It was, as predicted and projected, a most ballistic Brier, and our award-winning columnist Terry Jones was there – DIGITAL EDITION FEAT. VIDEO AND IMAGE GALLERY (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)
WOMEN’S WORLDS: OUR ULTIMATE WRAP-UP
We provide your most in-depth look at the Speedy Creek worlds that was – DIGITAL EDITION EXCLUSIVE (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)
TSN vs SPORTSNET SHOCKER
Matt Brouwer takes another look at Canada’s TV curling wars – and he discovers something most surprising
PHOTOS OF THE YEAR
Two pages of stunning curling imagery in print, and a total of eight enhanced and interactive pages online – EXPANDED FOR DIGITAL EDITION (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)
CURLING TV/WEB GUIDE
You won’t believe the amount of stuff to watch in April, and only we have the most in-depth and accurate listings – DIGITAL EDITION FEAT. EXPANDED LISTINGS (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)
THE CURLING NEWS GOLD TRAIL
Only The Curling News tracks every dollar won in the sport, regardless of event affiliation, and no less than 10 men’s and women’s teams have cracked the $100K mark this season – UPDATED FOR DIGITAL EDITION (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)
THE NOUVEAU CURLING: ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?
Award-winning columnist Kevin Palmer analyzes the hysteria behind blank ends, the current Free Guard Zone, directional brushing and more
YOUTH OLYMPIANS CAPTURED HEARTS
Robbie Gallaugher had a ringside seat in Lillehammer for the youth story of the season – DIGITAL EDITION EXCLUSIVE (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)
THE FUTURE OF TV CURLING
Warren Hansen on where curling needs to go, and how it can lead the sports pack
MORE CURLING FOR LAS VEGAS
Sam Corea has finally recovered from Vegas… and we’ll be sending him back there far sooner than expected – DIGITAL EDITION EXCLUSIVE (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)
WHEELCHAIR CURLING IN DESPERATE TROUBLE
Columnist Chris Daw raises the alarm and actual regression in the once-growing sport of wheelchair curling – DIGITAL EDITION FEAT. IMAGE GALLERY (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)
WHAT A DREAM JOB IT IS
Columnist Stephanie LeDrew pursued and achieved her dream job with the TSN curling crew – DIGITAL EDITION FEAT. IMAGE GALLERY (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)
WATCH YOUR HEAD, CURLING FOLKS
Bill Neilson summarizes the concussion issues plaguing curling today
MAKING FRIENDS AT THE RINK – BY TRADITION
Westerner Sam Corea curled in Ontario – and became confused. Now he explores the major social difference between eastern and western curling
EDWIN HAS THE RIGHT CURLING STUFF
As baseball returns for another season, columnist Jim Corrigan explains why curling fans should watch a Blue Jay batsman very carefully
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By Andrew Denny
Hello and welcome to a little piece of fluff we call “Athletes Are People Too”.
Throughout the Brier we’ve gotten to know a lot of the athletes who are competing for their various provinces and instead of treating them like cattle, we want you to get to know them too.
We’ll be tracking down some of these guys and grilling them with a series of extremely challenging questions which they’ll be forced to answer on the fly.
Today’s focus is on PEI third David Mathers, who is competing in his second Brier… and while the boys are having a bit of a tough go in the standings, he was more than willing to offer up his time. Nice guy.
Anyway, enough talk. Let’s dive in:
Favourite food: Buffet. Nothing specific type wise… just anything buffet.
Favourite YouTube Channel: I don’t really watch a lot of devoted youtube channels, but I do watch music videos on there. Can that be my answer? If so, music videos.
Favourite Video Game: Mario Tennis… and it’s a borderline obsession. Our coach has it and I’m constantly playing the damned game. It’s something that has to stop post-Brier because I’m losing way too much time to it.
Favourite Beer: Michelob Ultra. Can’t beat that low calorie taste.
Favourite Celebrity: Anne Hathaway. Next question.
Favourite Curling Club: Ottawa Curling Club. Too easy.
Favourite Twitter Feed: Girls in Yoga Pants. No specific feed but yeah, girls in yoga pants.
Favourite Super Hero: I’m not really in to super heroes… so I’ll say Batman.
Who’s your dream curling team? Oof, that’s a tough one. I’d put Wayne Middaugh at skip, Mark Kennedy at third, myself at second and Scott Bailey throwing lead.
All curlers eh? Very smart. How about an all non-curler curling team? I can do that? Okay here we go: Tiger Woods has to skip because he’s Tiger Woods. Then have Bartolo Colon throwing the heat at third, myself at second again, and for lead… I’m not too sure… how about Wayne Middaugh again?
What’s your dream job: To be a pilot.
How do you kill time in the summer? Golfing. I golf a ton.
Any celebrity crushes? Aside from Anne Hathaway? Jennifer Aniston. Love me some Jen.
What’s your biggest pet peeve? Roommates who take long showers. Like… what are you doing in there? Get in, scrub up, get out already.
Favourite brand of shoes: B-52s because I’m wearing them right now.
Patch or Heartstop Lounge? Patch.
Good or evil? Evil…. NO, NO. Good. I meant to say good.
Sure you did. Morning or night? Morning actually. I may not be saying that after the Brier but for now, morning.
Front end or Back end? Front end.
Blonde or Brunette? Brunette.
That’s a wrap on this edition of “Athletes Are People Too.” Want to see your favourite player profiled and grilled with a series of skill testing questions in our next edition? Let us know on twitter via @curling or @denny_613 and we’ll deliver.
Until next time, good curling and remember… athletes are people too.
By Andrew Denny
The Brier is a war.
Don’t let the Canadiana of curling’s crown jewel hinder your perception of the event. The Brier is the ultimate battle of attrition where victims of all forms are swallowed up daily. And while The Patch™ may be the final stand for many of the fans of this year’s event, it’s the players who ultimately have to prepare for all out battle.
Indeed, what was projected to be one of the greatest Brier fields ever assembled has not disappointed after three days of competition. Matches have been hotly contested with few surprises in the standings thus far.
But this is the Brier, and anything is possible. Just ask the Pat Simmons’ Team Canada foursome, who had an abysmal start to last year’s event before ultimately winning in grand fashion.
To predict a winner in a field as tough as this would be a fool’s errand – although no less than six curling wizards did so in our March digital edition – however, many performances stand out in the early going as intriguing.
Impressive have been the efforts of the Glenn Howard’s Ontario team, who have played giant-killer in a field where their competitiveness was hotly debated, taking down both the Alberta and Newfoundland heavyweights. Their only loss comes at the hands of Manitoba’s Mike McEwen, who seems to be handling the rookie jitters extremely well.
While there are a few Brier rookies in the field of competition, another Brier rookie is cutting his teeth in the curling scene.
I caught up with Eric Burant, a non-curler and first time curling event attendee, and shadowed him for the duration of his time at the event. What started out as an innocent pilot project, a scoop if you will, turned in to a complete day of non-stop entertainment.
We started the day where any good Brier fan would: the Patch.
“Everyone here is smiling. They look like they’re having a great time and maybe that’s helped along the amount of beer flowing,” quoted Burant, a young professional from Ottawa. “Angus McStone is giving me some weird vibes though.”
Burant was taken aback by the atmosphere, complimented by the amount of individual provincial pride that was on display.
“I really dig the (provincial) jackets. It’s amazing how much individual culture each province offers.”
We quickly enjoyed a refreshing beverage before making our way to the draw, where the focus of our attention was the Ontario vs Alberta match and the final relegation game of NT vs NS. While the majority of our time was spent laughing and explaining the rules, we were treated to some extremely tight matchups, including a wild finish in the relegation final.
“You could hear a pin drop when Nova Scotia missed their final shot. The crowd’s reaction summed it up perfectly,” said Burant. “I thought that curling would be this relaxed attitude affair but in the end, it was high drama and extremely heartbreaking.”
When asked what he would say to the Nova Scotia squad if he had the chance, he offered some warm words: “You made it to the Brier. You made it to the big stage and that’s better than a lot of teams. You’re capable and you’re going to be back in the future.”
I did my letter best to find the Bluenosers in the Patch post game in an effort to introduce Burant, but had no luck. In the end, the spirit of the game became obvious to the Brier newbie, who quickly fell in love with the camaraderie and sportsmanship that curling offers.
“It really is the game of the proletariat. These are all regular guys with families and lives off the ice. I don’t think anyone curls with the objective of being on a Wheaties box.”
And in a few simple hours, a man who had never set foot in a major curling event had the entire culture and hospitable nature of curling figured out.
That’s the power of the game we all love so much.
As the Brier continues throughout the week, we’ll be bringing you more blog updates. Hit me up on twitter @denny_613 if you want to see or hear anything specific. After all, without the reader, we writers have no purpose.
In the meantime, I need to grab a nap after a weekend of fun and excitement with old friends, and especially new ones. Cheers.
The expanded and enhanced digital version of our March issue was released to subscribers today, and there are mucho goodies to consume, including:
• Great journalism from award-winning Brier columnist Kevin Palmer
• Sam Corea‘s very cool story about a Syrian refugee’s first time on the ice
• Another stellar “how-to” guide to curling facility management from Mark Inglis
• The tale of curling development in Tempe, Arizona
• More from Warren Hansen on the Brier’s future
• A rebuttal to Warren’s position, from B.C.’s Andrew Komlodi
• Brier memories from a grizzled veteran (Randy Ferbey) and a youthful scribe (Andrew Denny)
And more, including Brier previews from our star-studded panel of experts… Hall of Fame media guru Terry Jones, Two-time Brier champion Craig Savill, the new Canadian women’s champion skip Chelsea Carey, Brier champion Mark Dacey and world champion and Olympic finalist Håvard Vad Petersson of Norway.
And… here now, as a Blog Bonus, we present an additional round of Brier predictions from none other than Sherry Middaugh, whose injured husband Wayne is still with Team Glenn Howard at the Ottawa Brier, albeit now as team coach.
If you don’t yet subscribe, do so now from our subscription webpage and you’ll receive a hyperlink to unlock your digital edition within hours. Don’t miss out on our super-sized March “Brier” issue!
Sherry’s 2016 Brier Picks
This has to be the best Brier field ever!!!
1. Ontario – For obvious reasons and they have Scotty Bowman behind the bench
2. Alberta – If they get indecisive they may run out of time in a game or two, other than that we should see them post-round robin
3. Newfoundland – Having a great year but is Brad suffering from post-concussive trauma? Harrrd… whoa….. maybe?
4. Manitoba – Finally at the Brier, now it’s time to show they belong
5. Northern Ontario – Not a great year just yet but it can all be turned around with one good week
6. Team Canada – Always cheer for Team SK, but they maxed out last year, enjoy your week
7. Sask – Dark horse. They can beat anyone, just not sure they can do it for the entire week with this amazing field
8. B.C. – An even darker horse. Normally cheer for the nicest guy in event but Crusher (Adam Spencer) is now that person.
9. PEI – Boys from the Island have some close games but the skipper can’t pull out the magic every game. Two certainties are that Robbie has a great time in the Patch and Dave is in the running for the Ross Harstone Award
10. Québec – Sorry I’m not bilingual or I would rate them higher… in French
11. NWT – Make it out of relegation and everyone is cheering for them to do well… but not much left in the tank
12. New Brunswick – Off to relegation, sorry boys