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Men With Brooms for 2010

The new faces of curling in "Long Bay, Canada"

As we’ve known since last fall, and first revealed back in February, a new half-hour TV comedy based on the 2002 curling movie Men With Brooms has been brewing.

Yesterday, Canada’s CBC-TV announced their fall show lineup and MWB is one of only two new shows featuring next season.

What’s more, the new edition of Brooms stands a good chance of capturing eyeballs, as it will air Monday nights immediately following the results show of Battle Of The Blades, last season’s runaway hybrid hit of ex-hockey players in figure skates.

Incidentally, Blades is a property of iSport Media and Management, rights-holders to the Capital One Grand Slam of Curling event series. But we digress.

There’s all kinds of media today on the new Brooms, such as this brief Q&A with original movie maestro Paul Gross – now executive producer, narrator and occasional cameo guy – and some of the new stars (click on photo to increase size).

The Globe and Mail also kicks in with this piece, from which we quote (with editing for accuracy):

Gross said he had an eerie sense of déjà-vu walking back into the curling rink outside Hamilton, where production took place for the pilot.

“When I first went back into the curling rink, I got this Pavlovian reaction, and I thought, God I’m exhausted … because that’s how I felt making the movie most of the time. I was exhausted,” Gross added.

“But the series has a lovely sort of charm. I thought the pilot was fantastic and the script was really funny. Funnier, actually, than the movie in parts.”

We also like these quotes from producer/writer Paul Mather, from Canadian Press:

“It’s set in the same small town, it’s got the same kind of spirit of the movie but what I keep saying is, it’s a little bit like ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’, ” says Mather.

“We’re not going out of our way to reinvent anything but we’re not matching the art design of the original film. We’re taking some license with that.”

Hmm. We smell a Photoshop contest coming on… captain Jean-Luc Picard gone curling, perhaps?

You can read much, much more from Gross, Mather and others directly from the set of Men With Brooms in our first fall print edition of The Curling News, which will be published in late October.

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Team Norberg calls it quits

The Best Ever? Team Norberg in Vancouver

Two Olympic gold medals are enough.

It may not be a shock to many curling followers, but yesterday’s news conference in Sweden still managed to draw gasps of surprise as it marked the official end of the road for one of the greatest women’s curling teams in history.

Team Anette Norberg, twice world champions and also Olympic champions in 2006 and 2010, have called it quits. Eva Lund, Cathrine Lindahl (Norberg’s sister) and Anna Le Moine announced their retirement, and only skip Norberg will soldier on, although possibly in an off-ice role.

The decision came following the return of the athletes to everyday life with their families and careers.

“It takes too much energy to be on top” a teary-eyed Lund told the assembled media in Stockholm. “The energy it takes to stay on top does not seem reasonable to spend right now.”

“It’s been a very difficult decision to make,” said Le Moine, who left the door open for a future return to competition. “Right now it feels like I’ve quit, but it is possible that I can come back in the future.”

Norberg herself will continue with the sport, but she was vague on whether she would be assembling a new team or moving into a coaching role.

“I will continue to work with curling, and helping young talent,” Norberg said. She added that the age gaps in the sport are a concern to her, and the idea is to help assemble a future team which can continue on without her.

Lund and Le Moine also expressed interest in sharing the knowledge they have gained over the years. Among other things, they want to show young women who, in other sports, usually stop competing after their twenties – that it is possible to combine curling with career and family responsibilities.

As The Curling News Twitter feed revealed last week, Swiss rival Mirjam Ott and her team are not retiring, and will continue on, and target a berth at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Ott lost the gold to Norberg four years ago in Turin, and just missed a rematch with the Swedes in Vancouver when she missed her final shot of her Olympic semifinal against Canada’s Cheryl Bernard.

Lund spoke exclusively to The Curling News shortly after Monday’s news conference.

“It was a hard decision, but the right one for me,” Lund said.

“I am very grateful that I have so many favourite curling memories. Of course the two Olympic gold medals, just the fact that it is the Olympics and due to the long, and sometimes tough journey the team had along the way to get there. On top of the podium, I almost can’t believe it.

“The Continental Cup is the most fun of it all. Best teams, best ice, best format to play in. Skins… wow, we like it. And for me personally, playing mixed doubles with Paal Trulsen was so much fun. I admire him for his skills as skip.

“To all my friends from the other teams and the ‘curling family’… I will miss you all. You will always have a special place in my heart.”

Swedish readers can see a news story here, and also view video interviews with Norberg (here), Lund (here) and Le Moine (here).

Be sure to catch the next print edition of The Curling News, scheduled for late October 2010, for an in-depth review of Team Norberg’s decorated career, and their place in the pantheon of world curling and the Olympic movement. Subscribe here.

[Anil Mungal photo is copyright The Curling News 2010]

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Muirhead and Capital One confirmed

All hail Eve Muirhead's "Guitar Face"

Capital One – one of the sport of curling’s BFFs – announced today that it is sponsoring the new charity event in Toronto June 4-5.

As we’ve pointed out in recent days, the Capital One Charity Bonspiel offers single-entry participants the chance to curl alongside Olympic and world champion competitors, while raising funds for SickKids Foundation, the fundraising arm of Toronto’s world-renowned Hospital for Sick Children.

“The SickKids Foundation benefits countless children in our community, and we are proud to support them in their efforts,” said Ian Cunningham, Chief Marketing Officer of Capital One in a news release. “Curlers and curling fans are big supporters of charitable causes, and this mix of curling stars and recreational players will make the Capital One Celebrity Bonspiel a memorable event.”

The news release also confirms what The Curling News heard a week ago: that Olympic curling heroine Eve Muirhead of Scotland, who grabbed world silver last month in Swift Current, Sask., will be coming to the event.

Muirhead joins 23 other celeb curling athletes, including Brad Gushue of Newfoundland & Labrador, Randy Ferbey of Alberta and multiple members of world champion teams (like Glenn Howard and Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones). There’s also a whack of great Canadian and provincial champions taking part, too.

The Capital One Celebrity Bonspiel is scheduled for June 4-5 at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club… and the news release also talks about a presenting sponsor, who happens to be another curling BFF: The Dominion.

The weekend kicks off with a junior curling clinic on June 4, hosted by the Capital One Rocks & Rings educational program. The celebrity
competitors then meet their “new” teammates at an evening mixer.

Saturday, June 5 features the Celebrity Bonspiel, which includes three four-end curling games, followed by the event finals and the closing
dinner.

Fundraising inquiries are welcome at: sickkidsbonspiel@rogers.com

And hey: if youre looking for More Muirhead, she is back from the legendary summer bonspiel in Ober (that’s Oberstdorf) and, on very little catchup sleep, shes already made another public appearance.

Yesterday, she promoted this summers Piping Live, the worlds largest bagpipe festival, which takes place at Glasgow in August. The Scotsman photo shows Eve honking away (is that a piper’s Guitar Face?)… and you can read about the gig here and watch Eve in video action here.

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Muirhead for Sick Kids

Toronto will soon be All About Eve

Big news is about to be revealed with regard to the new celebrity/charity curling event scheduled for June 4-5 in Toronto (see previous post).

The Curling News has learned that the phenom from Scotland –  2010 Olympian and world silver medallist Eve Muirhead – has been added to the roster of skips.

Muirhead and 2009 world junior champion teammate Anna Sloan will both be jetting across the Atlantic to the event, which supports the SickKids Foundation.

The pair join a field including Brad Gushue, Randy Ferbey and three-quarters of teams Jennifer Jones, Glenn Howard and Brad Jacobs, plus many more.

Muirhead is en route to this weekend’s legendary Bavarian Open Mixed in Oberstdorf, Germany and could not be reached for comment.

Co-organizer Peter Steski played coy, saying “We have a few exciting announcements still to come about this event.”

It will be Muirhead’s third trip to the Greater Toronto Area since last fall. In September, her British Olympic squad captured the Ontario Curling Tour Championship at Oakville, and in October her team returned to win the inaugural Three Nations Cup event at Mississauga’s Hershey Centre.

For a quick look at the extent of the young starlet’s growing fame, check this out.

[Eve Muirhead photo by Anil Mungal, copyright 2010 The Curling News]

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Curling for Sick Kids

Hogtown-bound: Ferbey, Jones, Gushue and Howard

April is not only the month for various world curling championships; it’s also the traditional time of year for celebrity charity events.

Some of these events – like the House of Hearts in Duluth, MN – are still growing. Some, like the Spinal Tap, are still new to the celebrity aspect. Others are struggling a bit, and could use a refresh… and sadly, some legendary events – like the Heart to Heart in Thunder Bay – are long gone, if not forgotten.

Now there is a new event coming to metro Toronto, but it’s not slated for next April.

The event, as yet unnamed, takes place in just a month, on June 4-5 and get this: it’s almost full. A week ago there were 18 individual spots remaining, and as of last Thursday that had shrunk to just eight spots.

And all of this without much promotion. Until now, of course.

The list of celebrities is impressive. As the Facebook page indicates, current curling superstars Brad Gushue, Glenn Howard, Randy Ferbey and three-quarters of the NEW Team Jennifer Jones will be there… as well as future stars Rachel Homan, Brad Jacobs and the budding (spudding?) PEI starlets Erin Carmody and Geri-Lynn Ramsay.

And many more, of course. It’s all in support of the world-renowned Hospital for Sick Children, and specifically their SickKids Foundation. And the principals behind this effort are Toronto’s Kevin McCafferty and the Steski brothers, Peter and Jeff.

“We thought it was time for a different kind of celebrity charity curling event, held in June, after the celebs had a chance to decompress from a long season,” said Jeff.

“There’s just one day of four-end curling games. In fact, there is just as much golf and socializing as there is actual curling.”

According to older brother Peter, a former vice-president of the World Curling Players’ Association, there may be additional skip announcements coming soon.

“You nevah know,” said Peter. “It’s a nice mix of talent, but the key is how the market will react. So far we seem to be doing extremely well across the board.”

The curling component takes place at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club, and the opening dinner will be preceded by a junior clinic facilitated by the Capital One Rocks and Rings program.

So… how to get involved in this thing?

You can check out the Facebook page, or go directly to this download link for the Entry Form. You can also send an email enquiry to: sickkidsbonspiel@rogers.com

Whether you are participating or not, please consider downloading this Pledge Form and helping out with fundraising.

More info to come!

[Photo montage by Anil Mungal]