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Curl for SickKids – with celebrities

Craig Savill is just one celebrity who can ham it up for his charity bonspiel teammates

TORONTO – Guess what, curling fans?

Registrations are now open for the third annual Capital One Celebrity Bonspiel in support of SickKids Foundation, taking place June 1-2, 2012 at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club in Toronto, Canada.

This unique bonspiel offers participants the chance to play alongside Olympic and world champion competitors. Past stars have included Olympic champions Brad Gushue of St. John’s, Newfoundland and John Morris of Team Kevin Martin (Edmonton); world champion and current STOH battler Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg; Olympian and European champion Eve Muirhead of Scotland – who just won her third straight Scottish women’s title – and three-time global winner Glenn Howard of Midland, Ontario, who is once again Brier-bound in a few days’ time.

In just two years, the Capital One Celebrity Bonspiel has welcomed 54 superstar curling athletes from around the world, 200 recreational participants and numerous corporate partners. Meanwhile, nearly $145,000 has been raised for SickKids Foundation – the fundraising arm of The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, one of the world’s foremost paediatric health-care institutions and Canada’s leading centre dedicated to advancing children’s health through the integration of patient care, research and education.

“We are pleased to release the online registration engine for the 2012 Capital One Celebrity Bonspiel in support of SickKids Foundation,” said event organizing committee member Jeff Steski. “Whether you are a committed curler or someone who has never actually tried the sport, we invite you to sign up and enjoy all the fun this event has to offer.”

Given the growing popularity of the event and logistics for only 100 participants, the event is quickly expected to reach capacity.

“Due to limited space and the success of last year’s fundraisers we are asking this year’s participants to have a minimum goal of $500 in funds raised per household,” said Steski. “As in the past, the top 10 fundraisers are recognized and given first opportunity to choose their celebrity skip, and all who raise over $1,000 have the opportunity to choose from the remaining positions.”

Registrations are now being accepted online at the event website: celebritybonspiel.com … which features a variety of pages including news, a participant FAQ, photo gallery, donation hyperlink, a list of previous celebrity curling athletes and more.

Follow the website in the coming weeks as members of the 2012 list of celebrity curling athletes are announced, in addition to other event news.

For media related requests, contact George Karrys at gk_at_thecurlingnews.com. For event information including a sponsorship sell sheet, please contact Jeff Steski at jeff.steski_at_raymondjames.ca or 416- 960-5781 (extension 2).

 

The Curling News photo of Craig Savill at the 2010 Capital One Celebrity Bonspiel in support of SickKids Foundation is copyright by Anil Mungal. Click on the images to increase viewing size.

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New Norway Curling Pants

Yes, the secret is out. And our eyeballs hurt.

The secret is out!

The latest version of the Norwegian Curling Team Pants is set to hit the ice in gorgeous Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy this Saturday.

The event, of course, is the 2010 Capital One World Men’s Curling Championship. And the originators of the Pants Craze, Thomas Ulsrud‘s Olympic silver medallists from Norway, open their campaign at 14:00 CET against Scotland’s Warwick Smith.

The only question is: will it be the blue and white checkered pattern for Game 1, or the swirling multicoloured… flowers?

“I just follow the fashion police,” is all that skip Ulsrud has to say, nodding to teammate Christoffer Svae. The burly second thrower (second from right in the John Hauge photo at left) is the one who found the pants, made his teammates wear them during the first Olympic practice in Vancouver… and the rest is history.

“I must admit that when I saw 10 cameras following us in that first practice, I thought: ‘This was a good idea then, Christoffer,’ ” Svae told Norway’s Aftenposten.

The blue and white pants were worn by Norway’s junior men’s team at the World Juniors in Champery, Switzerland earlier in March. Norway’s Paralympic wheelchair curlers then followed up with a tealish-blue and white pattern in Vancouver, plus Ulsrud’s original Olympic design, and of course the Norwegian women’s team went full-on bonkers with a wild, spotty “disco” pattern last week in Saskatchewan (photo can be seen here).

As reported a few weeks ago on The Curling News Twitter feed, Team Norway has since inked a sponsorship deal with Loudmouth Golf, the U.S. manufacturers of the pants.

Stay tuned to The Curling News for more info on Team Ulsrud, the Cortina Worlds and so much more in this fantastic 2010 curling season.

It ain’t over yet, folks!

[Aftenposten photo by John Hauge. Click to increase size]

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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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Million Dollar Button 2010

For the second consecutive season, Canadian curling fans from coast to coast have the opportunity to register for their chance to cover the button for CDN $1 million, live on CBC Television, through the Capital One Million Dollar Button contest.

And the website that is open to one and all to register at went live this morning.

This year’s finals will take place during the championship game of the BDO Classic Canadian Open, the third leg of the men’s 2009-10 Capital One Grand Slam of Curling series, on Sunday, January 24, 2010 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.

During each of the first three events of the men’s 2009-10 Capital One Grand Slam of Curling series, six lucky fans who filled out a ballot on-site will be randomly selected to compete in an on-site playoff. The on-site playoff will take place during the finals of the Grey Power World Cup of Curling and The National as well as during the quarterfinals of the BDO Classic Canadian Open. During each on-site playoff, the fan who is closest to the button will win the right to compete in the semi-finals of the Capital One Million Dollar Button.

A total of six Canadian curling fans will qualify for the semi-finals of the Capital One Million Dollar Button including one representative from the Grey Power World Cup of Curling, The National and the BDO Classic Canadian Open along with three randomly selected online entrants.

The six semi-finalists will subsequently compete against each other following the semi-finals of the BDO Classic Canadian Open on Saturday, January 23. The semi-finalist who throws the rock closest to the button will earn the right to compete for $1 million in the finals of the Capital One Million Dollar Button.

The Capital One Million Dollar Button is the first curling-based contest in Canada with a grand prize of $1 million available to be won.

Last year, Ron Trottier of Osoyoos, B.C. came within 35 inches of winning $1 million after his shot slid just past the button. Trottier’s shot was good enough to earn him $10,000 (CDN) as the inaugural finalist of the Capital One Million Dollar Button.

“We’re getting fans off their seats and right onto the ice with their favourite players,” said Ian Cunningham, Chief Marketing Officer, Capital One Canada. “It’s a once in a lifetime chance to shoot for $1 million and experience the excitement and pressure that the pros feel every time they play a Capital One Grand Slam of Curling event.”

In order to win the Capital One Million Dollar Button’s grand prize of a one-time payment of CDN $1 million, the contest finalist must successfully deliver a rock from the hack and have it cover the hole in the centre of the button on a regulation curling sheet. The contest finalist will have just one opportunity to execute the shot.

Should the finalist’s rock miss covering the hole in the centre of the button, but be touching a part of the button, the individual will receive CDN $100,000. Alternatively, CDN $25,000 will be awarded if the rock is touching the four-foot circle. A prize of CDN $10,000 will be awarded if the rock is touching the eight-foot circle while a rock that touches the 12-foot circle will earn CDN $5,000. Should the finalist’s rock not touch any of the circles, the individual will receive $1,000 (CDN).

Full contest details are available at the website.

To enter the Capital One Million Dollar Button contest, individuals can register online at capitalone.ca/button or on-site during the opening days of the first three men’s 2009-10 Capital One Grand Slam of Curling events.

On-site registration dates include October 22-24, 2009 during the Grey Power World Cup of Curling at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ont., January 7-9, 2010 during The National at the Sleeman Centre in Guelph, Ont. and January 21-22, 2010 during the BDO Classic Canadian Open.

Online registration began today, and ends at 11:59pm ET on January 10, 2010.


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Italiano Anniversario Curling

It was a little over a year ago that the Curling Italia website launched itself into the online curling universe.
Congratulations on your one-year anniversary, particularly to founder Renato Negro, who also produces the Curling Torino website and blog.

Italy has maintained a presence on the world curling scene since the 2006 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games featured curling in Pinerolo. The nation has hosted various global competitions including last April’s World Mixed Doubles Championship in gorgeous Cortina d’Ampezzo, which will also play host to this season’s Capital One World Men’s Curling Championship.

Forza Italia!

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Dawson Creek gets Players’ Championship

Dawson Creek in British Columbia has been awarded the hosting rights to the 2010 Grey Power Players’ Championship.
The season’s final Capital One Grand Slam of Curling event is scheduled for the EnCana Events Centre in Dawson Creek from April 13-18.

The Capital One Grand Slam of Curling, the World Curling Tour and iSport Media and Management also announced that Grande Prairie, Alberta has secured the hosting rights to the 2011 championship.

After hosting the six-day event in 2009, which attracted 40,125 spectators and featured championship wins by Edmonton’s Randy Ferbey and Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones, the 2011 Grey Power Players’ Championship will return to the Crystal Centre in Grande Prairie on April 12-17.

Dawson Creek and Grande Prairie are just 133 kilometres apart.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing the 2010 Grey Power Players’ Championship to Dawson Creek as well as returning the event to Grande Prairie in 2011,” said Wendy Kane, Executive Director of the Capital One Grand Slam of Curling.

“Last year’s tournament in Grande Prairie was a great success and we’re looking forward to putting on an even bigger show in the next two years.”

The 2010 Grey Power Players’ Championship will feature a separate men’s and women’s draw consisting of the world’s top 13 ranked teams from the 2009-10 season as well as curling’s gold, silver and bronze medallists from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

“We’re elated that Dawson Creek was selected to host a premier international sporting event such as the Grey Power Players’ Championship,” said Dawson Creek Mayor Mike Bernier. “This is another great opportunity for Dawson Creek to showcase our great city to the rest of Canada. This world class event will have significant positive social and economic impacts to the community and is a real win-win for Dawson Creek.”

Ticket packages for the 2010 Grey Power Players’ Championship are scheduled to go on sale on November 6.

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Three Nations Cup curling

There’s more bang for the curling buck available at the Grey Power World Cup of Curling, coming to the Greater Toronto Area in just a few weeks.
The women’s Three Nations Cup has been added to the opening men’s Capital One Grand Slam of Curling event of the season, October 21-25 at Mississauga’s Hershey Centre.

A total of four women’s Olympic qualifiers and hopefuls will compete in the inaugural Three Nations Cup including reigning Olympic bronze medallist Shannon Kleibrink of Calgary (in photo at right), 2009 Roar of the Rings direct qualifier Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon (bottom left), reigning World Champion Bingyu Wang of China (left) and 2010 Olympic Winter Games entrant Eve Muirhead of Scotland (main image), who will represent Great Britain in Vancouver.

“We’re thrilled to be adding this elite, international women’s event as part of the festivities surrounding the Grey Power World Cup of Curling,” said Kevin Albrecht, Chief Executive Officer of iSport Media and Management. “Featuring four of the top women’s teams in the world, the Three Nations Cup will provide fans with a snapshot of the competition heading into the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.”

This latest curling Cup begins October 22 and concludes with the championship game on October 25.

“Curling fans in the GTA have been waiting more than 20 years for an elite international event to take place in our region, and now we have two outstanding tournaments joined together,” said Elizabeth Woolnough, President of the Toronto Curling Association.

“The Three Nations Cup will provide even more excitement for the GTA’s passionate curling fans.”

Tickets – both for packages and single draws – are now on sale from Ticketmaster and at the Hershey Centre box office.

For more on the impressive, Olympic men’s field at the Grey Power World Cup, check out this previous blogpost.

Got your tickets yet?

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Grey Power World Cup of Curling

The big news today concerns the “Toronto Slam” as the event has been re-branded as the Grey Power World Cup of Curling.

Formerly known as the Masters of Curling, the Grey Power World Cup of Curling runs October 21-25 at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, just minutes from Toronto’s main airport.

As the first tournament in the new Capital One Grand Slam of Curling season, the event would normally be big enough on its own. However, as The Curling News has previously reported, this one is worthy of it’s new World Cup name.

No less than 10 of the international teams headed to February’s Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games will take part, challenged by four of the top dogs headed to December’s Canadian Olympic Trials: Kevin Martin, Glenn Howard, Randy Ferbey and Kevin Koe.

A fifth Canadian team will also take part. Brad Gushue’s foursome, fresh off their victory at the first World Curling Tour stop of the season, will compete at the Hershey Centre. The Gushues are looking to win a spot into the Trials at the last-gasp qualification event at Prince George, B.C. in November.

As The Curling News reported last winter, Grey Power first jumped into the Slam sponsorship world by taking title rights to the season-ending Players’ Championship in Grande Prairie.

“We’re thrilled to be increasing our involvement with one of Canada’s favourite sports through our partnership with the World Cup of Curling,” said Catherine Smola, President of Grey Power Insurance Brokers Inc.

“We are hugely impressed by the passion Canadians have towards curling and we believe these world class events represent a tremendous opportunity for us to further connect with our customers.”

Today’s announcement comes from the Slam, the Tour and also from an organization called iSport Media and Management. This is the new home of Kevin Albrecht, the man who first built the Grand Slam property at IMG Canada and took it to Insight Sports some three years ago.

“The ability to extend our partnership with Grey Power to include two of curling’s biggest international tournaments reinforces the growth and popularity of the Capital One Grand Slam of Curling series,” said Albrecht.

“Grey Power’s brand and services have proven to be an ideal fit for curling’s passionate fan base and we are looking forward to building on the success of last year’s Grey Power Players’ Championship.”

Among the international Olympic teams headed to Hershey are reigning World champions David Murdoch of Scotland, reigning World bronze medallist Thomas Ulsrud of Norway, 2007 World silver medallist Andreas Kapp of Germany, 2006 Olympic bronze medallist John Shuster of the United States, 2008 World fourth-place finisher Fengchun Wang of China, defending World University Games champion Niklas Edin of Sweden, France’s Thomas Dufour and Denmark’s Ulrik Schmidt.

The final nation to compete in the Grey Power World Cup is Switzerland. A best-of-seven series between Ralph Stoeckli and Stefan Karnusian will declare their Olympic rep, who will then appear in Mississauga.

Ticket packages for the Grey Power World Cup of Curling are currently on sale, with seats available through Ticketmaster or by visiting the Hershey Centre box office.

The 2009 Grey Power World Cup of Curling is being lauded as the first major international curling event to be held in the Greater Toronto Area since 1986, when Toronto hosted the World Men’s Curling Championship.

The Toronto Curling Association has been a strong partner of the Grey Power World Cup of Curling with strong support from all of the TCA’s 23 member curling clubs.

Following the Grey Power World Cup, the 2009-10 men’s Capital One Grand Slam of Curling series continues with The National, taking place at the Sleeman Centre in Guelph, Ont. from January 6-10, 2010; the BDO Classic Canadian Open, from January 20-24, 2010 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg; and concludes with the Grey Power Players’ Championship, an event featuring separate men’s and women’s draws, to be hosted in April (dates and location TBA).

Two additional women’s Grand Slam events get underway next month, with the Calgary’s Trail Appliances Classic on October 9-12 and the Manitoba Lotteries Women’s Curling Classic scheduled for Winnipeg on October 23-26.

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Scots aim for Olympic splash

You’re the world champion. You’re expected to get a medal.

This was one of the first questions directed to Vancouver 2010 golden hopeful David Murdoch, during his recent radio interview with BBC Radio 5.

We note that this wasn’t really a question. But “Muddy” handled it with his typical media smoothness.

The interview highlights his team’s training schedule, and Murdoch makes particular mention of his appearance at the Capital One Grand Slam at Mississauga (Toronto) in October.

The two-time world champion also points to his summer training, in which both the men’s and women’s UK Olympic teams cross-trained at a camp in Cyprus.

Sure, the weather was lovely… but the training was somewhat rocky, as this video of the women’s team shows.

The Murdoch interview is posted here.

NOTE: the GB women, skipped by Eve Muirhead, are in Canada far earlier than the men… this week, in fact. They start Thursday at the Ontario Curling Tour Championships in Oakville, with a match against Lynne Middaugh of Orillia.

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CNE Curling (and Kurling)

Celebrate the Olympic Spirit is a live winter sport demo taking place at Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition (or CNE, or “The Ex”) through September 7.
The outdoor attraction featuring interactive Olympic sport activities in Ice Hockey, Speed Skating, Figure Skating, Skiing and Biathlon and the Paralympic winter sport of Ice Sledge Hockey.

And, of course, not one but two curling offerings: Curling and Wheelchair Kurling.

In just a week, thousands of patrons have dropped in and reports say that over 500 kids are monopolizing the displays daily, while the adults cheer them on… and look for the opportunity to throw some rocks themselves!

The Wheelchair “Kurling” demo is operated by the legendary Variety Village, utilizing the same Kurling stones used in the Capital One Rocks and Rings program.

The Curling demo is operated by the Toronto Curling Association, which is obviously keen on increasing interest in GTA curling in this critical Olympic season. Curling stars Brent Laing and Sherry Middaugh were there on the opening weekend.

The CNE venture is TCA’s first of the new season, which includes the big-league, World Cup-style championship coming to Mississauga in October. Along with the demo, visitors can learn about the 20-odd clubs in the GTA, and survey particpants can win a pair of event passes for the Masters.

In the above photo, Wheelchair Kurling is in the foreground while traditional (albeit dryland) Curling can be seen in the background. We’re not sure of the make of the TCA “stones”, but they may have been salvaged from the short-lived Olympic Spirit Toronto initiative.