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The Curling News April 2013: Digitally enhanced

Cover of the April 2013 issue

Our final print issue of this 2012-13 season is out and about, and has been arriving in mailboxes this week. And once again we’ve produced a great collection of stories, expert and amateur opinions, news bits and bites, quotable quotes, tales of delight and woe, brilliant action photography (Photos of the Year), specific curling TV/web coverage listings through April and the months ahead… and so much more.

We also celebrate the accomplishments our own; not one but two The Curling News writers who recently received awards for their work.

This is where we usually point out that the contents of each issue of The Curling News can’t be found anywhere else – not on this popular blog, not through our Facebook page, nor from our rockin’ Twitter feed – and that you should subscribe to ensure you can count yourself among The Most Informed Curling Fans™ in existence. But since we beg and plead often enough, we figure, let’s switch it up and offer something different.

For the second year in a row, our April finale is available online, free to one and all, as a digital issue. Moreover, it’s an enhanced and super-sized edition, bursting with extra pages of content and digital links. Turn each page and let your cursor roam over text, images, even advertisements – and you’ll see and hear multiple hyperlinks available for you to click on.

It’s all about more, more, MORE – and we think you’ll like what we’ve assembled for you. From us to you, from one small collection of curling fans to the entire curling world.

We’ve got a new promo box on our homepage that can lead you straight to this digital special – or you can simply click here to be sent there directly. If you’d like to share this digital edition with anyone, please feel free to use this customized shortlink: bit.ly/TCNdigital.

Check it out, share it, and let us know what you think. And if you like what you see, please consider subscribing to The Curling News. We appreciate your support… from one small collection of curling fans to another!

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Riga 2013: A beautifully normal curling life

From “Photos of the Year” bonus pages in the all-digital version of April’s The Curling News, available tomorrow at: www.thecurlingnews.com
by Stephanie LeDrew
Did all that really happen, or did I just dream it?
It’s hard to believe that in the last two weeks I’ve flown over 14,000 kilometers, slept in six different beds (including multiple airplane seats and one airport bench) in three different countries, laughed and cried in all three nations, and made it all the way back home – with a world bronze medal to show for it.
Going into these events, you never consider what your “next best thing” will be. You focus only on your goal, and no one’s goal is to win a bronze medal. So what do you do when you’re so unprepared for that feeling, and it happens?
It’s strange to feel as though you’ve come up short of your goal and yet finished the week off on a high note, mustering up as much pride as you can for your achievement. Suffering the greatest loss of your athletic career is an indescribably awful feeling. You’ve prepared your whole life for this. You’ve trained and sacrificed endless hours in anticipation of this very moment. You left everything you had on the ice, and it wasn’t enough – but you’d better get over it quickly, because you’ve got a bronze medal game to play in less than 12 hours.
This will now be your chance at redemption. Your last hurrah, your final hope of mustering something to be proud of and ending the week on a high note.
You cannot imagine the mental toughness it takes to pull yourself together in this situation – but pull together we did.
Canada – with coach Earle Morris
We walked into the arena that bronze morning with pure determination, in spite of our own feelings of loss and shortcoming. There was absolutely no way we were going home without a medal. I almost felt sorry for Team USA; they had no idea about the ANGRY FREIGHT TRAIN they were about to face.
We gave up an early deuce in the second end, but that’s where the mercy ended. We took a three-ender right back and set the cruise control until the finish, with our fearless skipper Rachel Homan shooting a ridiculous 94 per cent game.
That’s how you bounce back.
Later that day, when the roller coaster of emotions was slowing down, we stepped onto the podium and received our medals and bouquets. And something magical happened, again, to cap off a magical week.
Having nowhere to store the flowers, and knowing we’d be flying home in a few hours, coach Elaine Dagg-Jackson decided to pass her bouquet on to a young Latvian curler who had been faithfully cheering all week long – for every single team, and every good shot. She was a 13-year-old event volunteer, and a member of the Latvia’s junior women’s team (there are only two junior women’s teams in the entire country). Earlier that week, she had quietly asked for our team’s autographs, which we gladly provided on our way into the locker rooms before a game. Another volunteer witnessed this and later informed us that this young curler was shaking and almost in tears afterwards; she was so grateful that we’d stopped to give her some signatures.
There’s your context. After the medal ceremony, when Elaine gave her our bouquets, she cried and gave thanks as though the flowers were worth a million lats (the local currency). It’s so easy to forget this stuff, especially when you’re trying to focus on a world championship… but THIS is really what it’s all about! That young curler will remember those moments for the rest of her life. She’s been inspired by athletes at the top of their game, not just by talent and dedication – but by kindness, too.
Steph Fans: “Pure pride and excitement”
It is so easy to lose perspective in the heat of competition. It’s hard to remember that it’s a just a game, because it’s not just a game. There is a difference between game and sport – in sport, we live as much for the agony of defeat as we do for the thrill of victory and yet, as amateur athletes, it always ends the same for curlers: back to regular lives, regular jobs, regular responsibilities. It is but one element of a full, rich, beautifully normal life.
I wear the number 34 on my curling jacket; it represents the month and day of my father’s passing, to remind me to keep perspective when facing difficult times on the ice. When you feel the pain of such a great loss, you have to look at all the good you’ve done, and all the things you have to cherish and be proud of. Sometimes all it takes is seeing the pure pride and excitement in the eyes of a little girl holding a “Congratulations Steph” sign at the airport, or the sound of your grandfather’s voice as he chokes back tears on the telephone, telling you how proud you’ve made him.
These are the things that help you pick yourself back up and get back in the game – because, despite victory or defeat, there is so much more in this life to go home to.
[Canada podium photo by Alina Pavliuchik/World Curling Federation – click on images to increase viewing size]
[Subscribe to The Curling News here]
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2013 Players’ Championship: Draw matchups

It’s the last big curling shootout before summer

At long last, here it is – the draw matchups for The Players’ Championship, the final event in the 2012-13 Grand Slam of Curling series.

Thirty of the top teams – 15 men’s squads and 15 women’s foursomes – will gather in Toronto April 16-21 for a rockfest taking place on hallowed ground: the legendary and historic Maple Leaf Gardens.

As we first revealed back in the fall, the Gardens is now part of Ryerson University, and its Mattamy Athletic Centre. The original Gardens roof/ceiling is intact, and the number of seats has shrunk to a cozy, manageable size – perfect for university sports and, now, the brightest jewel in the World Curling Tour’s crown.

There’s also a stunning display of chocolate and cheese further below the ice surface – somebody might have to put a GPS monitor on the Swiss teams!

Speaking of the teams and their early-round matches, there are a number of highlights in evidence straight away.

Tuesday night kicks off with a bang as both world women’s champion Eve Muirhead of Scotland and world bronze medallist Rachel Homan of Canada are in action – with Homan taking on 2012 world champ Mirjam Ott of Switzerland. In men’s opening night action, it’s a rematch of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic championship final as Canada’s Kevin Martin takes on Norway’s Crazy Pants, aka Thomas Ulsrud and Co.

And as some guy revealed in a recent Sun Media curling column, none other than David Nedohin of Edmonton will be donning The Pants with Team Norway in Toronto. Wowza.

And that’s just for starters. Pore through the draw chart above (click on it to increase the viewing size) and you’ll soon find many, many other matches that cry out for a spotlight.

Television coverage is believed to start on the Thursday on Sportsnet, with two draws (including the Sunday men’s final) taking place on CBC.

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Riga 2013: The. Bacon. Is. Raw.

[This blogpost was written by Team Canada alternate Stephanie LeDrew prior to Saturday’s 7-6 playoff victory over the United States. The semifinal, against Scotland, was next up at 1:00pm ET]

Steph’s view of the field of play

by Stephanie LeDrew

RIGA, Latvia – Remember a few days ago when we already had three losses? Well, we’ve finished the round robin at 8-3. This team is relentless! A four-game winning streak at the end of the round robin bodes well for our momentum entering the playoffs. We finished alone in third place, and while three other teams with five losses battled it out for fourth, we enjoyed a day off. We practiced last night but otherwise, we checked out the sights and sounds of Riga, Latvia.

Here are some things we noticed.
1) Tim Horton’s magnificent curler-friendly brew excluded, Europe has the best coffee on earth.
2) Bacon is served raw in Latvia.
3) There are no stop signs. Anywhere. Yet both cars and pedestrians move confidently forward without any regard for those around them and somehow, nobody gets hurt.
4) Fully enclosed showers don’t exist. You’re somehow expected to get cleaned up under a high pressure hose without spraying water all over the bathroom (a skill we’ve managed to perfect only after a considerable amount of practice. Many apologies to the Hotel Maritim housekeeping staff.)
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise is the fact that Latvia seems to be embracing curling with open arms. The Latvian team won but a single game – an extra-end victory over Switzerland – and they hugged and cried like they had just won the world championship. It was a heartwarming moment. Besides that, they had a huge fan contingent (in relative terms – there were only 75 people in the place at any given time, but at least a third of those fans were for Latvia) who would routinely get up and  walk from one end of the arena to the other, to get better seats for viewing each end. They loudly chanted “Lat-Vi-Ja, Lat-Vi-Ja!” any time a good shot was made, and they cheered for other teams’ good shots too.
There’s also an adjacent area that has offered curling to the public every day – and it’s been a busy place.
For a country that only has about 250 curlers, they’re quickly moving in the right direction. This is what we often forget as curlers who have been immersed in the game since we were kids. It’s still growing, and this is exciting news for our sport.
We are heading into the playoffs with high hopes and unbreakable spirits. Our team’s determination and cooperative dynamic is inspiring – as Coach Earle says, “None of us are as good as all of us,” and we’re working hard together to bring the gold back to Canada. I hope to write again, possibly Saturday night, with tales of incredible shotmaking, loud cheering, a full arena, and one more game to play. Tune in, Canada: we’re gonna make it a good one!
[Photo by Stephanie LeDrew – click on image to increase viewing size]
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2013 House of Hearts: Our skins vote goes to…

BEFORE: The HOH Skins voting is fierce

by George Karrys

First, some background. Then, the reveal.

The House of Hearts celebrity/charity curling wahoo has been going on in Duluth, Minnesota for over a decade and has raised over U.S. $300,000 for regional healthcare in that time.

In the time-honoured tradition of the charity ’spiel, curling stars of various degrees of notoriety are flown into town and the bonspiel participants are individually assigned to the skips to form teams for the weekend.

The top fundraisers also get to select their celebrity skip – naturally.

New this year is a Celebrity Skins Showdown, a mini (four-end) made-for-webstreaming exhibition game that will kick off this weekend’s event.

A cool crowdfunding page was created and donors to the page earned player votes, which they then assigned to one or more celebrity skips, depending on the amount donated.

The top vote-getters will comprise the eight skins competitors, who can be watched live on the interweb this Friday (2:00pm CST) via 12th End Sports Network (TESN).

Donations closed last night and topped out at over U.S. $1,700… and The Curling News was a part of this extra event fundraiser.

Guess who?

We were proud to donate, and we received a “Say Who’s Playin’” vote package in return – giving us the fearsome power of 40 votes.

Hmm. What to do? Who to choose?

We considered the vote count as of 3:30pm yesterday (graphic at top) and noted that with at least 80 votes still to be cast, there was a chance the top eight celebs chosen for the game would be all-American.

Now, as cool as that would be, we decided this could not be allowed to happen. This Skins Showdown needs to be international in scope.

Sorry, but one of the Canadian celebs simply must take part in this epic curling bonanza that is sure to burn a hole into our eyeballs on Saturday. That was our initial reaction, anyway.

We then considered who the most likely Canadian candidate could and should be. In other words, we attempted to devise a strategy.

It probably had to be someone on the bubble who, with a 40-vote boost from The Curling News, would be the best bet for a place in the final eight.

We thought some more, and began to note a few more interesting items about the Canuck we were zeroing in on:

AFTER: The Curling News gave a boost to Chelsea

• She is a she;

• She is a Women of Curling Calendar Girl, from the 2011 edition;

• She has previously and gloriously fulfilled her sacred duty as an HOH Opening Night Nurse;

• She openly lobbied for our vote on Twitter last night.

Thus, our decision was made. Winnipeg skip Chelsea Carey (photo) who leads her Morden, Manitoba team on the World Curling Tour, has now earned 40 HOH Celebrity Skins Showdown votes!

This means – at least for now – that our Calendar Girl has vaulted from a risky seventh place up to solid fifth (new graphic left).

Who would you have voted for, and why? “Leave a Comment” below…

[Image copyright ® Women of Curling Calendar/The Curling News and Personal Expressions]

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Riga 2013: Stuck in the middle with you

Insert funny caption here (“Comment” below, folks!)
by Stephanie LeDrew
RIGA, Latvia – It’s Wednesday afternoon at the World Women’s Curling Championship. We’ve got eight games on the board and three to go.
At 5-3, we are stuck in the upper-middle of the pack with a couple of other teams. This seems to be a theme for the week, ie. getting stuck – as so far we’ve spent a day and a half stuck in an airport, had a team member stuck in both a locker room and a stairwell (yours truly, in both cases) and several of our supporters stuck in an elevator (more than once.)
My butt has also been stuck to the bench – frozen to it, actually – with eyes, as always, glued to the ice surface.
It’s time to break free, and it’s gonna take some work. As I was climbing my way up each flight of stairs, trying every locked door over and over again, I got to thinking about this team’s ability to persevere. I’ve yet to see them in this sort of situation first hand – In fact, since I’ve been with the team, I’ve only seen them lose four games, including three here at the worlds.
In dealing with media questions lately, it seems everyone is waiting with baited breath to see if Team Canada will crumble at the first (or second, or third) hints of a challenge.
It’s an interesting experience to be regarded in that manner, as if we’re a bunch of aggressive dogs who’ve been backed into a corner. Although that might not be as inaccurate an analogy as I thought… Canadian curling teams have always been The Big Dogs and on the world stage, the Maple Leaf might as well be a target.
The success of a team in this situation is largely determined by how they deal with it. Some athletes crack under the combined pressure  – from their country – to be great and the determination – of other countries – to take them down. Others feed on it and use it to rise to the occasion, and that’s is another “X-Factor” that separates good teams from great teams.
So what to do now? The great Earle Morris once said, “Just keep doing what you’re doing.” To be in a position where that’s the only coaching advice you need to give is, well, most likely every coach’s dream. At 3-2, it might have seemed that we needed to make some changes, but the momentum was going the right direction. Same thing today.
We are learning… mapping the ice, learning the speed, matching the rocks and getting to know our competition. One might entertain the thought that Canadian teams have bigger changes to get used to at a world championship than most other teams. Why? Because we are blessed – or rather, spoiled – with incredibly consistent ice, loads of experience playing against most of our competitors, and an electric atmosphere that feeds energy into the team. Suddenly, at the biggest bonspiel of our lives, we have very different ice conditions, 50 people in the stands, and little to no experience playing against 90 per cent of our opponents. These are not disadvantages, but they are challenges.
Luckily, we have the most competent support staff we could ever ask for. Coach Earle, Team Leader Elaine Dagg-Jackson, National Coach Helen Radford and Sports Psychologist Natalie are a wealth of information. We have all the tools we need to rise above and beyond and achieve what we all know we’re capable of. We’re encountering obstacles, but we are coming together.
It’s only a matter of time before we find the one unlocked door in the stairwell and break free of the pack. We just need to keep climbing.
[Click on image to increase viewing size – and suggest a caption in “Leave a Comment” below!]
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Vol. 56 Issue 5: March 2013

TCN_Mar_2013_lgCOVER: THE BAD BOY BRIER

Which Bad Boys will show up at this year’s Brier? Team Saskatchewan may be infamous, but others have been targeted for boorish behaviour

  • BRIER PICKS: OUR FEARLESS FOUR

    Four curling stars break down the Edmonton Brier, exclusively for The Curling News. Who are they, and what did they predict?

  • TERRY JONES: BEST AND FINAL BRIER?

    Our ace columnist wonders: Is this the last Brier for K-Mart, Jeff and Glenn?

  • CURLING: THE PART THAT BOTHERS ME

    One influential competitor reveals what he dislikes about the greatest sport on earth

  • CURLING TV / WEB GUIDE

    Only our monthly Curling TV/Web Guide has the world’s most comprehensive curling TV and online broadcast details

  • THE DOMINION CLUB CORNER

    Level-Ice technology a godsend for arena ice facilities; How a small curling club made a $250,000 revenue deal

  • THE CURLING NEWS DESK

    Cathy O bails out… B.C. sends youngest team to new Mixed Doubles nationals… Tiger style rocks the U.S. championships… meet movie star/curler Orlando Sluchinski… Ontario curling debates changes, including duct tape… and more!

  • THEY SAID IT – ON TWITTER

    The meaning of “Pistol”… Fake Kevin Martin returns… Where’s Sask in the Sportsnet curling world?… Slam emcees should learn player names… curling’s Bad News Bears need a coach… North Korean curling nukes… Gushue fears the ex-teammate Brier… and more!

  • LARRY WOOD ON MATTY B

    Our Senior columnist examines the Matt Baldwin legacy: the oldest living Brier champion skip is still sharp as a knife

  • CONTEST ALERT

    Send in your curling photos and your curling facility could win a visit from Team Kevin Koe, courtesy of Amarula

  • GUEST COLUMN: THE PEOPLE OF CURLING

    Years into the curling beat, a journalist explains how this sport’s personalities helped his learning curve

  • …and More! Don’t delay, subscribe today!
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Riga 2013: Steph for The Curling News

[Team Canada’s Rachel Homan and Co. are in Riga, Latvia, for today’s start of the world women’s curling championship. The Co. includes Stephanie LeDrew, team alternate, who is also serving as a contributor here at The Curling News Blog. Check our blog page throughout the nine-day competition as Steph tells the tale of a young team on a grand adventure!]

by Stephanie LeDrew

Welcome to Frankfurt. Ugh.
RIGA, Latvia – If you could pick anyone on earth to be stranded with in a crowded airport in a foreign country for 32 hours, who would it be?
Okay, it can’t be Brad Pitt or Beyonce. Or your husband, or wife, or some great thinker from history. I could actually list a huge number of people it couldn’t be, and still I don’t think anyone out there would pick their curling team first. Well guess what? They’re probably not a bad choice. Any championship team will tell you that one of the big secrets to success is great team dynamics – we hear that term thrown around all the time, but what does it mean? It’s not just four people getting along and sharing similar opinions. It’s the ability to come together in adversity to create results – on and off the ice.
As it turns out, Team Homan can do that. Very, very well. In fact, I’ve never seen anything like these six people handling a horrific situation so well and with such incredible attitudes.
Picture this: You’re flying overnight to a timezone six hours ahead, you don’t sleep on the plane due to the efforts of a serial seat-kicker behind you, then you find out your last flight will be delayed one hour… then another… then another… until it’s finally cancelled. Then they close the airport.And this is just the beginning.
Next, you’re assigned to a stand-by flight departing five hours later. Then they cancel THAT flight. Then you’re put on another stand-by flight 12 hours later (the next morning) and when you call around to find a hotel room for the night, you find there’s none available in the city due to the number of stranded travelers. So you sleep across four gate seats in the airport all night, hoping no one steals your passport while you sleep, so really you don’t sleep at all.
The next morning, you find out you’re 55th on the stand-by list and there’s no chance you’re getting a seat – so you stand in a miles-long lineup, prepared to buy ANY seat on ANY flight that will get you to your final destination, at ANY COST.
At what point during this ordeal would you have pulled out all your hair, developed a stomach ulcer and began to harbor an intense hatred for anyone around you who looks rested or comfortable or holds a confirmed seat on a flight? To be honest, it started for me at the second seat-kick… but as we progressed through this seemingly endless adventure together, I was in awe of the ability of my fellow teammates to handle adversity with humour, logic, and optimism. Don’t get me wrong, we had our moments, but we came out of it a stronger team than ever before. Everyone seemed to settle into certain roles that they filled well (much like we do on the ice). Some would stand in ticketing lineups to work on the next flight possibility. Others would go on food runs. Others would crack jokes and keep the mood light – but the complaints were at a minimum. We kept each other sane. We supported one another with the mantra that This Too Shall Pass… and the next thing we knew, we were in Riga.
Now that we’re at our final destination, we’ve gotten some practice under our belts, adapted to the time change, done some sightseeing and had some laughs, we’ve all but forgotten the Frankfurt Airport Disaster of 2013 – now, we are simply Team Canada. We’re at the start of the most exciting week of our lives. We carry the Maple Leaf on our backs, and I carry forward a newfound and unbreakable confidence in the ability of this team to rally together.
Bring on the fight – we’ve got this.
[Photo by Team Homan]
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2013 Brier: You Gotta Be There – or do you?

The Sociables are more fun live, says Danielle

by Danielle Inglis

EDMONTON – What an experience. Here at the Brier, on site at Rexall Place in Edmonton, I’ve witnessed many amazing sights. In the last 24 hours we’ve seen Ontario’s Glenn Howard fall to both Manitoba and Northern Ontario in the playoffs, and a few hours before that we witnessed a sight neither seen nor heard since the bedlam that was the Vancouver 2010 Olympic curling competition: insane crowd noise and wild behaviour.

And on that note, the debate is on. Is it really worth it to spend the money to watch the Brier (or any other curling event for that matter) live, in person at the arena, or should you just watch the game on television from the comfort of your own home?
This has been a hot topic of debate among many, especially on the CurlingZone forums and in the media, during the STOH and now re-ignited during the Brier.
I’ve decided to follow up with some of the comments that I’ve been hearing, based on my own observations from this week.
Disclaimer: This is my first time at a Brier for more than a single draw, otherwise I have been a perennial TV watcher – mainly due to school, work or curling commitments not allowing me to be there in person. The last time I was at a Brier was in 2011 for the final in London, won by Jeff Stoughton.
TICKET PRICES
Sure, a few draws worth of tickets can start to add up, but compare that to what you would pay for an average NHL hockey game. People don’t hesitate to shell out a pretty penny for that – usually a few hundred dollars for tickets to a single regular-season game – but many will still balk at the thought of spending $500 for 17+ draws plus playoffs at a curling championship.
I’m not a math girl, but that amounts to about $20.00 to watch Canada’s best and be thoroughly entertained for at least three hours – plus whatever post-game merriment you wish to take in, at the Patch or the Purple Heart Lounge, that your ticket got you into. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me! If you have the funds, why not use them to support curling? Point to live.
Chances are – you have a better view than they do
TV COMMENTARY
I can’t deny that television commentators really add to the experience of the game, as they pass along expert analysis and tidbits of information throughout the broadcast. I do, however, see that there are ways to get that commentary at a live event.
Method number one: Go with a friend who is knowledgeable about the sport, and who can explain the ins and outs of curling (bonus if they have inside information). Method number two: Find one of the curling celebrities in the crowd and ask their opinion.
Too shy? Here’s method number three: You can always tune in to the broadcast via your portable radio or smartphone radio app, and listen to Vic, Linda and Russ while you watch, right there in the arena. Point to live.
TECHNOLOGY
This ties in with the TV commentary. Need to find a little extra information about a player, or want to see what people are saying on Twitter? Smartphones are so prevalent that it makes getting such info so easy. Simply click a button and the info will appear right in front of you. Bonus: When you’re at the event live, you can add to the information superhighway by posting your own photos or comments for others to read – more often than not, they will be jealous that you’re there and they’re not!) Point again to live.
COMMERCIAL BREAKS
This is a definite plus for live curling – no TV commercials! In your living room, you’re forced to watch the same commercials over and over… and as much as I love the new curling commercials, seeing them for the thousandth time during a single season gets old pretty quickly. At the live event, there is some entertainment during the break including prize giveaways, live music, the always popular kiss cam and more… and the minutes just seem to fly by. And it’s yet another point to live.
SUSTENANCE
My food experience thus far has included a lot of expensive, unhealthy arena food that leaves something to be desired. Although you have the option to dig deep for the $17 international buffet, if you can stomach paying that much for a meal each time. If you’re lucky, and you’re either an event sponsor or a guest of a sponsor, you might have access to higher-quality food in the VIP areas (wherever they are).
Numerous arguments were made on the Hurry Hard Blog supporting the author’s choice to watch the game at home. Though I don’t agree with everything said there, I do agree with the point about the food. You could save some serious costs there, not to mention that you could reach in your fridge and grab fresh fruit, or a variety of other healthier options, instead of only having limited choicees between fries, nachos, pizza and so on. First point to TV.
SEATING
Front row seating at home? That’s guaranteed, but what if I told you that you could have the opportunity to watch the Brier from multiple angles during a single live draw? From what I’ve experienced at the Brier, people have been changing seats more than a game of musical chairs. I happen to believe that variety is the spice of life, so being able to watch the games from different seats in the arena gives a new, fresh perspective. Point live.
Friday night at the Brier was simply explosive
ATMOSPHERE
It can be very comfortable sitting on your couch either by yourself or surrounded by friends, but absolutely nothing can beat the feeling of electricity that you get by being part of the crowd watching and cheering on these players. Sure, you can see crazy fans like The Sociables in snippets on TV when the camera pans towards them, but they are MUCH more entertaining and active than your big screen lets on.
One of the most incredible experiences this week for me was observing the energy and excitement of the crowd during Friday night’s games. The chanting and jeering was like being at an Oilers game! It was second only to the atmosphere at the Olympics in Vancouver.
And then there’s the “I was there when” factor. Yes, you saw Jennifer Jonesfamous in-off or Howard’s legendary Runback-Ricochet-Double something or other on TV, along with thousands upon thousands of other people, but… big deal.
There is something to be said for actually being there and experiencing it with the whole crowd, at that moment. Big, big point to live.
THE PATCH
Need I say more? Point live.
The verdict: To borrow a line from the Canadian Curling Association TV spots – You Gotta Be There! This experience has definitely changed my mind and given me a fresh new perspective. A live curling event is something that every curling fan should get to experience at least once, if not multiple times in their life. As one person pointed out to me this week, “live curling is all about the people.”
Come support your home province or country or simply your favourite team, but more importantly, come to enjoy the people and the atmosphere. I promise you, it’s worth it.
[The Curling News photos ® by Anil Mungal – click on images to increase viewing size. Subscribe to The Curling News here]
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2013 Brier: Players warned after TV equipment trashed

Damaged what? Who, us?

by George Karrys

The Curling News has learned that while no 2013 Brier competitors have been fined for misbehaviour, a member of one team damaged some equipment used by The Sports Network (TSN) earlier in the week – and restitution was paid for said equipment.

[UPDATED: The Canadian Curling Association has confirmed that no restitution was in fact paid; the player and team – and all the teams – were warned that if another incident occurs that results in equipment damage, payment will be required. Paragraph eight of the original story below has been edited to reflect this information.]

As reported in the cover story of our March print issue, Brier competitors can be fined by on-ice officials if their language or behaviour crosses the line, and in the past the Canadian Curling Association has taken action – although neither fines nor other disciplinary actions are usually acknowledged.

The subject of Brier behaviour and discipline made our cover due to the ejection of Saskatchewan second Chris Schille during one of his team’s provincial championship playoff games, plus the subsequent media furor his dismissal created.

The Curling News then created a good-natured video meme of Brock Virtue’s Saskatchewan foursome, based on the theme from the television show COPS – which has turned into a minor sensation.

According to the CCA, no player at this year’s Brier has been fined for any misbehaviour. The CCA has confirmed that warnings have been issued to players throughout the event, and The Curling News has learned that Team Saskatchewan and Kevin Martin’s host squad are among them.

I’ve been good – honest!

In addition, one particular warning was issued to all competitors following an incident involving television equipment.

According to sources, one of the Alberta competitors removed his player microphone and receiver and threw the equipment against a rink board, causing an estimated $4,000 in damage. A subsequent warning was issued to the player and team, and to the entire field, specifying that any future incidents resulting in similar equipment damage would require payment for repair or replacement.

All of this comes to light as the Brier’s final two round robin draws hit the ice today. After a must-win over Newfoundland and Labrador this morning, Alberta has scrambled from a 1-4 start to an impressive 6-4 record, and has the afternoon bye before facing defending champions Ontario tonight.

However, Martin and his Edmonton squad will need help from the field, in addition to a victory over Glenn Howard tonight, to have a chance at a tiebreaker or playoff berth.

For more on past tales of Brier discipline, here’s an excerpt from our cover story:

Manitoba Bad Boy Jeff Stoughton got an initial $1,000 fine back in the 2006 Brier – for accumulating offenses – which was allegedly whittled down to some $250 or so, but no official word was ever acknowledged by the player nor the CCA.

Russ vs Glenn in 2009: First they were smiling, then the older brother in yellow WENT BESERKER

New Brunswick skip Russ Howard, now a TSN curling analyst, tomahawked his brush during his final Brier appearance in 2009, during a loss to his brother Glenn, and was reportedly fined an undetermined amount – this after both Stoughton (again) and Newfoundland’s Brad Gushue had already boom-thwacked their way to some monetary discipline (Gushue was apparently fined $150).

Although our ace reporters wrote about it at that time on The Curling News Blog, no amounts nor the final status of any actions was ever confirmed.

When fines are levied, the payments typically go to the official charity of the CCA, the Sandra Schmirler Foundation.

The Alberta Curling Federation has a code of conduct for its championships, which includes a warning for a first offence of “verbal abuse” or “unacceptable language” and suspension from the current game and the next game for a second offence; a third offence will result in a suspension for the remainder of the championship. Breaking equipment, like a broom or a TV microphone, could also result in disciplinary measures.

As we wrote in our blogpost – and this is for fans on site at Rexall Place – If you think you’ve spotted an offence, keep your eyes peeled to the carpet after the matches, where the officials gather. This is apparently when the notes are compared, and decisions are made.

[The Curling News photos ® by Anil Mungal – click on images to increase viewing size. Subscribe to The Curling News here]