Last chance for Olympic Trials
by Sam Corea
KITCHENER, ONTARIO – Keeping an eye on the action at the Road to the Roar are the accredited press, photographers and the TSN television crew.
The press work from an area called the tribune. Located on the upper level of the Memorial Auditorium in Kitchener, the tribune (or media bench) provides a bird’s-eye view of five sheets of ice. Reporters scour the media guide for event background, history, facts and athlete bios as they compose stories, blog posts, Facebook posts and tweets. These days, reporters work on multiple devices as they cover the end-to-end action.
In charge of the media’s needs is Al Cameron, the director of communications and media relations for the Canadian Curling Association (CCA). This is his first year in the role after spending 26 years as a reporter in Calgary. “My job is to ensure the members of the media have what they need for their stories,” said Cameron. “My experience as a reporter gives me the background required to anticipate what the media want. With shrinking numbers in newsrooms, we want to make it as easy as possible for the media write about this sport.”
There are 30 media members accredited for this event, along with a crew of 60 involved in the live TSN broadcasts.
Cameron said the media interest in curling continues to rise as we head towards the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. “We have more requests than space available in the tribune at the Roar of the Rings in Winnipeg next month.”
Cameron also explained that his media list has tripled since he joined the CCA last January. “I get questions from every province in Canada and from around the world. When the media talk curling, Canada is still the gold standard.”
In Saturday afternoon action, the new Team John Morris from Vernon and Kelowna B.C. became the first squad in Kitchener to punch a ticket to Winnipeg with a 5-4 victory over the defending Brier champions from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Team Brad Jacobs.
Morris, who throws third rocks, said he looks forward to playing against his former skip, Kevin Martin in Winnipeg. “Is he in that bonspiel?” joked Morris.
“It’s a grind. Every game in Winnipeg is going to be tough. There’s no pressure like the Olympic trials. I’m sure we’ll have a great match against Kev. I’m sure we’re going to have a barn-burner.”
This morning (9:00am ET on TSN), Team Brad Gushue of St. John’s, Newfoudland and Labrador and Team Steve Laycock of Saskatchewan will battle for the chance to play Jacobs tonight (7:00pm on TSN2) to determine the final men’s berth in Winnipeg.
Last night, Team Renée Sonnenberg of Grande Prairie, Alberta scored nine points in three ends for a 12-4 victory over Kelly Scott of Kelowna, B.C. to earn the first of two women’s ticket to the Olympic Trials in Winnipeg.
“I can’t believe it,” said Sonnenberg. “I love curling in Winnipeg and on arena ice with the huge crowds, it’s going to be great.”
Scott gets another chance at a Trials spot on Sunday afternoon when she plays Team Val Sweeting of Edmonton at 2:00pm ET this afternoon (on CTV2).