens, these girls are Olympians. That can never be taken away. They are now part of a fraternity of brothers and sisters forever. Last night legendary Olympic rower Marnie McBean came up and introduced herself to Susan and said ‘Congratulations, you are now one of us.’ It was very cool. Russ Howard gave Sue the advice that she would have to ‘learn to say no.’ Haha! What a ride my friend will be on.

Way to go Cheryl, Susan, Carolyn and Cori!

Cute tidbits from last night:

Each player had to pee 90ML into a cup, sternly watched. This apparently took at least a half an hour each person, and one player (I’m not gonna say who!) had to go back again after the party.

When I went up to the Patch bar to buy some drinks with Sue’s hubby, Todd, he said to the bartender ‘My wife is going to the Olympics!’ and the bartender said ‘What sport?’  It was hilarious.

Looking forward to the men’s final, just now underway. Will it be another close one? Can’t wait.

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Curling immortality

by Margo Weber
EDMONTON – Oh, what a night.
Here’s a pic I snapped from last night’s women’s final at the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, aka the Olympic Curling Trials.
This is the quick scrum they do for media with immediate deadlines – this used to be just the print guys, but now everybody wants everything they can get right NOW – right after the last rock, and before the march down the ice to the podiums, and the TV finale.
There’s more media scrumming afterwards, of course, and you can see the interviews with champion Cheryl Bernard and finalist Shannon Kleibrink here.
Awesome to see Bernard family members, including Cheryl’s husband Terry Meek in the foreground (in the Bernard jacket), watching her take that big step into curling immortality.
I’ve got another post regarding the women’s match before the men’s final today, so stay tuned… but for much, much more on all this great stuff (including another one of my pics from last night) make sure you subscribe to/follow/whatever the TCN Twitter feed, located here.
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Night at the Patch

by Margo Weber
EDMONTON – Last night was a good one for those that like a party, but the gist amongst the crowd was that tonight, the final night, will be the big one. Can’t wait!
Here’s some fun things you would have heard and seen if you were at the Patch last night…
• TSN talkie Ray Turnbull confirmed his departure from TV after this year, to much resounding boos from the audience. He also confirmed his homosexual relationship with Tiger Woods.
Kari MacLean from Team Krista McCarville had a steady line-up of males waiting to talk to her.
Kevin Koe’s wife, Carla, walked up to Wayne Middaugh and said “Wayne, I could have made those two shots with my hiking boots on.”
Susan O’Connor of Team Cheryl Bernard promised to be the ‘drunkest girl in the patch’ after their final game tonight, regardless of outcome.

• The rest of Jason Gunnlaugson’s team wanting to get in on autographing some boobs (heavily censored photo above).

• A re-cap on the big screen from the night before when Middaugh third Jonathan Mead danced around in undershorts (his) and a black bra (some else’s).
Patch it up, folks! It’s always a party!
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Trials All-Star Hotties

by Margo Weber
EDMONTON – Come on. You read the blog mayhem from the Calgary Brier, right?
You know I had to “go there” eventually, right?
Okay, here they are… the long awaited All Star Hottie Teams at these here Tim Hortons Canadian (Olympic) Curling Trials.
I give no explanation for my picks, except for sheer hotness. There is a serious Alberta flavour here, but I did try not to be biased. Remember, there were six Alberta teams in the field…

I caught a lot of heck – Dalene Heck? – for my Brier picks, but I think these choices are, for the most part, obvious. Whatever.

MEN

Fourth – David Nedohin
Third – John Morris
Second – Carter Rycroft
Lead – The farmer from the Dekalb TV commercials. Note: there are two farmers, I’m talking about the scruffy cute one.

WOMEN

Skip – Crystal Webster
Third – Jeanna Schrader
Second – Sheri Singler
Lead – Chelsey Bell

** My husband wants a disclaimer here that his picks are Jennifer Jones, Kim Schneider and Kari MacLean and he thinks I should be playing lead on one of these teams. To THAT I say I’d have to start going to the gym.

Agree with my picks? Disagree? Feel free to discuss!

[CCA photo of Morris by Michael Burns]
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Latvia makes curling history

Meet Iveta Stasa-Sarsune, everyone.
Iveta… meet everyone.
This gal has played quite well for Latvia at the past two World Mixed Doubles Championships (in Italy and Finland, respectively) but she and her teammates took it to another level at the 2009 Le Gruyere European Curling Championships in Aberdeen, Scotland this past week.
Team Latvia won the B-pool and then defeated Finland (skipped by TCN correspondent Katja Kiiskiken) in a best of three World Challenge series to qualify for the 2010 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.
This remarkable result comes on the heels of a recent medal scored by the Latvian men’s team, in the B-pool of the 2007 Europeans at Fuessen, Germany.
Congratulations to Iveta and all curling-mad Latvians! If your cheering squad is anything like that of the legendary Latvian hockey fans, Swift Current will be rocking out!

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[Photo by Bob Cowan]