It had to be done (the poutine)
By Sam Corea
MONTREAL – The 2013-14 curling season is turning out to be my “North American curling tour” with stops in Kitchener, Las Vegas and now Montreal (and Toronto, my new curling home).
I started my Montreal visit with a stop at La Belle Province – a local fast food restaurant – to have a mandatory hot dog (steamie) and order of poutine, since fellow columnist Mike Fournier blogged this week that there was no poutine to be found at the Maurice Richard Arena.
After a late lunch, I took the Montreal Metro over to Parc Olympique, site of the 1976 Olympic Games.
For a westerner, I didn’t know what to expect from a championship curling event in Quebec. We’re not on the Prairies here. But all the elements of a championship curling event are present – signage, carpeting and TV lighting have dressed up the arena nicely. Built in 1962, the circle-shaped rink with the domed roof is quite similar to the Agrodome in Vancouver, site of the 1997 STOH.
Coincidentally, that’s the only other time I’ve attended a Canadian women’s championship.
Watching the round robin of the STOH on TSN this week, it was hard not to notice the lack of big audiences in the stands. But for the 1 vs 2 Page playoff game on Friday night, there was a decent, cheering crowd of 2,300 – complete with flag-wavers and cowbell-ringers, plus folks in the requisite red and white Team Canada hats.
Perhaps some Montrealers caught some Olympic fever from the Sochi Games (instead of the flu that’s been going around here this week – we have a big bottle of hand sanitizer in the media room and the press are encouraged to use it) and decided to see an Olympic sport – live! But also noticeable was a pro-Team Canada contingent as the Rachel Homan team is from the not-too-far-away Ottawa Curling Club.
As for the game, Team Canada booked a spot in Sunday’s final after a tense 5-4 win over Chelsea Carey and Team Manitoba.
“We battled through and stayed tough,” said Homan. “Their team didn’t miss.” She was right; Carey might have careered it last night, and still fell to the undefeated Ontarians.
Homan was happy with the fan support. “Lots of people made the trip down on the train (from Ottawa) even though it’s a Friday night game and they had to probably take a half day off from work. I really thankful for all the fans who came out to see us win this.”
Indeed, Carey was shooting 100 per cent as of the seventh end. “It was a good game,” she said. “We lost, but we played really well. It was a good battle and hopefully we get another shot at them in the final.”
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