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STOH Curling 2012: Women wear the pants


by Colin Hodgson

RED DEER, Alta. – You’ve probably noticed that my blog posts don’t really reference what’s happening on the ice at the Tournament of Hearts. I intend to keep it that way because: who cares what my opinion is of the curling that’s taking place? Am I right?

You may also have noticed various men’s curling stars taking in the live STOH action – guys such as Dave Nedohin, Mike McEwen, DJ Kidby, Mark Dacey, Brett Gallant and myself (although I am confident none of The Curling News readers know who I am, and I am most definitely not calling myself a star).

What do all of these former champions have in common, in Red Deer, you might ask? Well, all of these men’s kings of various events – be they Briers, worlds, Grand Slams, Canadian juniors et cetera – are here supporting their significant others. The other point that seems a bit overwhelming in my mind is the reason I labelled these giants “former” champions. Not one member of this group was able to keep up with the women we share beds with in the 2012 playdowns, ie. the road to the Brier, although three guys came darned close (McEwen, Dacey and Gallant all lost their provincial finals). A little emasculating, you ask? The answer: oh, yes.

This leads me to another realization, one that was kindly and swiftly brought up by my significant other’s father: We just don’t wear the pants in the relationship anymore. Now that is a tough pill to swallow when it comes to a player like Mike McEwen, merely the world No. 1 in CTRS points and in total money earned, and his relationship with Manitoba lead Dawn Askin, who has six recent STOH appearances and three wins, and is gunning for 2012 bronze this morning.

Yep, this can be an occasional raw spot in the pride of the male curlers. As Mike himself says: “I’d like to take credit for Dawn’s success over the last five seasons we’ve been together, but the reverse is probably more true… and her success has started to rub off on my team.”

It's a great view but NL coach Korab still gets stressed out

When I asked DJ Kidby what it’s like to live in the shadow of Manitoba third Kaitlyn Lawes, his blunt answer was: “I might not ever get out of that shadow. She tosses a pretty hard out-turn, that one.”

So Brett (Gallant), what’s it like losing a provincial men’s final and coming directly here to support your girlfriend (Nova Scotia third Danielle Parsons)? “Its always tough not coming through on the provincial final,” says Brett. “But I really enjoyed watching this women’s team play together, and watching this national event makes me wanna get to a national event myself.”

Newfoundland coach and 2006 Olympic champeen Jamie Korab had this to say: “My wife was a good curler from Ontario, but once I started to coach her last year, I made her a great curler. At least there is still one good curler in the house!”

Essentially, this entire week has been a little uncomfortable for us guys in the stands… because we’re usually the ones out on the ice. There is a definite consensus that all would prefer to be out there playing, rather than squirming in our seats and holding our breath.

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STOH Curling 2012: Sugarballs and more

That's right! Sugarballs!

by Colin Hodgson

RED DEER, Alta – Few people would realize the culinary interest or prowess of such high-performance curlers as John Morris or Mike McEwen. However, conversations can often be heard between myself, Mike and Johnny Mo about our recent culinary excursions in the kitchen.

This fire (don’t say that too loudly around Johnny or he’ll get the hose out) and desire to cook might be able to be explained by the lack of… how should I put this… kitchen “flare” that our significant others seem to not embrace like us foodies. However, this is definitely not a shot at the ladies Jenny Gates (sorry hun) or Dawn Askin (who wears the pants in that relationship with six Hearts appearances and three wins).

So, in the spirit of the STOH playoffs this weekend, Mike McEwen and yours truly decided it would be a great idea to come up with some great recipes to share with you all… at the expense of great skips such as Nova Scotia’s Heather Smith-Dacey, Kerry Galusha of the Territories, Team Canada’s Amber Holland and Alberta skipper Heather Nedohin (Kruger Products/CCA photo at left).

Enjoy your “Holland-Aise” Sauce, Galusha Goulash, Heather “Smith-Date” Squares, and Cinnamon “Sugarballs”!


Date Squares

Heather Smith-Date Squares

1 -1/2 cups rolled oats • 1- 1/2 cups sifted pastry flour • 1/4 teaspoon salt • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda • 1 cup packed brown sugar • 3/4 cup butter • softened 3/4 pound pitted dates, diced • 1 cup water • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a large bowl, combine oats, pastry flour, salt, 1 cup brown sugar, and baking soda. Mix in the butter until crumbly. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the dates, water, and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Bring to a boil, and cook until thickened. Stir in lemon juice, and remove from heat. Spread the filling over the base, and pat the remaining crumb mixture on top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in preheated oven, or until top is lightly toasted. Cool before cutting into squares.


Kerry Goulash!

Galusha Goulash

30mL vegetable oil • 1 large onion, finely chopped • 1/2 tsp powdered sweet paprika • Salt to taste • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds • 3 or 4 black peppercorns • 1 med. carrot, cut into quarters • 1 med. parsnip, cut into quarters • 1 or 2 whole sweet paprika • 1 bay leaf • 1 clove of garlic, crushed

Cube the meat and potatoes into 3/4 inch pieces. Stew the onion in vegetable oil over low heat until golden yellow (not brown). Remove the pot from the heat, add the paprika, meat, salt and 1 1/5 liters (1 quart, 3 oz) of water. Add the caraway seeds and peppercorns in a tea ball or small bag (for easy removal before serving). Return to low heat and simmer.

After 30 minutes, add the carrots, garlic, leaf, parsnips and paprika peppers. When the meat is nearly tender (around another 30 minutes), add the potatoes. Serve and enjoy!


Nedohin’s Cinnamon Sugarballs
(Not S**tballs – video here)

1 cup margarine, softened • 2 egg whites • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract • 2 3/4 cups unbleached flour • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar • 2 tablespoons cinnamon • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 400. In a mixing bowl, combine margarine, egg whites, and vanilla extract. In another mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar. Mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients just until moistened. Chill dough until firm. Then, roll into balls the size of walnuts. Mix cinnamon and remaining sugar together. Roll balls into the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place balls 2″ apart on unprepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.


Amber Holland-Aise

Classic Holland-Aise Sauce

3/4 cup unsalted butter • 3 egg, yolks • 1 tablespoon water • 1 tablespoon lemon juice • salt • 1 pinch pepper

Remove 2 tablespoons (25 mL) of the butter and keep cold in refrigerator. In small saucepan, melt remaining butter; keep warm. In heavy-bottomed saucepan or in stainless steel bowl, whisk egg yolks until thickened and pale. Whisk in water and lemon juice. Add 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of the cold butter. Set saucepan over low heat or place bowl over saucepan of 1 1/2- inches (4 cm) barely simmering water; whisk until bottom of pan can be seen between whisks and wires of whisk become lightly coated, 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from heat, immediately whisk in remaining cold butter to stop the cooking of the yolks. By driblets, whisk in enough of the melted butter to thicken to consistency of whipping cream. Increasing amount of butter slightly, whisk in remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper.

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STOH Curling 2012: a foreign world

Mmmm... lunchy...
by Colin Hodgson
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RED DEER, Alberta – Smells of delightfully processed hot dogs and freshly popped popcorn fill the air in the Enmax Centrium. There is a buzz in the stands and a bustle in the corridors as people scurry to purchase the combination of coffee, draft beer, and 50/50 tickets.
This must be the Tournament of Hearts.
Bright provincial and territorial colors are scattered over the four sheets of ice and up in the stands. Look, there’s the Crazy Canadian Beard Guy… and there’s the “Horgan’s Heroes” fan T-shirts, easily visible from any seat in the arena.
As far as the players are concerned, though, this is a foreign world. With little to zero downtime, the Hearts takes a lot out of these provincial curling queens. Most curling fans don’t realize how much preparation and effort goes into performing, day after day, during a competition of this size.
Based  on my interviews with the loveable Ontario team skipped by Tracy Horgan, a typical day in the life of a STOH player is a little busier than one might think:
6:00 am – wake up
6:45 am – breakfast with the team
7:18 am – (don’t ask… they were organized) leave for the arena
7:45 am – pre-game meeting/warm up routine
8:30 am – game begins
11:30 am – game concludes, 15 minute debriefing and run off to scarf down some food. Hug the family on the way by.
Team Ontario with superfan Brent Fleury

12:45 pm – pre-game meeting/warm up routine

1:30 pm – game begins
4:30 pm – game concludes, 15 minute debriefing, sprint through to the Heartstop Lounge for an autograph session (attended by well over 100 adolescent boys waiting patiently in line, by the way)
6:00 pm – autograph session concludes, hustle back to the hotel, jump into the shower and stroll a block down the road for a family meal
7:00 – 9:30 pm – family dinner, with the luxury of a private room away from fans or, in this case, another boisterous family.
For the four main team members, this is where their night ends… but for fifth players and coaches, there is still more to do. Most people don’t realize that the alternates and coaches match rocks late at night after the evening draw. Usually finishing at around 11:30pm or midnight.

Given this inside perspective on how a typical day for a team unfurls – with so many obligations to the event included – I can only hope that fans might grumble a little less when their favorite team has to suddenly rush off in every direction!

Hot dog photo by Colin Hodgson

Super fan photo courtesy Brent Fleury

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Curl for SickKids – with celebrities

Craig Savill is just one celebrity who can ham it up for his charity bonspiel teammates

TORONTO – Guess what, curling fans?

Registrations are now open for the third annual Capital One Celebrity Bonspiel in support of SickKids Foundation, taking place June 1-2, 2012 at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club in Toronto, Canada.

This unique bonspiel offers participants the chance to play alongside Olympic and world champion competitors. Past stars have included Olympic champions Brad Gushue of St. John’s, Newfoundland and John Morris of Team Kevin Martin (Edmonton); world champion and current STOH battler Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg; Olympian and European champion Eve Muirhead of Scotland – who just won her third straight Scottish women’s title – and three-time global winner Glenn Howard of Midland, Ontario, who is once again Brier-bound in a few days’ time.

In just two years, the Capital One Celebrity Bonspiel has welcomed 54 superstar curling athletes from around the world, 200 recreational participants and numerous corporate partners. Meanwhile, nearly $145,000 has been raised for SickKids Foundation – the fundraising arm of The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, one of the world’s foremost paediatric health-care institutions and Canada’s leading centre dedicated to advancing children’s health through the integration of patient care, research and education.

“We are pleased to release the online registration engine for the 2012 Capital One Celebrity Bonspiel in support of SickKids Foundation,” said event organizing committee member Jeff Steski. “Whether you are a committed curler or someone who has never actually tried the sport, we invite you to sign up and enjoy all the fun this event has to offer.”

Given the growing popularity of the event and logistics for only 100 participants, the event is quickly expected to reach capacity.

“Due to limited space and the success of last year’s fundraisers we are asking this year’s participants to have a minimum goal of $500 in funds raised per household,” said Steski. “As in the past, the top 10 fundraisers are recognized and given first opportunity to choose their celebrity skip, and all who raise over $1,000 have the opportunity to choose from the remaining positions.”

Registrations are now being accepted online at the event website: … which features a variety of pages including news, a participant FAQ, photo gallery, donation hyperlink, a list of previous celebrity curling athletes and more.

Follow the website in the coming weeks as members of the 2012 list of celebrity curling athletes are announced, in addition to other event news.

For media related requests, contact George Karrys at For event information including a sponsorship sell sheet, please contact Jeff Steski at or 416- 960-5781 (extension 2).


The Curling News photo of Craig Savill at the 2010 Capital One Celebrity Bonspiel in support of SickKids Foundation is copyright by Anil Mungal. Click on the images to increase viewing size.

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Vol. 55 Issue 4: February 2012

  • Layout 1ON THE COVER

    The Love of Curling is a powerful elixir: Read about five different couples – one hailing from different countries – that met through their love of the Roaring Game?


    Our publisher gives fresh insight into the disastrous departure of CBC Sports from the Grand Slam of Curling contract – in mid-season


    Kerrick Martin, son of Kevin… the Grand (Slam) Marriage Proposal… how the TSN Skins Game will be changing next year… China moves big into world’s curling turf… John Kawaja quoted by Wayne Middaugh… results of the five-rock rule experiment… and more


    Rogers (two provinces), Shaw (four provinces), Cogeco, Shaw Direct, Access 7, SaskTel Max, TSN… all of February’s curling television coverage listed for your viewing pleasure


    Our popular collection of quotable quotes from around the curling world – including online


    WIN a chance to play against Skins/World Champions Team Kevin Koe at your local curling facility!


    One of curling’s greatest fans – and youngest ambassadors – explains his love of the game in detail


    Eight curlers from various backgrounds and skill levels dish their thoughts on what makes our sport so great


    WIN a chance to throw a curling stone for $1 million – alone – or for $100,000 with “professional” help


    Youth Olympics had some positives; but negatives create a call to Occupy Curling


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


    In this edition of The Dominion Club Corner: a lifetime of curling love sees volunteer rewarded with the greatest curling gift of all

  • …and More! Don?t delay, subscribe today!