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Curling tours partner for the future

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND AND LONDON, CANADA
JUNE 28, 2017

The World Curling Tour (WCT) and Curling Champions Tour (CCT) have announced a formal merger, creating a truly global tour of some 250 championship curling events.

Based in North America since 1992, the WCT has long been the ultimate competition circuit for all high-performance curling teams. Founded in 2005, the Europe-based CCT has grown rapidly and now boasts all the trademarks of traditional WCT events, attracting larger sponsors and delivering professional webstreamed or televised coverage.

Both tours have also recently expanded into the Pacific region, with high-powered curling championships now hosted in China, Korea and Japan.

“This is a great day for the Roaring Game,” said the WCT’s Gerry Geurts from London, Ontario, Canada. “As we begin another Olympic curling season, the official merger of the WCT and CCT into one organization clearly proves, once again, that curling is one of the fastest-growing winter sports in the world.”

“From the beginning, the CCT and WCT have worked closely together,” said CCT’s Armin Harder from Zurich, Switzerland. “CCT events have been incorporated and counted on the Order Of Merit points list. And the CCT’s beginnings have been largely based on the same ideas and principles as that of its close relative tour in North America.

“To the fans it has always seemed like one Tour, but in terms of operations they have been quite different. CCT has found it necessary to take a new business approach in order to face the challenges of forging into new curling markets. Today both organizations officially share that vision, and curling fans will benefit most.”

The combined Tour will bear the name of the World Curling Tour and feature new branding reminiscent of the Curling Champions Tour. A new website at the URL worldcurl.com will be launched shortly.

The World Curling Tour events will now be divided into two categories, a “WCT Masters Series” and a “WCT Challenger Series.” On top of that a “Champions Series” aka “Majors” will be created over the next few years, outside of Canada, to complement the popular Grand Slam of Curling series.

In the past two seasons a CCT World Mixed Doubles Tour has experienced explosive growth and popularity. Now poised to lead the development of more Mixed Doubles events in North America and Asia, the new World Curling Tour can better manage the fastest growing segment of the sport.

Mixed Doubles will make its Olympic debut as a full-medal sport at February’s 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Korea.

Additional growth is planned for the Asia-Pacific Curling Tour, an expected World Junior Curling Tour and even a global Tour for Wheelchair Curling, an official Paralympic Games medal sport at Korea next year.

“The World Curling Tour now counts some 250 champion events taking place in 2017-18,” said Geurts. “We will work to increase the amount of streaming and TV coverage worldwide to showcase the Tour and its increasing number of events.”

“We will also continue expanding into new regions in hopes of developing new young teams, and providing them with a place to enjoy the sport and hone their skills,” said Harder. “These new athletes will be the engine for the future growth of our sport.”

For inquiries on the WCT scoring system, World Team Ranking (former OOM), draws and other IT-related matters, please contact Gerry Geurts at: gerry-at-curlingzone-dot-com

For inquiries on WCT Tour development, new events, marketing, sponsorship opportunities, television and internet streaming, please contact Armin Harder at: info-at-curlingchampionstour-dot-org

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Scottish Brits win Ontario Tour title

OAKVILLE, Ontario – Greg Balsdon’s 7-5 victory in the final over Rob Lobel signified a solid 2009 men’s Ontario Curling Tour Championship.

Both Greater-Toronto-Area (GTA) teams are provincial contenders, and semifinalist Wayne Middaugh is no slouch, either.

Middaugh, incidentally, lost to the Lobels – again – as has often been their head-to-head result over the past decade or so.

However, when Eve Muirhead bushwhacked Brantford’s Jo-Ann Rizzo 8-0 in just four ends to capture the women’s title (above photo by Anil Mungal), everything had seemed a bit… odd.

Not the fact that Muirhead’s highly skilled squad won the event, going 7-0 throughout the week. Just the fact that Muirhead represents the Great Britain Olympic team, who all happen to be Scottish, and who are now jetting home across the Atlantic ocean, about as far as away from Ontario, Canada as one could expect.

“We played very solid as a team,” said Muirhead, who was supported by 2002 world champion skip Jackie Lockhart, 2007 world bronze-medal skip Kelly Wood and veteran Wood front-ender Lorna Vevers.

“(Rizzo) missed a draw in the second end and that was our steal,” said the three-time world junior champion Muirhead, who nabbed four points after scoring two in the opening frame.

“We didn’t really miss a shot after that, I don’t think.”

Muirhead said she loves to come to Canada “to get in spiels like this, the opponents are quite good.

“And we’ll be back in a few months to come.”

The Olympians-to-be, who captured $5,000 for the victory, will compete in an exhibition series during the men’s Capital One Grand Slam of Curling event in Mississauga, to be followed by women’s tour events in Red Deer, Alberta and Saskatoon.

Rizzo, who earned $2,500, was as supported by U.S. skip Patti Lank (who replaced calendar girl Chrissy Cadorin), Lee Merklinger and Leigh Armstrong.

Rizzo went 3-1 in her pool before defeating Quebec’s Eve Belisle 8-3 in the quarterfinals and Thornhill’s Colleen Madonia 5-3 in the semifinal.

Muirhead had a cracker of a match in her semi, edging Hamilton’s youthful Brittney O’Neil by a 5-4 count.

On the men’s side, Balsdon earned $6,000 for the win while Lobel was consoled with $3,000.

Other men’s playoff contenders included Middaugh, Sarnia’s Jason Young, Guelph’s Rob Rumfeldt, Harriston’s Jake Higgs and Trevor Feil of Elora.

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Olympic curling season

And just like that, the 2010 Olympic curling season has begun.
After a busy summer, which saw various camps held in Ontario, Atlantic Canada, British Columbia, and Prague and Fuessen in Europe – plus the requisite summer bonspiel circuit – the ice is in and we’re underway.

The first event on the rebranded Curling Champions Tour – the former World Curling Tour Europe – is underway in Baden, Switzerland. And we can see by the Urs Raeber photo, above, that Olympic-bound Thomas Ulsrud of Norway (in white and red) has some spiffy new uniforms, while opponent Claudio Pescia of Switzerland is still wearing his four-year old green kit. Click to zoom in!

Actually, we love green, and we assume Team Pescia does too. However, the Norwegians pummelled the Swiss 10-3 to start the new Euroseason.

In other matches of note, Canada’s Brad Gushue defeated Switzerland’s Ralph Stoeckli 3-2, while Canada’s Mark Dacey was dumped 6-2 by the defending world champions from Scotland, skipped by David Murdoch.

Canada’s Randy Ferbey takes to the ice in a few minutes, against Switzerland’s Manuel Ruch.

Follow the Baden Masters 2009 results here, and be sure to check out The Curling News Facebook group for more action photos!

Why not join the group? It’s free, with a Facebook account.

In Canada, the Ontario Curling Tour Championships are also underway in Oakville, featuring both men’s and women’s draws, the latter including the Great Britain Olympic team. Eve Muirhead’s troops took out local Lynne Middaugh by an 8-3 score last night.

Another early result of interest saw Alison Goring’s brand new squad upend last year’s provincial finalists – ie. her ex-teammates, now led by Cathy Auld – by a 5-4 count. A fun bit of drawmastering from OCT chief Gerry Geurts, we surmise.

On the men’s side, four teams are 2-0 – including Joe Frans and the Lobel brothers – with Wayne Middaugh set to begin play this morning.

Game on, folks!