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2010 Curling Calendar On Sale

A new curling calendar launches today, featuring action photography of some of the biggest names in The Roaring Game.

The 2010 Capital One Curling Calendar is now on sale for $16.95 (before shipping and handling) and features such rock stars as Jennifer Jones, Kevin Martin, Brad Gushue, Stefanie Lawton, Team Kevin Koe, Scottish wonderkid Eve Muirhead, and more.

“It’s a great idea and it’s an honour to be included,” said Glenn Howard, one of sixteen Olympic hopefuls who are skipping teams at Edmonton’s Roar of the Rings Olympic Trials starting December 6.

Howard’s image, captured by Capital One Grand Slam of Curling photographer Anil Mungal, appears on the cover. His team also makes an appearance inside.

“This is great for curling fans and it provides excellent exposure in an Olympic year. Curling is booming these days.”

The 13-month wall calendar hangs 9.5” x 24” in wire-o-bound for a perfect finish, and is printed in brilliant colour on the same high-grade,  glossy stock as the 2009 Women of Curling Calendar. Each calendar is also packed into a corrugated sleeve to prevent shipping damage.

The 2010 Capital One Curling Calendar is an all-ages, all-curling product and even includes event listings from far across the sport spectrum. Events both in Canada and around the world – even during the summer months – are included, making this a handy curling reference guide.

Net proceeds will be split equally between The Curling News and Shoot For A Cure Curling, the charitable campaign of the Canadian and American Spinal Research Organizations, which aims to cure spinal injuries and paralysis and boost awareness of wheelchair curling, an official 2010 Paralympic sport.

Click here to order your 2010 Capital One Curling Calendar… just in time for the holiday season!

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Olympic flame on curling ice

From the last post, to the big reveal.

2006 Olympic champion Mike Adam, alternate for Brad Gushue’s victorious foursome and the young man who committed one of “the most selfless acts in sport history” became the first Canadian high-performance curler to carry the Vancouver 2010 torch… and the first-ever human to slide with it down a sheet of curling ice.

The Katie Greene photo above shows Adam alongside former Team Gushue Olympic coach and 1976 Brier champion, Toby MacDonald.

“It was awesome,” Adam told The Curling News.

“In spite of it being Friday the 13th I didn’t wipe out… and I didn’t set the club on fire, either.”

Adam was on the ice at the St. John’s Curling Club in Newfoundland and Labrador, the traditional home base of Team Gushue and many of the island’s top competitors, and accepted the torch from the previous bearer, 2007 Canadian junior champion curling skip Stacie Devereaux.

Adam then proceeded to slide halfway down the sheet of ice. Then, he did it again… nice and slowly, for the assembled media.

“I was thinking, if I slide past real fast to get to the other end, I’ll blow by the people that are lined up to see it, and they don’t get a chance to see it that well,” said Adam.

“So I figured I’d go slowly, and give everyone the real gist of it, show the symbolism.”

Adam enjoyed the technical term VANOC organizers gave to this particular segment of the torch’s unprecedented 45,000 km journey, which will visit 1,000 Canadian communities.

“They call it an ‘Alternative Mode of Transportation,’” Adam chuckled.

Adam was one of 160 torchbearers who carried the flame more than 110 kilometres across Newfoundland on Friday.

On a day when his Olympic teammates with Team Gushue were officially eliminated in the race to defend their championship in Vancouver, thousands of miles away in Prince George, British Columbia, Adam spoke poignantly about his return to the club.

“It’s been almost a year and a half since I’ve been back here,” said Adam, who now lives in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.

“It would have been great to have everybody back here for this, but the boys had to be out west.

“I give the organizers full marks for including curling, and our team, in this amazing journey.”

There’s more from Adam and his big Friday in today’s edition of the St. John’s Telegram.

Later today, Alberta front-end curling legend Don Bartlett runs with the torch, in his original hometown of Gander, Newfoundland.

Other Olympic curlers slated to carry the torch are Russ Howard (Moncton, Nov. 29), Don Walchuk (Moose Jaw, Sask. on Jan. 10), alternate Ken Tralnberg (Hague, Sask. on Jan. 11), Marcie Gudereit (Lloydminster, Sask. on Jan. 12), alternate Sandra Jenkins (Salmon Arm, B.C. on Jan. 27) and Georgina Wheatcroft, who will bear the flame at Whistler Olympic Park on Feb. 5.

The full list of 300 Canadian Olympians who will act as torch bearers can be seen here.

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Margo’s pre-Trials picks

[She’s baaaaaack! Margo Weber, guest blogger during last February’s STOH (controversially) and also the Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary (archive here) has been watching the Road to the Roar in Prince George, courtesy of TSN. What’s on her mind?]
by Margo Weber
CALGARY – So, I entered a curling pool.
And this morning I had a looksee at the draw for the men’s side of the Road to the Roar, and I realized three of my qualifying picks fall to each other in the C-side.
On the women’s side, it’s not looking much better.  I did not have Crystal Webster qualifying, although I must say I’m thrilled all these Alberta teams are doing so well. I, for the record, with many others… had Kelly Scott (cue downer music).
It seems I will not win this pool. But overall, I’ve had a pretty good history of predicting who is going to do well at these things – in other sports, mind you – with a few minor blips.
However, just being in a pool raises some questions. There are curling pools? Who knew? I think it’s the first one I’ve been involved in. Maybe I’ve seen a Brier pool once or twice. The person who organized the pool itself is a well-known competitor who has already made it to the Roar of the Rings in Edmonton. Whom did she pick? Did anyone actually curling in this event enter the pool? Is that okay… or is that really, really bad?
It was only $25.00 but… let’s say someone bet on themselves, or bet against themselves… let’s say someone bet against his wife? Or his/her sister? Teams have a long history of buying themselves in calcuttas at cashspiels, so I suppose it’s all been done before.
Sigh. I believe I’m just bitter because, at best, only five of my eight picks have an opportunity to qualify. Not that any of my picks are out… they just fall to each other in the draw.

Can I get on another tangent here? Speaking of the draw…
Since when is it okay that teams which lose their first two games all get bundled up to play each other in the C-side? These teams arguably are the bottom four of twelve… yet because of the draw, one of these teams will make it to a C-final just by beating each other out. Horrible.
The only saving grace is that the loser of the B-side qualifier drops into that spot. Perhaps this is to make is easier for that team. Except it’s not easier if they are coming off a loss, and the C-side team just rattled off two wins.
So… will  I enter a Roar of the Rings pool? Of course. I’m assuming my friend – the competitor – will not have time to organize that one. Nor would she want to know who would or wouldn’t bet on her!
Maybe I will organize the pool myself. But I will inevitably struggle between whom I want to win… whom I think should win… and who I actually picked in the pool.
Maybe if I bet on who I don’t want to win… I’ll be happy either way.

Oh, and for the curious? Here were my picks:

A – Wayne Middaugh
B – Bob Ursel (CCA photo by Michael Burns)
C – Jeff Stoughton
C – Brad Gushue

A – Kelly Scott
B – Cathy King
C – Marie-France Larouche
C – Krista McCarville

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2-0 at Olympic Pre-Trials

The action has been intense at the CN Centre in Prince George, with lots of late steals throwing the “Road to the Roar” pre-Trials race wide open.

Another example was yesterday’s show from 2007 world champion Kelly Scott. Her Kelowna team took two in the 10th end and then stole the extra frame to shock Cathy King of Edmonton by an 8-7 count.

Top seeds are falling left and right, and as a result you’ve got teams like Calgary’s Crystal Webster, Saskatchewan’s Sherry Anderson and Pat Simmons, Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen and Ottawa’s youthful Rachel Homan all sharing the lead at 2-0… and only two wins away from a berth in the Canadian Olympic Trials.

Other big names at 2-0 include Jeff Stoughton and Brad Gushue, the finalists from the 2005 Olympic Trials in Halifax.

Homan, the junior phenom we first profiled two years ago, is shown above in yesterday’s action (CCA photo by Michael Burns). In her second match, Homan gave a quick three-spot to Marie-France Larouche of Quebec but roared back to score a 7-4 win. She won her first one 8-6 over Quebec’s Eve Bélisle.

You can also see more Road to the Roar pics on The Curling News Facebook Group page – join the group!

Meanwhile, yesterday’s TCN Twitterfeed was belching smoke, as we posted 36 times, 17 of them retweets from CurlingZone’s excellent live game coverage.

Today’s Twitterroll so far includes:

• news from Wawa, Brighton, Guelph and Chatham, Ontario
• a former WCF prez is to unveil war memorial
• two Canadian Mixed preview spotlights
• viral video mixes hockey and curling (previous blogpost)
• a new Canadian athlete Twitter list has three curlers included
• a quickee look at pre-Trials co-leader Crystal Webster

And there is much, much more curling news to come throughout the day! Go to the TCN Twitter page and click on “Follow” at top right…

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Olympic pre-Trials underway

And they’re off!
The practice rounds are finished, the new uniforms are in play (Team Brad Gushue photo by CCA’s Michael Burns, click to zoom in) and now, finally, the first stones are underway at the Road to the Roar, the official Canadian Olympic pre-Trials curling qualifier at the CN Centre in Prince George, B.C.

There is live scoring action on two fronts: at CurlingZone’s Gameday Scoreboard and also at the Canadian Curling Association’s CurlCast. is in the house, with their first match webstreamed live to subscribers (or pay-per-viewers) at 3:30pm ET today: Pat Simmons (SK) versus Jean-Michel Menard (QUE).

TSN roars into town on Thursday, with live action scheduled right through to Saturday’s C-finals.

For these and other curling TV coverage listings, we sincerely hope you are checking out The Curling News TV Guide in the November issue of The Curling News, which has been out for over two weeks now.

You are a subscriber, right?

The Curling News Blog and Twitter pages will be humming with action throughout the week: in fact, today’s Twitterfeed links to no less than eight preview stories, in addition to even more curling stuff.

You do follow us on Twitter, right?

Just checking.

The Road to the Roar: game on!

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Olympic curling roadsign

Our friend Terry Jones is back on the curling beat, and not a moment too soon.

The veteran Sun Media sports scribe, who also authored the 2007 book The Ferbey Four, was at a “32 days out” ceremony for the massive Roar of the Rings event coming to Edmonton December 6-13.

Otherwise known as the Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials, the event is basically the “Olympic Trials” which will declare Canada’s representatives for Vancouver 2010.

As Jones tells us here, many of the late week draw matchups were revealed as part of the news conference.

The much-anticipated and possibly crucial all-Edmonton battle between Kevin Martin and Randy Ferbey will be on the Wednesday afternoon draw, which also features Edmonton’s Kevin Koe versus the other pre-qualified team skipped by Ontario’s Glenn Howard.

Thursday morning features Ferbey-Howard and Martin-Koe, and Thursday night will feature Ferbey-Koe and Martin-Howard.

Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones, Calgarian Cheryl Bernard, Saskatoon’s Stefanie Lawton and Calgary’s 2006 Olympic bronze medallist Shannon Kleibrink have their feature games against each other Wednesday morning, Wednesday evening and Thursday afternoon.

As any curling fan worth his or her salt knows, the remaining squads will be known after the Road to the Roar in Prince George, B.C., which starts up pretty darned soon.

Jonesy also tells us that ticket sales are already at 134,844 for the eight-day event, and single draw tickets go on sale this Saturday.

Tickets are $50 a pop for the women’s final (Dec. 12) and the men’s final (Dec. 13), while the semifinals are $40 each. The early round-robin draws are $30 each.

For heaven’s sake, this has got to be one of the last wakeup calls for curling fans to get their butt to Edmonton, for this showdown of the ages.

“We can’t believe this event is only a month away,” said host committee woman Jackie-Rae Greening. “Probably in our lifetime we won’t have the opportunity again to watch a trials where the winners get to represent Canada on their home turf at the Olympic Games. Now it’s getting so close, it’s getting so exciting.”

The last word goes to K-Mart, who unveiled some kind of countdown road sign, along with Kleibrink, at yesterday’s newser (photo by inews880AM, click to zoom in).

“I think the level of curling has increased significantly, the curlers have been training harder and have all become better than we were four years ago,” said Martin.

“That’s going to make this event even better and hopefully is going to make Canada even better at the Olympics.”

NOTE: have you signed up to follow The Curling News Twitter account?

If not, you’ve already missed today’s info on New Brunswick’s mixed team; Stoughton and Burtnyk on their Road to the Roar (and McEwen and Gunnlaugson, too); the husband of Sandra Schmirler and his honour at carrying the Olympic Torch; and Brad Gushue as an “interesting choice” to publicize the Tim Hortons Brier… considering that he hopes to not compete in it!

Head to the page and click on “Follow” to get tuned in to the digital curling world!

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Mo’vember 2009

We’ve talked about it before, and we’re talking about it again… It’s Mo’vember.
This is the month in which to raise awareness about prostate cancer, to raise some money for research and hopefully save lives.

This is the most common cancer among Canadian males, afflicting one in six men, and is a greater threat for those with a family history of the disease.

That’s more than one guy on every sheet of ice during a men’s curling league night at a six-sheet club.

In the past, high-performance competitors have shown support by growing a Mo’vember moustache.

Last year we showed you the wonderfully cheesy Team Glenn Howard, all four of them adorned with a variety of facial foliage.

Team Brad Gushue lead man Jamie Korab also participated, at the 2008 Masters of Curling in Waterloo, Ontario (Capital One photo above by Anil Mungal).

Please visit the Mo’vember website for more information.

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Curling Photo Feedback

This photo captures the millisecond following the moment of impact of Kevin Koe’s last-shot attempt to win the Grey Power World Cup of Curling.
The angle-runback missed by a hair, ticking a front guard, and two of Koe’s team members react with obvious dismay.

The photo was shot the stands at the Hershey Centre by Allen Hofstetter of Paris, Ontario.

Allen and his wife Lynne Gawley-Hofstetter started a little curling supply business called Hit The Broom Curling Gear about four years ago. The Paris Curling Club, just outside of Brantford, had lost its informal “supply guy” so the Hofstetters starting displaying curling equipment on tables at the club.

“The response was amazing,” said Allen.

In a contra deal for the selling space, Allen built a large trophy case for the club’s basement. Now the company supplies Paris and also travels to surrounding clubs during popular bonspiels.

The squad also befriended the victorious Team Glenn Howard around the same time. The friendship is such that Howard lead Craig Savill even mailing one of his official Brier shirts to the couple’s 13-year-old son, Tucker, in 2007.

In addition, the squad was sent this photo, which soon made its way to The Curling News Blog, where is has been published here, with thanks to the Hofstetter clan.

A full-size version of the photo will appear in the upcoming December issue of The Curling News. Got your subscription yet?

Incidentally, Howard third Richard Hart has been corresponding with TCN writer Matt Hames this week, following Hames’ awesome blog and twitter posts during the World Cup final last Sunday.

Hames, who has blogged about the Hart discussions is correct to note that “Prior to the internet, this world class player would never have been able to get this kind of feedback about (his own) game.

“True, he could have watched the tape of the final on CBC and got the commentators’ take on the game, but that’s more an official take. Mine was kind of off-the-cuff riffs on the game in general.

“(Hart) may or may not find value in the feedback, but he’s at least taking the time to acknowledge that feedback can be valuable.”

On a final note, the World Cup feedback from television is quite good. Sunday’s final scored 441,000 viewers on CBC-TV, while Saturday’s quarter-final matchup between Koe and Brad Gushue earned 483,000 viewers, which is up 83 per cent over last year’s numbers.

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Carrot Cup of Curling

Did you hear about the Carrot Cup?
TCN publisher George Karrys, who recently made his return as a Toronto-centric Sun Media curling columnist after a 10-year absence, revealed the existence of the Cup for the first time at last week’s Grey Power World Cup of Curling.

The tell-all can be read here.

And here, at last, is the world’s first exclusive photo (above) of the Carrot Cup, temporarily clutched by the jubilant pair of Ben Hebert (left) and John Morris from Team Kevin Martin.

For the record, Team Randy Ferbey held the Cup all summer, following the Grey Power Players’ Championship. Team Kevin Koe then won the Cup over Ferbey at New Westminster. In Mississauga, the Cup changed hands four times – from Koe to Martin to Team Brad Gushue to Koe again, and then finally to Team Glenn Howard.

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World Cup: Is the tide turning?

Matt Hames
Capital One photo by Anil Mungal

MISSISSAUGA – This Howard team is kind of annoying. Don’t get me wrong, I like to watch them, but they bug me.

They should have been down at least one (maybe more) at the fourth end break. Team Koe totally out played them and could have been up 4-0. (I still say that Koe should have capped the inturn side in 2, and I’m not sure how Howard scores.)

And with all that said, they leave Kevin Koe with a triple for one. That was the first end where things got a little difficult for Koe. Credit him for coming through with a great shot.

But you can feel a deuce coming. Meaning we’re in for a cracker of a last two ends.