Category - Events

Still struggles with the World Curling Tour

Kevin Martin

Kevin MartinInteresting reading the piece by George Karrys on the World Curling Tour about the pains still being felt despite the series rescue this past summer.

One subject of the WCT Great Debate has been blowing hot and cold for decades, and recently reared its ugly head during Tour Week 8 in early October.

Fans and Tour stakeholders alike — many of them anonymous — took to Twitter and web chat rooms to pass judgement on the supposed decline of the Westcoast Classic. The venerable Vancouver tour stop suddenly went from a 32-team men’s event and a prize purse of $80,000 to an 18-team tournament with lesser dollars, and a prime culprit was singled out: The Stu Sells Toronto Tankard, which has risen in profile (and attractiveness for top teams) in only three years of operation.

Edmonton titan Kevin Martin still went west — winning his third straight title and seventh of the last 12 years, ho hum — but a handful of other western squads, such as Manitoba’s Mike McEwen, Jeff Stoughton and Rob Fowler, chose to fly east to compete in Toronto.

Another villain, according to some, is the guy in charge of the Ontario Curling Tour: Gerry Geurts. The curling dynamo has helped build the attractiveness of the Tankard and other OCT events to the point that the same amount of Canadian Team Ranking Points (CTRS) are available in Toronto and at other OCT events as can be grabbed in other, more established WCT events — like Vancouver.

Despite the barbs that were traded in the social media space between team representatives hopefully this is something that will stabilize given Rogers Sportsnet ownership of the series. A dependable and healthy Grand Slam series is important for the sport, and hopefully it can seamlessly co-exist with other events, whether it be the Ontario Curling Tour or otherwise.
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2012 TSN Curling broadcast schedule

Great news for Canadian curling fans that TSN signed a new long term deal with the Canadian Curling Association to expand coverage of top curling events on the network through 2020. As part of the deal TSN will be the exclusive rights holder for Season of Champion events like the Tim Hortons Brier and the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Check out this page for a full listing of 2012 curling broadcasts on TSN and TSN2.

This is an important deal for all involved:

“The Canadian Curling Association is absolutely delighted to be announcing that our partnership with TSN has not only been extended, but also further enhanced for the long-term. This is one of the most significant items that the CCA has been able to achieve in our recent history,” said Greg Stremlaw, Chief Executive Officer, CCA. “This exclusive broadcast partnership with TSN, and now RDS, has provided an exceptional opportunity to further expose our sport to both existing and potential curling enthusiasts across Canada; grow our already significant programming hours; and ensure comprehensive broadcast stability for the next decade. The fact that approximately 250 hours of Season of Champions coverage will also be shown on French- language television is a wonderful success story for curling.”

It’s great to see curling become a cornerstone sport in TSN’s lineup. It should provide Canadian curling fans the breadth and consistency of coverage they have come to expect.

The Scotties gets going from Feb 18-26th, 2012.

Meanwhile the Brier is back in Saskatoon this year and happens Mar 3-11th, 2012.

 

 
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Observations: Day 1 of TSN Skins Game

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  • First and foremost for the digital enthusiast: curling looks unbelievable in High Definition – this is marked as the first event to be broadcast 100% in HD
  • Semifinal #1: in a squirrelly game on the new ice Howard gets the breaks early and Middaugh gets them late, when it counts, and takes the first match
  • The Rama Entertainment centre ice, sitting on top of the room’s concrete floor, played as you would expect in the first game. But should be kenner by the time Sunday’s final rolls around
  • Is the best still to come for Wayne Middaugh: he seems to have just been ‘hanging around’ the high echelons on the game the past few years. Will we see Wayne take a run at a Brier or an Olympic berth in the next few seasons? I suppose he has to get out of Ontario (and by Glenn Howard’s team) first…
  • Remains to be seen is Howard’s team has the same magic as they did a season ago. maybe its time to switch up those white belts??

More later…

TCA Energizer Men’s Bonspiel – Toronto, ON

One of Canada’s longest running curling tournaments.

From the Toronto Curling Association’s website:

The TCA Energizer Men’s bonspiel is one of the world’s oldest continuous curling event. The winners of the first Championship was the Rennie Rink, from the Caledonia Curling club, in 1896.
Prior to 1896, there was a city competition, but the format was different. At that time, 16 players threw 16 rocks, and there was no championship. The game was played by eight man teams throwing one rock each. As time went on the game changed and by the mid 1800’s, the most popular format of play was the Single Rink.

A championship was proposed in 1895 and the first Single Rink Championship of Toronto was held in January of 1896. They played twenty-two ends on natural ice with straw brooms. The good news was you couldn’t sweep a rock until it reached the middle line.

Hiram Walker sponsored the event in those early years before passing the torch to the Canada Life Assurance Company in 1906. Every January for the next eighty years, curlers assembled in clubs across the city to compete for the right to call themselves “Canada Life Champions.”

From 1994 -1997, the Investors Group sponsored the event, and in 1998 a determined group of curlers from the Weston Golf & Country Club kept the tradition alive. Brick Brewing stepped in as sponsor from 1999-2001. In 2002 Johnson Controls assumed sponsorship of this great event, under the banner of TCA Energizer Men’s Bonspiel.

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