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Karuizawa Curling 2012: Don’t Stop Believing

Words and images by Laura Crocker

(Click on image to increase viewing size)

Don’t Stop Believin’!

KARUIZAWA, Japan – The tournament has come to a close and everyone on Team Canada is coming home with a medal!

We started our day yesterday with the semifinal against China, who came out strong right from the start. We gave up steals in the second and third ends to go down 2-0 playing the fourth. That end was looking good for us when two uncharacteristic misses by skip Bingyu Wang left us with a shot to lie four. Another missed shot by Wang led to a huge steal of four and put us up 8-2 at the break.

However, the game was far from over. A well-played end by the Chinese paired with a bad end by us led to a three-count for China and put them within three points of our score. They continued to play strong and we weren’t quite at our best, and we ended up playing the 10th end up one with the hammer. We held on, and scored our single for the win… and we were off to the final!

The gold medal game was a rematch of our first loss of the tournament against a strong Swiss team. Before we started, a group of young Japanese cheerleaders, anywhere from about age five to 10 years old, came out and did a routine to Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ on the backboards! It was absolutely adorable… and such a fun way to start the championship game.

We played pretty well right from the start, but we were having a tough time holding them to single points… and as a result, we found ourselves tied without the hammer playing the ninth end. I was a bit heavy on a freeze with my last rock, leaving her a double for three… and the Swiss were now up three coming home.

Best dressed? Of course!

We were pretty discouraged, but we stepped up and put everything we had into the last end, throwing guards in great places so that their double peels were extremely difficult. A great come-around on our third’s last stone was followed by an attempt by Silvana Tirinzoni to chip it out, which ended up a little wide and missed the stone entirely. Another come-around on my first of two final throws (absolutely pounded by my sweepers – thanks girls!) left her a similar shot, a small piece of the rock exposed that she tried to chip out. She just touched it, without removing it, and left us with a draw to the rings for our third and tying point… and we were off to an extra-end!

We played a great 11th-end but by this point the ice was getting really tricky. It was tough to play the right weight on draws, as all the paths were quite different. In the end we left her a draw to pretty much cover the pin, but she had a bit of backing… but her stone hit a slower path at the end and stopped a bit short, and suddenly, we were gold medallists.

Two crazy playoff games for certain, but we hung in there as a team, persevered, and never gave up. And we won!

The boys lost a tough one in their final – down one with in the 10th end and they found themselves with a shot to win. Unfortunately it was a bit heavy and they were sent to an extra-end, where the lead from the Japan Selection team made two perfect “tick” shots. They made every peel from there and the Canadian men never really had a chance; just another example of how leads can win you games! It was a close match that could have gone either way, and we’re all so proud of their silver medal finish.

Drumming with Bingyu Wang

The finals were followed by the awards ceremony, and hearing our national anthem while standing on top of the podium was the sweetest song I have ever heard. The medals are absolutely beautiful, featuring a small emblem of the Olympic rings on the front. And such a nice colour, too!

Once we finished up at the rink it was time for the banquet, and I must say Team Canada just might have won the best-dressed award! The closing night was a ton of fun – they had a Japanese drum show, which was incredible and so interesting to watch. When they finished their numbers they passed out a bunch of hand drums, and we all joined in…but I don’t think any of us should quit our day jobs!

This morning we had a last breakfast at our hotel, struggled to pack everything – you should see all of the gifts we have received throughout the week – and were off to the train station. We were sad to leave Karuizawa, the people there were so nice and welcoming and they made our experience absolutely amazing. Thank you to the town of Karuizawa, and all those involved in putting on such an incredible championship… we were so impressed and we couldn’t be happier to have been a part of this event.

Sayōnara Japan!

After saying goodbye to our hotel and our wonderful interpreters, we’re now on the incredibly fast (and incredibly clean) bullet train, and I’m looking out the window at a gorgeous view of the mountains. This view is definitely one of the things I’ll miss the most about Japan.

The boys are heading home quickly as some of them are representing Newfoundland and Labrador at the Canadian Juniors this coming weekend, but us girls are off to Tokyo for a few days! We have lots of fun touristy things planned, and the Canadian Ambassador has invited us to the embassy for lunch. We’re looking forward to leaving our curling shoes in our bags for a while, and experiencing more of Japan.

I would like to close this final blogpost with a huge thank you to everyone who has been supporting us, both in the lead up to Karuizawa and throughout the event itself. The Japanese people, first of all, who came to watch on a daily basis – never without some kind of gift for us – were so much fun and we loved having them as Canadian fans. 軽井沢ありがとう!  あなたの日本に感謝!

Also, some of our parents were here with us and the rest were awake in the middle of the night at home, watching online streams. We’ve had so many kind messages of encouragement and congratulations from our friends and family, and even strangers who were behind us the whole way. We are incredibly thankful and couldn’t have done any of this without the support of so many of you.

Arigato – thank you – and for one last time, Sayōnara!

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Karuizawa Curling 2012: Pikachu playoffs

Team Canada – off to the playoffs

Words and images by Laura Crocker

KARUIZAWA, Japan – The completion of the round robin finds both Canadian teams in the playoffs!

We finished with a 5-2 record, as did Korea, but our win against them puts us in first place. The boys also had a 5-2 record and finished third overall. A successful round robin for Team Canada!

Yesterday our lone game was against a very defensive Japan Selection team. We tried to get something going almost every end, but their strategy made it really tough. We were tied at one playing the sixth end when a bad miss on my last one gave them a steal of two. We couldn’t continue our take-two-steal-one pattern, and an otherwise well-played game turned into our second loss.

The boys, on the other hand, had a great game and finished their day with a 4-1 record.

With that being our only game of the day, we took the time to visit the Olympic museum. There was a big display of curling: some pictures of Sandra Schmirler‘s team, a case of pins from Canadian curling clubs, and of course the 1998 Olympic medals. It was a really neat little place to visit!

Nagano Olympic medals on display

Later in the day we headed to a gigantic outlet strip mall and did some exploring. Usually this would be just our thing, but with the currency conversions and the numerous store clerks speaking so much Japanese and staring at your every move, we were a little overwhelmed. Aside from Chris, the men’s second, who bought a baby pink “party sweater” (as he calls it), we didn’t make any big purchases.

After that it was time for dinner, which was definitely my favourite part of the day. We tried out a Japanese barbecue place, and the meat we got there was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. It was the perfect way to help us get over a tough loss and feel better for the following day.

This morning we had an early start with an 8:00am game against China. A steal of two in the second end gave us momentum that we hung on to until the game ended in the sixth with a score of 6-2.

To pass the time in between games both teams went out for lunch, again to the restaurant we discovered the other day (with the incredible pizza). Lots of laughs and a delicious meal put us all in a good place for our last round-robin game.

Pikachuuuuu!

Our final match against Denmark was big – a win meant first place and a loss would put us into tiebreakers. We came out strong right from the start, with a steal of two in the second end, followed by another two in the third. After a blank in four and a force in five, we scored a deuce in the sixth to put an end to the game. The boys won their final game against Germany, also needing only six ends, leaving us both with identical 5-2 records.

On the way home from the rink the mountains looked so beautiful that we asked our driver to stop, and it just so happened that he stopped beside three random Pikachus playing musical instruments. Of course, we had to get a picture with them too!

Now that both teams had accomplished the goal of making the playoffs, we had the evening off. We went out for a big team dinner followed by a trip to the arcade for the boys plus Sarah and I. This place was unreal – the four-person air hockey game had an electronic tabletop that would randomly shoot “dummy pucks” around, and put swimming whales on the table to confuse you. There was also a whole section of photo booths with a variety of sayings on them, such as “memorize your beauty and fashion at this luminous place”.

Caption suggestions are welcom

Of course, we had to check it out. They would give you examples of photos with Japanese girls in various poses, and we tried our best to replicate them. Once the computer added make-up to all our eyes (including Steve’s) we got to decorate them as we wished. We ended up with some pretty ridiculous pictures!

The finale of our arcade trip came when Colin, the skip of the men’s team, was trying over and over to win a Mickey Mouse pocket watch from a game where you had to move a pole around, and drop it into a target hole. After several close tries, we all thought he had given up. Of course then he went back to the change machine, got some coins, and got back at it.

Finally, he found the spot to get the pole to drop right in the middle of the target, and everyone went wild. A fist pump from Colin followed by some hugs with his teammates and we were finally leaving the arcade. On our way out, a Japanese man working there made sure he took the time to mock me saying “Oh my God!” after seeing the boys’ winnings, and was beyond grateful to receive the tiny Canada pin we gave him. On our way back to the bus, we realized that in the frenzy of the big win Colin had left 900 yen on the machine. But according to him, it was totally worth it.

We play our semifinal tomorrow morning at 9:00am, but our opponent is still being determined as China and Japan Selection are battling it out in a tiebreaker for the last playoff spot. We’re prepared and excited to hit the ice and can’t wait to get out there. Now it’s time to get some rest for a long day tomorrow… sayōnara!

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Karuizawa Curling 2012: six wins for Canada

Go Canada!

Words and images by Laura Crocker

(Click on image to increase viewing size)

KARUIZAWA, Japan – Six games and six wins for Team Canada today!

We started early with a 7:00 am breakfast (which was delicious again, of course) and then we were off to the rink for Game 1 of our busy day. When arrived at to the rink we saw that a huge group of school kids had come out to watch, so I gave a couple of them little Canada flags… and before I knew it, I had hundreds of little hands reachingwildly to get a hold of anything Canadian!

We handed out more flags, tattoos and pencils, which made us the automatic favourite amongst the crowd. Every time I came down the ice to throw a stone they would wave their flags and cheer; even the kids who had Korean flags tattooed on their faces!

Korea was our first opponent of the day and the game was a real nail-biter. A shaky sixth end led to a Korean three-spot and put us down two playing the seventh of the eight-end game… however, we rallied for our deuce in seven and in the eighth, we forced the other skip to try to pick out our rock on the pin, of which she could see less than a quarter. She ticked the guard, and that gave us our first W.

We had a quick turnaround before our next match, just enough time to sit down for a bit and make peanut butter and banana sandwiches (yes!).  Our second game was against Japan, who played really well and made it another really close finish. We were again down two playing the seventh… got our two back… and then found a way to steal the eighth. A bit of a pattern was shaping up for us and, to be honest, it was one we wanted to break – stealing the last end is tough work against such good teams!

Japanese newspaper story

We had a bit more time before our third game, so we made our way back to the hotel to relax for a while. We caught up with our family and friends back home online and then turned on the TV for some cheap entertainment. Today we watched what we think was a Japanese version of CSI, and it was definitely good for a few laughs.

Our third and final game of the day was against the Nagano Selection team, and this was the best performance we’ve strung together so far. A bit more of a cushion in the later ends made it not-so-stressful on those watching us! A four-point lead after the sixth put us in great shape to finish the game off. The boys’ team also had three very close games today, stealing an extra-end in their first game and playing the eighth end up one with in both of their other games. Overall, it a great day to be Canadian in Karuizawa!

Our day ended with some Mr. Noodles and relaxation before heading to bed. Sarah poured the remainder of her noodles down the toilet, and in the process knocked the ashtray off the wall and into the toilet bowl. Fishing around in there was her nightmare but she managed to find it without flushing it down. Crisis averted!

Today we saw our faces on the front page of a Japanese newspaper, along with the group of children we taught a clinic to on Wednesday. It’s pretty neat, seeing your picture surrounded by mysterious text of a completely different language!

Tomorrow is a somewhat calmer day with only one game scheduled for us, around lunchtime. As always, I’m extremely excited for another amazing breakfast 😉 and ready for another well-played game, this time against the Japan Selection team. After that match we’re hoping to go to the local Olympic museum, and then hot the shops at an awesome strip mall located not far from our hotel. Until then – sayōnara!

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Karuizawa Curling 2012: And we’re off

EDITOR’S NOTE: Laura Crocker has quite a curling resume for such a young lass. Her Wilfrid Laurier squad from Kitchener, Ont. are the defending CIS University women’s champions; she won world junior silver with Rachel Homan in 2010; and she also appears as Miss October in the 2012 Women of Curling Calendar!

Crocker and Co. have teamed up with the CIS men’s champions, the Colin Thomas squad from Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador and are competing – and blogging – from Japan! The Karuizawa International is a legacy tournament created after the 1998 Olympic Winter Games, where curling was hosted in Karuizawa, a small resort town near Nagano.

Over to you, Laura!

Olympic rings greet you at the entrance

Words and pictures by Laura Crocker

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KARUIZAWA, Japan –We made it through two full days in Karuizawa… after it took a while to get here!

After a weekend of training in Edmonton (and of course a little visit to the West Edmonton Mall) we started our Japanese journey. We first flew to Vancouver, and then arrived in Japan around 5:30 pm local time – after almost 23 hours spent in planes, trains, cars, stations and airports.

After a bit of a wait we hopped on a bullet train (where I immediately fell asleep) that runs at speeds of about 300 km/h and which took us to another train station in Tokyo. We got there a little after 8:00 pm, well after rush hour in any Canadian city, and it was the busiest station I’ve ever seen – everyone was either running or walking (or race-walking) at a pace that was way too fast for 18 slow Canadians weighed down with luggage. We once had to cross the main stream of people charging through the station – that was almost a death sentence.

While waiting for our next train, we witnessed the extreme cleanliness of Japanese society. A bunch of cleaning people were waiting outside the doors of our train, and when everyone got off they gave a signal, then ran on to pick up garbage, disinfect the tray table of every single seat, change the napkins behind people’s heads, and of course switch the direction of the chairs – because facing the wrong way would be far too stressful!

The Friendship Match!

After finally leaving our last train we were met at the Karuizawa station by our hotel escort, and headed there. The hotel is really nice; the building itself is beautiful, and we’re told that our rooms are very spacious for Japan standards – a good thing if you’ve ever seen the room that Sarah and I share after a few days! We slept as best we could but we all woke up pretty early, but with just enough sleep to get us through the day.

Of interest: each night our hotel asks us what time we want breakfast, and then has everything ready for us the next morning. For our debut Japanese sunrise we had salad, French fries, croissants, eggs, ham, fruit, cornflakes, tea and pear juice. It was incredible!

On practice day we played a “friendship match” against a local Japanese team in connection with their earthquake relief fund and awareness campaign. We played against one of the most animated and dramatic skips I have ever seen – so it was a ton of fun. Their faces were covered with Canada tattoos and they all seemed quite happy to be here… and we were definitely glad to be a part of it!

After that game we taught a curling clinic to a group of school kids from grades 3-5 (thankfully with an interpreter on our sheet). These were some of the best curling kids I have ever seen, it was unreal! They all made origami for us to say thank you, they in turn were ecstatic to receive the Canada flags, tattoos, pencils, chocolate loonies etc. that we gave to them. They were so polite, and such a pleasure to spend time with.

Our first day ended with a welcome dinner that was also attended by the local teams from the friendship matchups. There were lots of different foods, and what we all thought was a meatball turned out to be… octopus. Jen, who has an irrational fear of anything even remotely octopus-like (calamari, for example), ate half of it and is now scarred for life.

The Junior Clinic: this kids were good!

During the dinner an auction was held to raise money for the Japanese earthquake relief fund, and while it was hard for us to know exactly what was going on, it was really fun to watch. The most expensive item at the auction, worth about 20,000 yen, was a pair of those crazy Norwegian curling pants… and I have never seen anyone as excited as the man who won them!

Our second day in Karuizawa meant our first day of official competition! For Sarah and I, it started with a 5:30 am wake up call… we are not fans of this whole jet lag thing! Our breakfast this morning was, again, incredible – we enjoyed yogurt, buns, croissants, fruit, scrambled eggs, bacon, salad, and something that tasted like a tomato pasta sauce with zucchini and green peppers. Our hotel spoils us!

After breakfast we were off to the rink for pre-competition practice followed by the opening ceremonies. The mayor of Karuizawa and some other important person threw the ceremonial first rocks, and neither one of them looked like they had curled before. They just got out there in their dress shirts and ties, grabbed a Canadian broom from the backboards, and off they went in their sneakers. And both pulled off half-decent shots!

After the ceremonies we had a bit of time to relax at the hotel, and then went out for lunch. We found a place with “Fromage” in the name and thought that sounded pretty promising, so we decided to check it out… and we are certainly glad we did! Just as we were struggling with the menu and attempting to communicate with the waitress, an English-speaking Japanese man from the organizing committee walked in. He explained the menu items and ordered for us – this was such a helpful coincidence! We ate salad and some pizza, but the pizza…! It had the thinnest crust imaginable, and was so light and delicious, and nothing like the heavy, greasy pizzas we have in Canada. No wonder everyone here is skinny!

The Scarf Trade

After lunch it was time for our first game of the competition against Switzerland, while the Canadian men took on Norway. Unfortunately the event didn’t start the way we wanted, and both our teams came up a little short in our games. The ice was a bit trickier today and our opponents, who were skipped by Silvana Tirinzoni, managed it better than we did. They were the better team on the ice this afternoon, but we took a lot away from it and we are going to use that going forward. Tomorrow we have a busy day: three matches against Korea, Japan and the “Nagano Selection” team… and we’re ready to get ourselves back in the win column!

Today at the rink a Japanese man approached us and gave us each a piece of origami, and we engaged in a nice conversation with him – both parties doing the the best they could, of course. Later on, this same fellow later traded with Sarah’s dad – a kimono for a Canada scarf – explaining that the scarf would be given to his daughter (photo at left). Meanwhile, the kimono was such a beautiful piece of clothing… everyone here is just so nice and polite and happy all the time; western society could learn a thing or two from these people.

After cheering ourselves up with a bit of Japanese TV – extravagant pop concerts and ridiculous game shows – we’re off to rest up for our early start tomorrow. Hopefully we can all sleep well and not wake up five times through the night… like I have been doing! Thanks to all who are following along back home – sayōnara!

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Vol. 55 Issue 3: January 2012

  • cover_jan_2012ON THE COVER: It’s a scoop that we published in December that no one has mentioned anywhere – including online.

    What is it? This is why you need to subscribe, folks: our subscribers have been reading this news – and more (see below) – for weeks …

  • POWER PLAYS: RENAMING THE WORLD

    Roger Schmidt reports exclusively from Moscow on the World Curling Federation’s new muscles – and what it could mean for North America

  • THE ZEN OF STICK

    Guy Scholz kicks off the subscribers-only xM section on the joys – and the surprise values – of stick curling

  • THE CURLING NEWS TV GUIDE

    All you need to know about television coverage in January – including something very new at the end of the month

  • INTERVIEW: ALL-STAR SCHLAM

    Larry Wood sits down with Kevin (Don’t Call Me Martin) Allstar, founder of the Bald Power and Swifty Swiffer Grand Schlam series

  • THE DOMINION CLUB CORNER

    Ontario gets shocked twice as Manitoba, Alberta capture Canada’s Club Championship titles

  • SHALLOW TALENT POOL

    The Canada Cup highlighted a growing disparity between high-performance men’s and women’s curling, says Fred Rinne, and that’s a big problem

  • TCN NEWSDESK

    Calendar Girls on Twitter… the Gunner-Reid Tour of Manitoba… the real Cowbell story… Vic and Shannon battle cancer… who was that fuzzy-haired Swedish skip… which Calendar Girl caught Sportsnet Magazine’s eye… and more

  • THEY SAID IT

    Our popular collection of quotable quotes from around the curling world – including Twitter and Facebook

  • …and More! Don’t delay, subscribe today!
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Curling booze ban makes waves

by George Karrys / Canadian Curling Association photos by Michael Burns

Beer ponger Bingyu Wang boogies at practice yesterday

It started with some chats on Facebook. Then Calgary Herald curling scribe Al Cameron – who also spouts off for The Curling News once in a while – blogged this reveal. This prompted the Canadian Press to jump in. Then came this amusing display of punnery from the Vancouver Sun.

The story, such as it is, is that Team World – who are taking on Team North America in the Continental (kinda Ryder) Cup of Curling starting today in Langley, B.C. – have instituted an alcohol ban amongst their ranks.

Stung by his World team’s crushing loss to North America last year, World coach Peja Lindholm of Sweden – who witnessed the Slaughter in St. Albert firsthand – and World captain David Hay of Scotland have dropped the hammer this time.

“We have a code of conduct as a group about how we should be behaving and how we should treat the event,” Hay told the Sun. “In today’s modern world, sponsorship is exceptionally hard to get for any sport. We’re very lucky we have (sponsors) backing this event. In my view, it’s extremely disrespectful to our sponsors to turn up at any part of this competition not 100 per cent fit for the job. We’ve got lots of time to celebrate or commiserate on Sunday.”

Said Lindholm: “We’ve seen players who haven’t been sharp on every shot, and that’s not professional. Are we taking the fun out of the event? I must say this: If you need alcohol to have fun, you must be a very boring person.

“The players are here because they’re the world’s best. They should have a relaxed feeling. We will have fun. We just don’t want the fun to be too much fun.”

Well now… obviously, the secret is out. Curling athletes enjoy partying, and imbibing, off the ice – at the Continental Cup, anyway.
Norwegian skip Thomas Ulsrud, who is once again Pantless for this event, said the feeling was that last year’s team socialized too much.

“This will be the first week our team only drinks soft drinks for a whole weekend,” Ulsrud told the Canadian Press. “I guess it’s going to be a new experience for us as well. We’ll see how it goes. Maybe we’ll be even better.”

Members of Team North America, including Amber Holland and Glenn Howard, appear to be surprised by the Team World approach.

Smile for the camera – if you're on Team North America

“We’re all adults here,” Holland told the Canadian Press. “So I think everybody has to test their judgment on what they have to do off the ice to best perform on the ice.”

“I don’t get it,” said Howard. “I’m so old school. If you want to have a drink, go have a drink. Come on. We’ve got to have some fun out here.”

Clearly this is a growing scandal of epic proportions. Team North America includes U.S. players: what if mainstream U.S. media catch wind of this, and discover that the U.S curling stars do NOT have a booze ban? Good heavens.

And there’s something else. At the 2007 Continental Cup in Medicine Hat, the athletes from both teams were surprised and delighted to see the Chinese women – led by skip Bingyu Wang, photo at top – arrive at North America’s late-night hospitality suite, grab some drinks and play their first-ever game (in wide-eyed wonder) of Beer Pong. It was, trust me, quite a sight to see.

How, pray tell, will Wang’s continuing education in party games continue in Langley? Will Cola Pong or Juice Pong resonate without the beer?

So many questions.

[The 2012 Continental Cup of Curling begins today in Langley, B.C. and wraps up on Sunday afternoon. Consult the Curling TV Guide in the January issue of The Curling News for all broadcast information]

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2012 TSN Curling Skins – Koe victorious over Stoughton

Team Koe with the cheque they are trying to take as carry-on for their flight home ... seriously!

Words by TSN, Image by Anil Mungal

RAMA, Ont. – Alberta’s Kevin Koe added another victory to his impressive curling resume, as he hurried hard to win the 2012 TSN Curling Skins Game and take home $43,900 in prize money over the course of the two-day invitational at Casino Rama in Rama, ON.

Koe was crowned Skins champion after defeating Manitoba ’s Jeff Stoughton five skins to two in the final earlier this afternoon.

This marks Koe’s first victory at a TSN Skins Game and his prize money this year includes $23,600 from today’s final, plus $10,300 from yesterday’s semifinal and a $10,000 bonus for winning the entire tournament. With today’s win, Koe has now pocketed a total of $51,900 in TSN skins game prize money over the past two years.

Stoughton takes home $8,400 from today’s final for a total of $23,200 in prize money won over the weekend.

Koe was in control early in the game, stealing the first two skins worth $2,000 each and then stealing once again in the fifth following a carry over ($5,600) and in the sixth ($4,000) to take a commanding lead. Stoughton, who scored $2,400 in the third end, came back to take the big $6,000 skin with the hammer in the seventh end to stay in contention for the win heading into the final end.

In the eighth frame, it all came down to the last rock of the match – and Koe made a booming triple takeout to score two points and secure the victory, winning the skin (worth $10,000) and the winner’s bonus, worth an extra $10,000.

The overall money results for the 2012 TSN Curling Skins Game are as follows:

·        Team Koe: $43,900 ($33,900 in skins prize money + $10,000 winner’s bonus)

·        Team Stoughton : $23,200

·        Team Martin: $6,700 ($5,700 in skins prize money + $1,000 draw to the button bonus)

·        Team Howard: $1,200

 

 

 

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Radical revamp to TSN Skins Curling

Words by George Karrys, Image by Anil Mungal

Vic Rauter, George Cooke and Stewart Johnston (L to R)

RAMA, Ont. – Here’s the official word: The Dominion continues to ramp up its involvement in and support of the Roaring Game, and has been announced as the title sponsor of the “2013 The Dominion All-Star Curling Skins Game” at Casino Rama.

Chief Executive Officer George Cooke was on hand – along with TSN president Stewart Johnston – for the live announcement during the fourth-end break of the 2012 final between teams Kevin Koe and Jeff Stoughton, and was obviously delighted to reveal the news.

“We at The Dominion are excited to be the title sponsor of the THE DOMINION ALL-STAR CURLING SKINS GAME” said Cooke. “This event will raise the profile of curling in Canada, pushing it upward in the hierarchy of sport – parallel to that of hockey, baseball or basketball which all have All-Star game events.

“Enabling curlers and curling teams to take part in the team selection furthers The Dominion’s commitment to the growth of grassroots curling in Canada.”

And here’s the big twist: you, the curling fan, will be able to vote in advance – online – to decide the competing players.

Interesting stuff.

What’s unknown at this time is what this will mean for teams that have until previously been permitted to wear their own uniforms (atrocious or not). My guess is that each participating team will have to wear a special uniform prepared by the event – similar to CCA championship events – that will feature event logos, such as The Dominion, TSN etc. The alternative would be a cacophony of colours, designs and logos that even the most hardened fan of curling colour might find difficult to stomach.

I’m also guessing that the players wouldn’t be big fans of that – although they are no doubt aware that this is a third-party event which can pick and choose the rules (and the competitors) as they darn well like. A saw-off might see the event sew player sponsor logos onto the provided jerseys, once the players were confirmed.

But if the players were announced just as the All-Star Skins was due to begin – at a media launch the day before, for example – that could mean an all-night sewing session!

There’s no date set for the January 2013 reboot, and the early indication is that The Dominion is on board as sponsor in a multi-year deal, so there are many more details to come.

Johnston’s official quote was also interesting:

“TSN’s partnership with The Dominion extends to the insurance company’s extensive programs and platforms supporting grassroots curling in Canada , including The Dominion Curling Club Championship – the ultimate experience for club curlers”, said Johnston.

“Beginning in December 2012, TSN will air an annual one-hour special on The Dominion Curling Club Championship, as the country’s top men’s and women’s club championship teams are afforded the opportunity to compete not only within their province or territory, but also nationally in the CCA sanctioned event.”

All sounds great. Hearty congrats to the TSN Skins Game and The Dominion, loyal curling supporters… and also advertising partners with us here at The Curling News!

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Vote for your Skins curling teams

Words by George Karrys

RAMA, Ont. – As learned earlier today by The Curling News, TSN is making a live television announcement – right now – that The Dominion will become the title sponsor of the 2013 Curling Skins Game, and will radically revamp the way the four teams are selected for the competition.

We’ve heard that FAN VOTING will determine the four skips, but that’s not all… there is speculation that those skips will then DRAFT THEIR PLAYERS from another three teams (to be specified, somehow) to fill out their lineups.

The Curling News will confirm and post the details as soon as we receive them, and those details just might be online now, as you’re reading these words. Just click or re-click on the “BLOG” tab near the top of any page…

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Is this curling jersey atrocious?

Words and Image by Anil Mungal

Is that guy on the left a "sellout"?

RAMA, Ont. – According to my boss, The Editor, our status as the world’s greatest curling newspaper and overall source of curling news often results in people emailing or calling us with all kinds of questions or comments about the Roaring Game… and often these questions or comments are completely unrelated to anything we have published, tweeted etc.

Apparently, when major TV curling events are broadcast, our toll-free telephone line gets blasted by curling fans who either don’t like this, or don’t understand that, or whatever.

Back in the 2000s, most phone calls concerned women’s curling superstar skip Colleen Jones and WHY CAN’T SHE STOP CHEWING HER GUM IN SUCH AN UNDIGNIFIED FASHION??

NOTE: At this point, The Editor would like to point out that The Curling News has to pay for all of these long-distance calls you are making to our phone line, so folks, please do one of three things before calling us:

1) SUBSCRIBE. FOR GOD’S SAKE. It’s the least you can do, and you should be a subscriber anyway – because you love curling.

2) Please consider calling someone else. Like, for example, the Canadian Curling Association (you can find their toll-free number at curling.ca) or the World Curling Federation (you can find their really expensive not-toll-free number at worldcurling.org)

3) Send us a “free” message through our website. This very website, in fact. Just go to the “CONTACT” tab near the top of any page.

One such message was sent and received last night, sent from a curling fan to none other than Skins competitor Glenn Howard. Ordinarily we might not publish the message, but in keeping with the theme of this posting, and assuming that the writer was actually looking for a way to pose his question/comment/etc. to Glenn Howard himself, and because the message is not impolite in any fashion, The Editor has decided to publish it, in its entirety.

Here it is:

hey Glenn… you guys are so good at your sport & appear to be really nice individuals but “really” those sponsor shirts – they’re atrocious & make it look like your team really sold out….either tone them down or better yet get a new “dignified” sponsor…it can’t always be about the money….mark ward

Well now! With that message, The Curling News is now cleared to post yet ANOTHER image of Team Howard’s Green Machine jersey from yesterday’s action – just click on the image to increase its viewing size.

But we also want to ask you, the reader, some questions: do you agree with the writer that the jerseys are atrocious? Are they ugly? Are they indicitive of a sellout? Or do you think the jersey is attractive… perhaps even beautiful? Is it effective? is it necessary?

Let us know what you think via the “Comments” area below…