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March of time at curling worlds

By Luke Coley

EDMONTON – I always look forward to working at the world championships, but this year is extra special because the event is taking place in Edmonton, where I live.

 
It’s hard to walk into Northlands Coliseum without remembering the atmosphere during the 2005 Brier and 2007 men’s worlds. It still gives me chills as I remember the ovation for Team Randy Ferbey, winning their fourth Brier title at home, as the crowd was on their feet for that final shot by David Nedohin. The entire crowd singing the Canadian anthem while waving the Alberta flag.

Then to see Glenn Howard and Team Canada come out to a packed house wearing cowboy hats to a sea of Maple Leafs on clothes, hats
and flags.

How things have changed for curling and for me, since that world championship in ’07. Back then I was living the single life, working for CurlTV (remember that?) and covering my second world championship. Now I am doing commentary for the World Curling Federation and I have a lovely wife and two amazing children.

It’s been so much fun to bring them in and show them the experience of a world championship that I have now covered more than a dozen times.

Players that were participating at those ’05 and ’07 events are now on the coaching bench, like Peja Lindholm as national team coach for Sweden and Brier champ Marcel Rocque leading the Chinese team – in the same building in which he raised the Tankard for the fourth time. At this championship they are honouring all past champions to win major curling events in Edmonton, which includes Rocque’s part in the Ferbey Four win in 2005.

The World Curling Federation now also has a live YouTube channel – World Curling TV – that allows fans around the world to watch the live coverage throughout the event. There are two full broadcast trucks producing live coverage that is reaching 90 countries on TV and many more via the YouTube channel.

The building that is hosting this event will probably be the last curling event ever here as a new state-of-the-art arena, Rogers Place, has been built in Edmonton. While the Coliseum has seen its share of great curling moments, I am sure there will be new ones created as the championship continues through the week.

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2013 Brier: You Gotta Be There – or do you?

The Sociables are more fun live, says Danielle

by Danielle Inglis

EDMONTON – What an experience. Here at the Brier, on site at Rexall Place in Edmonton, I’ve witnessed many amazing sights. In the last 24 hours we’ve seen Ontario’s Glenn Howard fall to both Manitoba and Northern Ontario in the playoffs, and a few hours before that we witnessed a sight neither seen nor heard since the bedlam that was the Vancouver 2010 Olympic curling competition: insane crowd noise and wild behaviour.

And on that note, the debate is on. Is it really worth it to spend the money to watch the Brier (or any other curling event for that matter) live, in person at the arena, or should you just watch the game on television from the comfort of your own home?
This has been a hot topic of debate among many, especially on the CurlingZone forums and in the media, during the STOH and now re-ignited during the Brier.
I’ve decided to follow up with some of the comments that I’ve been hearing, based on my own observations from this week.
Disclaimer: This is my first time at a Brier for more than a single draw, otherwise I have been a perennial TV watcher – mainly due to school, work or curling commitments not allowing me to be there in person. The last time I was at a Brier was in 2011 for the final in London, won by Jeff Stoughton.
TICKET PRICES
Sure, a few draws worth of tickets can start to add up, but compare that to what you would pay for an average NHL hockey game. People don’t hesitate to shell out a pretty penny for that – usually a few hundred dollars for tickets to a single regular-season game – but many will still balk at the thought of spending $500 for 17+ draws plus playoffs at a curling championship.
I’m not a math girl, but that amounts to about $20.00 to watch Canada’s best and be thoroughly entertained for at least three hours – plus whatever post-game merriment you wish to take in, at the Patch or the Purple Heart Lounge, that your ticket got you into. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me! If you have the funds, why not use them to support curling? Point to live.
Chances are – you have a better view than they do
TV COMMENTARY
I can’t deny that television commentators really add to the experience of the game, as they pass along expert analysis and tidbits of information throughout the broadcast. I do, however, see that there are ways to get that commentary at a live event.
Method number one: Go with a friend who is knowledgeable about the sport, and who can explain the ins and outs of curling (bonus if they have inside information). Method number two: Find one of the curling celebrities in the crowd and ask their opinion.
Too shy? Here’s method number three: You can always tune in to the broadcast via your portable radio or smartphone radio app, and listen to Vic, Linda and Russ while you watch, right there in the arena. Point to live.
TECHNOLOGY
This ties in with the TV commentary. Need to find a little extra information about a player, or want to see what people are saying on Twitter? Smartphones are so prevalent that it makes getting such info so easy. Simply click a button and the info will appear right in front of you. Bonus: When you’re at the event live, you can add to the information superhighway by posting your own photos or comments for others to read – more often than not, they will be jealous that you’re there and they’re not!) Point again to live.
COMMERCIAL BREAKS
This is a definite plus for live curling – no TV commercials! In your living room, you’re forced to watch the same commercials over and over… and as much as I love the new curling commercials, seeing them for the thousandth time during a single season gets old pretty quickly. At the live event, there is some entertainment during the break including prize giveaways, live music, the always popular kiss cam and more… and the minutes just seem to fly by. And it’s yet another point to live.
SUSTENANCE
My food experience thus far has included a lot of expensive, unhealthy arena food that leaves something to be desired. Although you have the option to dig deep for the $17 international buffet, if you can stomach paying that much for a meal each time. If you’re lucky, and you’re either an event sponsor or a guest of a sponsor, you might have access to higher-quality food in the VIP areas (wherever they are).
Numerous arguments were made on the Hurry Hard Blog supporting the author’s choice to watch the game at home. Though I don’t agree with everything said there, I do agree with the point about the food. You could save some serious costs there, not to mention that you could reach in your fridge and grab fresh fruit, or a variety of other healthier options, instead of only having limited choicees between fries, nachos, pizza and so on. First point to TV.
SEATING
Front row seating at home? That’s guaranteed, but what if I told you that you could have the opportunity to watch the Brier from multiple angles during a single live draw? From what I’ve experienced at the Brier, people have been changing seats more than a game of musical chairs. I happen to believe that variety is the spice of life, so being able to watch the games from different seats in the arena gives a new, fresh perspective. Point live.
Friday night at the Brier was simply explosive
ATMOSPHERE
It can be very comfortable sitting on your couch either by yourself or surrounded by friends, but absolutely nothing can beat the feeling of electricity that you get by being part of the crowd watching and cheering on these players. Sure, you can see crazy fans like The Sociables in snippets on TV when the camera pans towards them, but they are MUCH more entertaining and active than your big screen lets on.
One of the most incredible experiences this week for me was observing the energy and excitement of the crowd during Friday night’s games. The chanting and jeering was like being at an Oilers game! It was second only to the atmosphere at the Olympics in Vancouver.
And then there’s the “I was there when” factor. Yes, you saw Jennifer Jonesfamous in-off or Howard’s legendary Runback-Ricochet-Double something or other on TV, along with thousands upon thousands of other people, but… big deal.
There is something to be said for actually being there and experiencing it with the whole crowd, at that moment. Big, big point to live.
THE PATCH
Need I say more? Point live.
The verdict: To borrow a line from the Canadian Curling Association TV spots – You Gotta Be There! This experience has definitely changed my mind and given me a fresh new perspective. A live curling event is something that every curling fan should get to experience at least once, if not multiple times in their life. As one person pointed out to me this week, “live curling is all about the people.”
Come support your home province or country or simply your favourite team, but more importantly, come to enjoy the people and the atmosphere. I promise you, it’s worth it.
[The Curling News photos ® by Anil Mungal – click on images to increase viewing size. Subscribe to The Curling News here]
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2013 Brier: Players warned after TV equipment trashed

Damaged what? Who, us?

by George Karrys

The Curling News has learned that while no 2013 Brier competitors have been fined for misbehaviour, a member of one team damaged some equipment used by The Sports Network (TSN) earlier in the week – and restitution was paid for said equipment.

[UPDATED: The Canadian Curling Association has confirmed that no restitution was in fact paid; the player and team – and all the teams – were warned that if another incident occurs that results in equipment damage, payment will be required. Paragraph eight of the original story below has been edited to reflect this information.]

As reported in the cover story of our March print issue, Brier competitors can be fined by on-ice officials if their language or behaviour crosses the line, and in the past the Canadian Curling Association has taken action – although neither fines nor other disciplinary actions are usually acknowledged.

The subject of Brier behaviour and discipline made our cover due to the ejection of Saskatchewan second Chris Schille during one of his team’s provincial championship playoff games, plus the subsequent media furor his dismissal created.

The Curling News then created a good-natured video meme of Brock Virtue’s Saskatchewan foursome, based on the theme from the television show COPS – which has turned into a minor sensation.

According to the CCA, no player at this year’s Brier has been fined for any misbehaviour. The CCA has confirmed that warnings have been issued to players throughout the event, and The Curling News has learned that Team Saskatchewan and Kevin Martin’s host squad are among them.

I’ve been good – honest!

In addition, one particular warning was issued to all competitors following an incident involving television equipment.

According to sources, one of the Alberta competitors removed his player microphone and receiver and threw the equipment against a rink board, causing an estimated $4,000 in damage. A subsequent warning was issued to the player and team, and to the entire field, specifying that any future incidents resulting in similar equipment damage would require payment for repair or replacement.

All of this comes to light as the Brier’s final two round robin draws hit the ice today. After a must-win over Newfoundland and Labrador this morning, Alberta has scrambled from a 1-4 start to an impressive 6-4 record, and has the afternoon bye before facing defending champions Ontario tonight.

However, Martin and his Edmonton squad will need help from the field, in addition to a victory over Glenn Howard tonight, to have a chance at a tiebreaker or playoff berth.

For more on past tales of Brier discipline, here’s an excerpt from our cover story:

Manitoba Bad Boy Jeff Stoughton got an initial $1,000 fine back in the 2006 Brier – for accumulating offenses – which was allegedly whittled down to some $250 or so, but no official word was ever acknowledged by the player nor the CCA.

Russ vs Glenn in 2009: First they were smiling, then the older brother in yellow WENT BESERKER

New Brunswick skip Russ Howard, now a TSN curling analyst, tomahawked his brush during his final Brier appearance in 2009, during a loss to his brother Glenn, and was reportedly fined an undetermined amount – this after both Stoughton (again) and Newfoundland’s Brad Gushue had already boom-thwacked their way to some monetary discipline (Gushue was apparently fined $150).

Although our ace reporters wrote about it at that time on The Curling News Blog, no amounts nor the final status of any actions was ever confirmed.

When fines are levied, the payments typically go to the official charity of the CCA, the Sandra Schmirler Foundation.

The Alberta Curling Federation has a code of conduct for its championships, which includes a warning for a first offence of “verbal abuse” or “unacceptable language” and suspension from the current game and the next game for a second offence; a third offence will result in a suspension for the remainder of the championship. Breaking equipment, like a broom or a TV microphone, could also result in disciplinary measures.

As we wrote in our blogpost – and this is for fans on site at Rexall Place – If you think you’ve spotted an offence, keep your eyes peeled to the carpet after the matches, where the officials gather. This is apparently when the notes are compared, and decisions are made.

[The Curling News photos ® by Anil Mungal – click on images to increase viewing size. Subscribe to The Curling News here]

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2013 Brier: Big, bigger, biggest and monstrous

Brier wind sprints from NONT

by Colin Hodgson

EDMONTON – What does it take to reach the pinnacle of curling? Doing 1,000 push-ups a day? Throwing 1,000 rocks a day? Drinking strawberry daquiris in Veradero, Cuba?

That’s been the question all along. Both of the first two options are wrong on their own, but when combined one just might have found the formula for Brier success. It seems to be a common denominator with many of the Edmonton Brier teams – Brad Gushue’s Newfoundland, Jean-Michel Menard’s Quebec, Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton and Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs.

I recently tried to get an inside look at today’s high-performance training regimens by spending a week with Team Stoughton in Canada’s most sought-after winter vacation destination: Winnipeg, Manitoba. In February.

Why not, I thought? Jump on a plane and fly into The Freezer. What’s the worst that could happen? What a poor decision that was. Little did I know that a week-long stay with second Reid Carruthers would involve days at classic curling club gems the Granite and Fort Rouge, tossing endless stones, followed by a quick turnaround of lunch, then a gruelling gym session at the MTS Iceplex. That, by the way, is the training centere of many Winnipeg Jets hockey players including Olli Jokinen and Alexander Burmistrov.

Located at the Iceplex is High Performance Trainer, Athletic Therapist and Certified Ass-Kicker Melissa Skibinski of Focus Fitness. There are many words to describe her while one is working out, but none are remotely acceptable to pass on to the curling world. I think Carruthers states it best when he says “Melissa is a drill sergeant, I think she takes pride in making me cry.”

On the plus side, Skibinski seems to be barking just the right amount of orders. Given Stoughton’s strong 7-1 record heading into tonight’s battle against the beefy Northern Ontarians, it seems fitness has not been a concern.

SWEATY SWEEP: Reid Carruthers

“The guys basically have been working hard in the gym every day,” says Skibinski. “That’s not to say they haven’t been working hard on the ice, and they’ve definitely been committed and focussed on what they’ve needed to do in preparation for the Brier.”

When asked about what it’s like to boss around Jeff, Reid, Jon Mead and Mark Nichols, Skibinski  was quick to point out that it is interesting at any given time.

“Jon has a very good sense of humour, they all do,” she said. “I’m always entertained, mid-workout, at the comments made towards me. Often times they shoot dirty looks, mutter something under their breath. Even so, they battle through and finish their workouts. They all work hard and they don’t leave anything on the table.”

The same couldn’t be said for me. My goal was to try not to vomit on the fresh turf – and that almost happened on no less than six separate occasions. A little tidbit of information: do NOT eat chicken noodle soup 15 minutes before a cross-fit workout with Nichols – he’s a personal trainer himself, for God’s sake. “Goblin Swings” (What the heck? – Ed.) with a kettle bell certainly get the intestines moving… and if not, there’s always the next workout: four kilometers of rowing.

Watching – and participating – in what elite curlers put into the game certainly exposes the levels of fitness these athletes are really at. Smoking cigars on the ice and dropping ashes in front of stones (so they grind to a halt) doesn’t quite cut it anymore… hence the removal of hogline ash trays from most (but not quite all) curling facilities.

Now for Team Jacobs. This cast of four guys from Jack the Giant Slayer is made up of big, bigger, biggest, and finally monstrous. But being huge doesn’t necessarily correlate into great curling shots. Hours upon hours of throwing stones – with teammates and without – as well as a fitness regimen have been the key to this squad’s strong season. I asked Jacobs what his team did in preparation for Edmonton.

“To be honest, I think the whole season has been preparation for the Brier,” Jacobs said. “It was our goal at the beginning of the year to make it back here, and do all the right things from ’spiel to ’spiel in order to be well prepared coming in. We’ve put in a lot of hours on the ice practicing and playing highly competitive games to be ready for this week, as well as a lot of time at the gym. After provincials we really didn’t do anything differently. We had several light practices. We didn’t want to throw too many stones and be worn out or sore coming in.”

Yeah, the Sens liked our video!

Similar words on practice came from Newfoundland Brier rookie Brett Gallant. “Our icemaker, Tony Angel at Bally Haly, prepped the ice before every practice, four-plus feet of curl and 25 seconds hog to stop,” said Gallant. “Almost identical to Brier ice. We’ve been throwing on this type of ice all season.”

However, it’s apparent that hitting the gym is also a regular occurrence with these guys, too. I competed against these guys at a few junior events  over the years and trust me, they weren’t half the size they are now. Just don’t tell them I told you that!

It’s quite obvious that curling is changing. With more and more youths competing here at the Brier and in other major championships all over the world, fitness has become a big staple in high-performance curling. Look for it to grow even more prominent in the next few years to come, among young turks and veterans alike – even Glenn Howard has embraced working with a trainer over the past few years.

For you young guns looking to make an impact on the sport, talent will only get you so far. Get fit, go throw, make the decision to be great and follow what’s in front of you – because it’s happening in curling, here and now.

And now – some Goblin Swings, but without the soup churning around in my stomach…

[The Curling News photos ® by Anil Mungal – click on images to increase viewing size]

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Brier 2013: Yellow brick road

The NONT boys are featured on TSN this morning
by Colin Hodgson
The Great and Powerful Oz. Oh, what a magical place.
Emerald City (Edmonton) and their warm-hearted townsfolk welcome both their own – Kevin Martin’s Team Alberta – and many others from faraway lands great and wide. Every player from across Canada has endured his own trials and tribulations to get to Oz, or so I call it. Provincial kings have trekked down the yellow brick road (playdowns) leaving broken brooms of frustration in their wake, and hoisting cups in celebration.
The Edmonton Brier is what even the most accomplished players dream of and live for. Take, for example, the level of intensity in the epic Boston Pizza Cup final in Alberta’s battle of the Kevins, Martin and Koe. A pin drop could be heard in far corners of the Leduc building at the quietest of times, followed by eye-shaking explosions of cheers. Alberta fans do it right.
Sold-out crowds sweating out curling knowledge and experience, Edmonton fans are no n00bs (pardon my inner nerd) to huge curling events. This Brier seems to be no exception given, perhaps, the strongest field of all-time. Household names of past champions litter the field alongside young and budding All-Stars. It’s no surprise the most wily and seasoned veterans get a little giddy at the opportunity to play in the Great Gretzky’s house.
When talking to the defending Olympic champion about the hometown crowd, it’s hard to miss the excitement on his face. “Curling in the Brier in front of so many family and friends,” said Martin, “(and) the always enthusiastic Edmonton crowd (is) a blast.”
Saskatchewan “Bad Boy” Braeden Moskowy – who displays glimpses of Alberta’s own beloved Bad Boy Paul Gowsell – lavishes praise on Edmonton: “It’s the pinnacle of the sport and pretty much the sole reason I got into curling. It’s everything that’s great about the sport packed into one week. The competition, camaraderie and partying, as well as the chance to represent your province on the national stage to compete against Canada’s best.”
Reid wants more!
More words of praise come from all-star second Reid Carruthers of the 2011 Brier champion Team Jeff Stoughton: “Playing in the Edmonton Brier means a lot to me. The field is as strong as I’ve ever seen and the fans are amazing. It’s the perfect tune up for the trials next year in Winnipeg.”
(Yes, of course Reidarama had to mention Winnipeg, too. It’s in the Manitoba Charter of Curling Requirements, didn’t you know?)
Quebec’s heart-and-soul lead Phillipe Menard welcomes the challenge in Edmonton and embraces it with a very simple statement: “Biggest curling event, in the best curling city in the word. Do the math!”
Again and again, I ask the players competing at Rexall Place – until there’s no longer a point, the answers are all repetitive. It’s obviously very simple.
Edmonton Brier fans: the yellow brick road these teams have travelled provided them with extra drive and motivation for one reason – you make they payoff great in every way. Keep it up, folks.
[The Curling News photos ® by Anil Mungal. Click on images to increase viewing size]
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Brier 2013: Our pundit predictions

That’s a lot of purple hearts. They should wear ’em all.

As advised, the March issue of The Curling News includes some essential Brier content – including predictions from an elite panel of experts.

Mark Dacey, Sherry Middaugh, Al “The Iceman” Hackner and Randy Ferbey have all donned their thinking caps and made their calls on how Edmonton 2013 is going to throw down; be sure to check out the March issue for all the fun.

And now we’ve added a fifth fearless prognosticator, just for our online followers. From a busy weekend coaching his sons at a provincial bantam championship, here’s the picks from world champion, Olympic medallist, ex-Howard third and new Sportsnet curling analyst – Richard Hart!

Ontario – 9-2
Alberta – 9-2
Manitoba – 9-2
These three teams are closely matched and are head and shoulders above the rest of the field. These guys will be the gold, silver and bronze medal winners and will all be playing next Sunday. All three of them will be 1-1 against each other and then lose one other game to the field out of sheer boredom.
Northern Ontario – 7-4
Quebec – 7-4
These two teams will be the best of the rest and play a tiebreaker for the fourth spot. Unfortunately for the winner, all the TB means is two more losses to their record (the 3-4 game and the bronze medal game).
Saskatchewan – 6-5
Newfoundland and Labrador – 6-5
These guys will have to wait a few more years for the Big Three to retire. Nice week!
To the rest of the field… congratulations on making it to the greatest show in curling. Edmonton 2013 will be one of the best Briers ever; enjoy the Patch!
Finally, Manitoba vs Ontario in the final. It’s a coin flip… but I know who I’ll be cheering for!

[CCA photo by Michael Burns – click on image to increase viewing size]

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Brier 2013: The legend of Matt Baldwin – Part II

Tonight in Edmonton, living legend Matt Baldwin will be honoured at the Opening Banquet of the Brier. Senior Columnist Larry Wood has a feature in the current March (Brier) issue of The Curling News titled The legend of Matt Baldwin – that is part one; here is part two…

by Larry Wood

Matt Baldwin: “The game needs characters like him”

On the last day of round-robin play in Victoria, Baldwin was sidelined with an illness. To this day, third Dr. Jack Geddes is remembered as an undefeated Brier skip for directing a last-round victory over Don Bauld of Nova Scotia. Baldwin returned to the teehead for a successful playoff venture against the Braunstein kids from Manitoba, sitting in a chair back of the ice sheet between shots with ice bags available.

At the 1971 affair, a blizzard-battered Brier if there ever was one, Baldwin’s team lost two of its first five games and decided to move into a palatial suite of rooms at Quebec City’s Chateau Frontenac and hold a five-day party interspersed with visits to the arena by snowmobile.

The way Matt figured it, wrote Buckets Fleming, if he wasn’t going to tie Ernie Richardson for a fourth Brier title, at least he was going out in style.

“None of the furniture in that suite was younger than 1890,” Baldwin declared. “It was really something. But the atmosphere at that whole Brier was just too much for everybody. I skinned my knee in a famous wrestling match with my third, Tommy Kroeger. And my second Rick Cust spent so much time doing the town that he wound up not being able to speak a word of English at the finish.”

Baldwin also called one press conference after another to express his opinion of the rocks being used at the Brier. He suggested the Canadian Curling Association lower them to the bottom of the St. Lawrence River.

“Those rocks were crazy and you’d go numb watching what they’d do,” Baldwin told any reporter who’d listen. “But nobody would take my word for it. They said it was the ice. But ice doesn’t do those things. A few years later, they finally believed, and they got rid of those rocks.”

A native of tiny Blucher, just east of Saskatoon, Baldwin was one of the first young players to invade a game that was generally considered fodder for old men… and his first commandment was F-U-N.

“I figured it was a helluva sport,” he once recalled. “Four guys can get together and drink, play cards and have a great time. I figured it was too good for the old guys.

“From the time I was a kid in Saskatchewan – I was conscripted to curl when I was 14 because, back in 1940, everybody else was at war – the Brier was the ultimate. Just to get there would be something. I should have paid more attention to my studies when I was in university than I did. I came damn close to screwing it up, simply because of curling. I was addicted to it. I always thought if I could win the Brier, that would be better than getting a degree.”

Turned out he was safe on all counts.

Long-time Winnipeg broadcaster Bob Picken recalls Baldwin’s unbeaten Brier performance at Kingston in ’57 in terms of “individual brilliance”.

“His curling skills and his creative strategy were so exceptional that many Brier veterans describe his performance as the best single-handed display of curling in the history of the event.”

Fate dealt Matt Baldwin a lousy hand where global curling eminence is concerned. The world championship was introduced the year after he won his last Brier.

What they can’t take away from him, though, are his Brier successes and his litany of memories and stories for which recognition has been long overdue.

“You know what?” he said some time back. “I haven’t thrown a rock for a long time… but my hair still stands on end when I hear those bagpipes”.

[To read the first two-thirds of this feature, subscribe to The Curling News or contact us with regard to purchasing the March 2013 issue]

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The Curling News: 2013 Brier edition

Hurry hard to get the March issue

We haven’t promoted our print edition on the blog in a very long time, and there happens to be a major curling event starting this weekend in Edmonton… so here we go.

You won’t want to miss the March 2013 issue of The Curling News, aka The Brier Issue. The cover story leads with The Bad Boys, aka Brock Virtue’s Saskatchewan foursome, and what on earth really happened at the Sasky provincial. But that’s not all: the story goes on to compare other Brier Bad Boys and their recent misbehaviours at the Big Show, and what the Canadian Curling Association has traditionally done about their trangressions – or not. So unlike what this fun video exemplifies, there might be more than just one team of Brier Bad Boys at Rexall Place.

Our Brier coverage continues with columnist Terry Jones, who points to the significance of the Brier plus Alberta’s Team Kevin Martin as the host hopefuls… and also wonders if this will be the last Brier to feature the Big Three: KMart, Jeff Stoughton and Glenn Howard? There’s also a feature from Senior Columnist Larry Wood on Edmonton curling hero Matt Baldwin, who will be feted live and in person during Friday night’s opening Brier banquet: Baldwin is more than curling’s oldest living Brier champion skip, he was – according to Woody and others – the sport’s first bonafide character, the Guy before Hemmings, so to speak.

There’s also a full-page feature on our official The Curling News Brier Predictions, where no less than four all-star curling legends offer their fearless punditry – who will win, place and show (and not) from March 2-10. Who are they, you wonder? Subscribe today, right away, and we’ll toss your Brier Issue into the mail same day, rushed to you pronto.

Of course, there’s more than The Brier to enjoy in this issue. Newsdesk and They Said It are two of our most popular monthly departments, and this month is no exception. A popular player and pundit – who wields a large digital footprint – weighs in with his love for the sport contrasted with the one thing that really, really bothers him about curling. There’s value for curling facility mangers and decision-makers, too, as this month’s The Dominion Club Corner tells us all about the tiny curling club that just sold its naming rights to a local business for $25,000 a year; that’s a whopping $250,000 in fresh funding over the duration of a 10-year contract.

There’s more, too, including the monthly Curling TV/Web Guide, listing all the televised and online curling coverage you could hope to find and watch, through March and half of April, and across multiple platforms in multiple countries. Not just the Brier, and world women’s and world men’s – how about a replay of last year’s Brier final between Alberta’s Kevin Koe and Ontario’s Howard? How about coverage en francais, via Quebec’s RDS2? How about a provincial championship for Saskatchewan’s Mixed Doubles championship, and another featuring their recreational players, leading to this fall’s The Dominion Club Curling Championship?

That’s right, The March issue of The Curling News has it all. And if you don’t have it yet, check out your subscription options today. We’ll be glad to tuck you in, and we thank you in advance for your support.

[Lineup of March issue contents located here; click on cover image to increase viewing size]