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Volume 60 Issue 2: December 2016

  • KING NIKLAS HAS RISEN

    No non-Canadian team had ever won a Grand Slam title. Then the red-hot Swedes won two of them in a row
    – DIGITAL EDITION LAUNCHES VIDEO (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • DECEMBER CURLING TV/WEB GUIDE

    The sheer amount of curling to watch in December is truly remarkable, and only we have the most in-depth and accurate listings
    – DIGITAL EDITION LAUNCHES DIRECT WEBLINKS (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • OLYMPIC PODIUM ALREADY DECIDED

    Columnist Rodger Schmidt returns with a stunning declaration: Only four nations will win all the medals at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games
    – DIGITAL EDITION LAUNCHES PHOTO GALLERY (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • PACIFIC INTRIGUE WITH 14 MONTHS TO GO

    The Pacific Championships provided intriguing storylines as the 2018 Olympic Winter Games draw ever closer
    – DIGITAL EDITION EXCLUSIVE (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • CLUB CORNER: KEYS TO SUSTAINBLE CURLING

    Mark Inglis returns with his must-read column aimed at the continued health and welfare of your curling facility – read and learn

  • THE CURLING NEWS TOP 15

    Updated regularly online and appearing for the first time in print, The Curling News Top 15 ranks the best curling team performances as they occur around the world, for both men and women, and utilizes savvy curling knowledge, complex mathematical theorems, and plain old subjectivity. Got it? Good. Now, argue away
    – DIGITAL EDITION LAUNCHES PHOTOS (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • WANT WOMEN? HURRY HARD RIGHT NOW

    The 2017 Women of Curling Calendar is almost sold out; order now to grab the best-selling stocking stuffer of the curling season
    – DIGITAL EDITION LAUNCHES PHOTOS (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • IS THE CORNER GUARD STILL EFFECTIVE?

    Andrew Denny plays the numbers game with the corner guard, featuring all kinds of statistics that melt our brains
    – DIGITAL EDITION GUARANTEED TO CONFOUND YOU AS MUCH AS THE PRINT EDITION

  • ON WARREN, WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY

    Kevin Palmer sat down to chat with our columnist, aka the man in the dark robes
    – DIGITAL EDITION LAUNCHES PHOTO GALLERY (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • SALUTING THE REAL TOP CURLING COACHES

    Robbie Gallaugher sings the praises of the curling coach you’ve never heard of, because he or she is still toiling away at the rec/club level

  • THE MOOSE RAN LOOSE… AND OTHER TALES

    The Canadian Mixed is proving to be a top competition that commands respect
    – DIGITAL EDITION EXCLUSIVE (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • CURLERS: BRING YOUR EH! GAME

    This unabashedly “Canada and Curling” T-shirt is made for the nation’s 150th anniversary… and you simply must have it
    – DIGITAL EDITION LAUNCHES DIRECT WEBLINK (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • CHERYL AT CURLERS’ COURT

    Cheryl Bernard finally went to Scotland and battled in curling, golf and Scotch
    – DIGITAL EDITION LAUNCHES VIDEO (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • DECEMBER NEWSDESK

    Ontario rivals coach for Scotland (there’s actually three of them)… Ben is not so gentle… The Curling News Gold Trail sees six teams with over 50K so far

  • YES, HE ACTUALLY STOLE THE BOOK

    Matt Brouwer reviewed a curling book, and liked it so much he is refusing to give it back
    – DIGITAL EDITION LAUNCHES EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

  • THERE’S A LITTLE TORONTO GOING ON IN VANCOUVER

    Sam Corea is back home in B.C. and lo and behold, the Harvest Bonspiel revealed evidence of a healthy new club spirit
    – DIGITAL EDITION LAUNCHES PHOTO GALLERY (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • And more… subscribe today!

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Volume 60 Issue 1: November 2016

  • THEY’RE BACK: THE WOMEN OF CURLING

    12 athlete models from four nations have teamed up to raise much-needed funds for 14 different charitable causes – DIGITAL EDITION FEAT. EXCLUSIVE IMAGES NOT SEEN IN THE CALENDAR (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • FROM BROOMGATE TO… NYLON OXFORD 420D?

    “The Guy Who Ruined Curling” is back with an investigation of all post-Broomhaha decisions and, well, he’s not sure the war is over – DIGITAL EDITION FEAT. IMAGE GALLERY (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • WORLD MIXED MAYHEM IN RUSSIA

    Thirty-seven nations battled for the second-ever World Mixed Championship title –DIGITAL EDITION EXCLUSIVE (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • CURLING TV/WEB GUIDE

    You simply won’t believe the amount of curling to watch in November, and only we have the most in-depth and accurate listings – DIGITAL EDITION FEAT. EXPANDED LISTINGS (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • THE CURLING NEWS TOP 15

    Updated regularly online and appearing for the first time in print, The Curling News Top 15 ranks the best curling team performances as they occur around the world, for both men and women, and utilizes savvy curling knowledge, complex mathematical theorems, and plain old subjectivity. So there… – DIGITAL EDITION FEAT. UPDATED PHOTO INFO (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • OUT OF RETIREMENT?

    2010 Olympic heroine Cheryl Bernard hit the ice not once, not twice, but four times between September and the end of October… what is going on? – DIGITAL EDITION FEAT. IMAGE GALLERY (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • LET’S TALK EIGHT ENDS… AGAIN

    Warren Hansen says national and word curling needs to go to eight-end games, and here’s why…

  • CURLING PODCASTS: GAINING POPULARITY

    Matt Brouwer explains podcasting and spotlights some of the shows available for audio bliss – DIGITAL EDITION FEAT. DIRECT CONTENT LINKS (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • WHERE PRAIRIE CURLING LIFE MIRRORS THE RIDERS

    “On The Road” Columnist Guy Scholz went home – almost – for the 112th Saskatoon Men’s Bonspiel and experienced prairie family, faith and vocations – DIGITAL EDITION FEAT. IMAGE GALLERY (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • NOVEMBER NEWSDESK

    A new face of Russian curling masks deep problems with the country’s sport administrators… new expanded “pool” formats for Canada’s major championships… In two provinces, Sportsnet is out and Shaw and Title Sports Live are in… and we say farewell to an old friend from Grande Prairie

  • BRUSHING BADASSERY ON THE RISE

    “Curling In America” columnist Dean Gemmell is super busy these days as his Badass Brushing machine continues to roll

  • And more… subscribe today!

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12 athletes featured in new 2017 Women of Curling Calendar

womenofcurling_coverhighrez

Three years after a men’s curling calendar broke recent sales records, the Women of Curling are back with a new, high-quality 2017 wall calendar featuring 12 athlete models from four countries.

Each athlete’s photography was designed and shot according to her specifications, in conjunction with a volunteer photographer from her community. In addition, each athlete will be selling units to raise funds for a charity or cause she has personally selected.

“I didn’t hesitate to join this project, not for a second,” said Scotland’s Eve Muirhead, whose 2014 Olympic bronze medal-winning squad captured the top prize at the Curling Champions Tour event in Basel, Switzerland on Sunday. “This is all about strong women, dedicated to training, competition and accomplishment in today’s world. And it’s also about fundraising for causes that are near and dear to each of us.”

Muirhead, who has won every medal colour at the World and European Championships, is raising money for Mindspace, a mental health counselling and recovery centre in Perth, Scotland.

The calendars are on sale now at womenofcurling.com for CDN $29.95 (U.S. $34.95).

Free shipping is also available to curling facilities that wish to sell product to their members.

Muirhead threw down the gauntlet to the men’s calendar athletes, and to her fellow 2017 athlete models.

“I understand the men’s calendar in 2014 sold extremely well,” said Muirhead. “Congratulations to them, but now it’s our turn. I think the ladies will have the last word on sales figures, because we’re going to bring it.”

2014 Olympic champion Dawn McEwen watched her husband, Mike McEwen, appear on the cover of the men’s calendar. Now, the lead for Winnipeg’s legendary Team Jennifer Jones has made her own appearance, and looks forward to a friendly rivalry within her home.

“I might have an advantage because I can draw sales from the city I grew up in,” laughed the Ottawa-born Olympic and world champion, whose team finished second at a World Curling Tour event in Calgary on Monday night. “We’ll see how it goes. I look forward to my husband pushing for sales as he’s competing on tour as well.”

The 2017 Women of Curling are:

Emma Miskew – Team Rachel Homan – Ottawa, Canada – raising funds for the Sandra Schmirler Foundation

Taylor McDonald – Team Kelsey Rocque – Edmonton, Canada – raising funds for the Mental Health Foundation

Sofia Mabergs – Team Anna Hasselborg – Härnösand, Sweden – raising funds for the Swedish Curling Academy

Eve Muirhead – Team Muirhead – Stirling, Scotland – raising funds for Mindspace

Dawn McEwen – Team Jennifer Jones – Winnipeg, Canada – raising funds for Manitoba UNDERDOGS Rescue

Rachel Brown – Team Val Sweeting – Edmonton, Canada – raising funds for Boarding for Brant

Daniela Jentsch – Team Jentsch – Füssen, Germany – raising funds for Right To Play

Jocelyn Peterman – Team Chelsea Carey – Calgary, Canada – raising funds for the Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation

Anna Sidorova – Team Sidorova – Moscow, Russia – raising funds for the Konstantin Khabensky Charitable Foundation

Jamie Sinclair – Team Sinclair – Minnesota, USA – raising funds for youth development at the Charlotte Curling Association

Joanne Courtney – Team Rachel Homan – Ottawa/Edmonton, Canada – raising funds for the Kidney Foundation

Chelsea Carey – Team Carey – Calgary/Winnipeg, Canada – raising funds for KidSport Calgary and Vic’s Little VIPs Memorial Fund

The 2017 Women of Curling Calendar is a co-production of The Community Fundraiser and The Curling News. Additional fundraising revenues will be directed to the Curling Canada Foundation.

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Edwin Encarnacion has the right curling stuff

The Curling News is just two weeks away from publishing the November 2016 issue, the first release of this pre-Olympic 2016-17 season. But first, given the excitement in Canada surrounding the sport of baseball, here is Jim Corrigan’s “love-letter” column republished from our last (April) issue. And yes, provided his insurance gave him excellent coverage, of course we’d love to see Edwin on the ice…

Edwin hit a boomer this week. Will there be more?
Edwin hit a boomer this week. Will there be more?

By Jim Corrigan

What attributes of a professional athlete could turn a cynical old curling writer into an obsessed fan?

Edwin Encarnacion, first baseman and designated hitter for the Toronto Blue Jays, is my favorite baseball player of all time. For me, “all time” goes back to watching the New York Yankees in the early 1960s. Some pretty fair ballplayers have come down the pike in the past 55 years, so you might be wondering…why pick Edwin?

The seeds of obsession are sown when a fan identifies an athlete’s potential for greatness in its embryonic stages. Going into the last week of the 2010 season, third baseman Edwin Encarnacion had a modest 16 home runs. It was his first full year with the Jays organization. Mid-season, he had been sent down to Triple A. He was on the cusp, being a power-hitting prospect who could not seem to field a defensive position at the major league level.

Edwin wanted to hit 20 home runs. Every ballplayer wants to do that, but Edwin turned wishes into reality by clobbering five homers in the last week of the season. That got my attention. Great athletes perform at their best in the toughest moments. These are the “pressure situations” that shape the trajectory of their careers. Edwin had the right stuff.

The Jays weren’t so sure, putting him on waivers after the 2010 season. The Oakland Athletics claimed and released him. Edwin re-signed a one-year contract with Toronto as a free agent. Things got worse. After getting virtually no work at third base through spring training, Encarnacion started 2011 at the hot corner. He struggled defensively and took his troubles to the plate. Now he was seen as a defensive liability who was not contributing much offense. The window of opportunity was closing on his major league career.

This is a classic “down-and-out” story, and it illustrates the fundamental challenge of sport: Get better or go home. Through all of his tough times, Edwin continued to work hard and to “have a strong mind” (a quote from the excellent profile done on Encarnacion by Sportsnet’s Stephen Brunt in 2015).  He ended up with 17 home runs and 55 runs batted in (RBI). These are marginal numbers for a power hitter, but the Jays picked up their option on him for 2012.

edwin-2I first took notice of the exceptional nature of Edwin’s at-bats midway through the 2011 season. His teammate Jose Bautista was tearing up the American League. Edwin had “made some adjustments” and was putting together equally good plate appearances. Both were ultra-disciplined yet aggressive. With power.

The next step in fan obsession is prognostication. Before the 2012 season, I told friends that Edwin would hit 30 home runs. In my heart I felt that he could hit 40, but I played it safe. Edwin hit 42 and knocked in 110 RBI. That’s a big year folks, and I had called it!

The Jays and Edwin saw the potential in each other, and Encarnacion was locked into a nice four-year contract. In one of his rare interviews, Edwin sincerely thanked the organization for helping him take care of his family. As Brunt’s profile revealed, Edwin has been as good as his word on that front. Edwin loves children. He has a great smile. He appears to be a genuinely nice human being. I have become an obsessed fan.

Edwin Encarnacion may be the most controlled, cerebral and effective hitter in the game. He has averaged 37 home runs and 105 RBI per season over the past four years. He has not struck out 100 times in any of those seasons. That’s nearly unheard of from one of the top five power hitters in baseball. Although not in Bautista-land, Edwin takes about 76 walks per year. He attained these numbers despite being injured for significant portions of each of the last three seasons. This past summer, Jays TV announcer Pat Tabler confirmed something that I suspected for several years.

Tabler quoted a statistic showing that Edwin hit the ball hard two times more often than the next best major league hitter. In 2014, he tied a record set by Mickey Mantle for the most home runs in May (16). Edwin had the longest hitting streak in the American League in 2015, at 26 games.

To me, he stands at the pinnacle of those facing the toughest challenge in sport – the ability to square up a ball thrown by a major league pitcher.

The essentials of hitting are reviewed daily by announcers and analysts. You must know what you want to hit, be ready, don’t swing at balls. In a nutshell, this is Edwin’s approach. I probably have watched two-thirds of his at-bats in each of the past four seasons. He is the most disciplined, consistent power hitter that I’ve ever seen.

By now you might be wondering what any of this has to do with curling? In a word, everything.

A combination of will and skill is essential for any successful athlete, but these attributes only get you to the door. The truly great athletes are those who can deliver their best when the stabbing light of great consequence is shining into their eyes. It requires a delicate balance of intensity and management of intensity to perform well in these situations. It demands that the athlete have a rigorously consistent approach to every opportunity given to them. Their approach “normalizes” what otherwise would be a mind-boggling jumble of excitement, nerves, speed and confusion.

Baseball pitchers and hitters share one critical thing with every curler. There are moments when game, season and career literally must flow through our hands. These are the pitch, the at-bat, and the shot. The game cannot go on until we have taken our turn. In terms of consequences, not all of these opportunities are created equal. In terms of approach, they must be.

From television, we take for granted that today’s curling “lead” player will make both tick shots in the last end, that the second will double-peel their team out of trouble, that the third will pin the 15-foot runback and that the skip will draw the side of the pot for the win. Let’s not forget the training, control and discipline it takes to even make a good pass at these shots.

Just watch any of the successful curling athletes on TV these days. Or Edwin’s at-bats this season. You’ll see the role mental and physical approach play in championship performance.

Subscribe to The Curling News today

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Harder leaves SWISSCURLING, ready for new challenges

Armin Harder (left) with National Coach Al Moore and the WWCC Trophy
Armin Harder (left) with National Coach Al Moore and the WWCC Trophy

Armin Harder, the High Performance Director of the Swiss Curling Association, has announced his resignation after eight years of successful involvement with the national association.

“I have enjoyed serving the interests of SWISSCURLING and I know I am leaving with the organization in excellent shape,” said Harder. “The future of Swiss curling is as bright as the present.”

Harder served a total of eight years with SWISSCURLING; two years as a delegate, and six years as Sports Department Chief which included four years as a delegate to the World Curling Federation.

He first made waves by fighting for an open and fair (but challenging) qualification system, thus averting the plan of SWISSCURLING’s then-leaders to embrace a new selection system for the national teams. As the architect of the current system, he completely changed the elite program and introduced a major overhaul of the junior program, which required the hiring of new personnel and budget streamlining to divert more funds to development, coaching and athletes.

The results have been spectacular, as Harder leaves as the most successful High Performance leader in Switzerland’s curling history. Since 2010, a total of 25 medals have been won by SWISSCURLING teams: 14 gold, three silver and eight bronze. Furthermore, gold medals have been won across varied disciplines: Youth Olympic Games, Women’s Worlds, World Mixed Doubles, World Mixed, European Men’s and Women’s, and World Junior Men.

Currently, Swiss Women are ranked No. 1 in the world, only the second time time a country other than Canada has held this position (World Curling Rankings, WCF).

“Armin had a clear vision when he started and six years later we are definitely on a very good path,” said Andreas Schwaller, Head Coach for SWISSCURLING and a 2002 Olympic bronze medallist. “With our system we gave athletes transparency and encouraged them to tour, so they gained experience and became stronger. When Mirjam Ott won the worlds in 2012 and Sven Michel won the 2013 Euros, it was a big message to all Swiss teams, and it made them believe.

“It’s hard to prove, but SCA would never have reached the latest successes without Armin. He will be missed and I wish him nothing but the best.”

“I want to thank the staff at SWISSCURLING for a great eight years,” said Armin Harder. “Also particular thanks to Andi Schwaller, Al Moore and Marco Battilana, as well as my EC members in particular SCA President Louis Moser, whose leadership made all the positive changes even possible. Finally, great thanks to all the athletes, coaches and support staff I have worked with and represented so proudly over the years.”

Harder plans to consider new challenges, but expects to continue his key role with the Curling Champions Tour, which recently announced new championship events taking place in Korea and China.

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Volume 59 Issue 6: April 2016

  • April 2016 TCN CoverTHE BRIER: STORY AFTER STORY AFTER STORY

    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

  • And more… subscribe today!

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2016 Brier: Athletes are people too – Mathers

David Mathers at far left with PEI mates. One of 'em takes looong showers.
David Mathers at far left with his PEI mates. Sadly, none of them resemble Anne. Or Jen.

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.

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2016 Brier: The war of the proletariat

#godshouse #temple #patch
#godshouse #temple #patch

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.

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Our 2016 Brier Predictions

Our experts have spoken
Our experts have spoken

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

Posted on

Vol. 59 Issue 5: March 2016

  • BRUSHING MADNESS SWEEPS CURLING – AGAIN

    Blame the rulemakers? Blame some/all players? Blame the Sinister Sweeper? Regardless, “Broomgate” continues leading up to…

  • THE STOH: OUR ULTIMATE WRAP-UP

    Our army of correspondents provide your most in-depth look at the 2016 STOH that was – DIGITAL EDITION EXCLUSIVE (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • THE BRIER: OUR ULTIMATE PREVIEW

    The great Terry Jones provides your most in-depth look at the 2016 Brier field and how it will play out – DIGITAL EDITION FEAT. IMAGE GALLERY (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • THE BRIER: PRO PICKS

    Some of the biggest names in curling make their Brier predictions – DIGITAL EDITION EXCLUSIVE (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • CURLING TV/WEB GUIDE

    You won’t believe the amount of stuff to watch in March, and only we have the most in-depth and accurate listings – DIGITAL EDITION FEAT. EXPANDED LISTINGS (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • THE BRIER: MEMORIES PT. I

    Randy Ferbey slides down memory lane to the Ottawa Brier that started his legacy – DIGITAL EDITION FEAT. IMAGE GALLERY (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • THE BRIER: MEMORIES PT. II

    A younger correspondent has some Ottawa Brier memories, too

  • THE BRIER (AND STOH) IN A PLAYDOWNS CRISIS

    Kevin Palmer returns with an in-depth and worrying report on the decline of the competitive curler – DIGITAL EDITION FEAT. IMAGE GALLERY (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • THE BRIER: WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?

    Warren Hansen on Briers past, present and future – DIGITAL EDITION FEAT. IMAGE GALLERY (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • ACHIEVING YOUR CURLING CLUB GOALS

    Mark Inglis with another essential “Club Corner” how-to guide

  • A ROYALS WELCOME FOR A SYRIAN NEWCOMER

    Three days after arriving in Canada, a Syrian refugee was dispatched to the curling ice

  • I GOT THE CALL AND JUMPED AT THE CHANCE

    The sabbatical didn’t last long for our own Stephanie LeDrew

  • IF THEY CAN SUCCEED IN THE DESERT…

    … then we can succeed anywhere in the curling world, sayeth the sun-drenched drivers of the Coyotes Curling Club – DIGITAL EDITION FEAT. IMAGE GALLERY PLUS VIDEO (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • THE CURLING NEWS GOLD TRAIL

    Only The Curling News tracks every dollar won in the sport, regardless of event affiliation… and the money winnings are redonkulous – DIGITAL EDITION EXCLUSIVE (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • A HANSEN BRIER REBUTTAL

    One reader takes issue with our columnist’s opinion – DIGITAL EDITION EXCLUSIVE (SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)

  • 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)

  • And more… subscribe today!