Toronto’s TCA Goldline Men’s Curling Championships – the world’s largest curling bonspiel

curling rink

curling rink

This coming weekend the 2016 edition of the TCA Goldline Men’s Curling Championships kicks off with over 1,000 curlers at clubs across the Greater Toronto Area. A massive bonspiel, steeped in history, it is essentially the annual Toronto Open for the city’s top club curlers.

Annually contested since it kicked off in 1896

Amazing to think the TCA Goldline has been running continuously for well over a hundred years. It is the second longest running bonspiel in the world (Manitoba’s MCA spiel started in 1888). From Toronto Curling Association:

The TCA Men’s Championships are 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.”

Known by many a name over the years

As discussed, the Hiram Walker distillery sponsored the spiel early on, followed Canada Life. For many years the bonspiel was known as the ‘Canada Life’.

Then in the mid nineties the Investors Group stepped in to sponsor the tournament. In 1998 a group of curlers from the Weston Golf and Country Club stepped up, until Brick Brewing Company stepped up as sponsor from 1999 – 2001.

From 2002 – 2009 the Johnson Controls company sponsored the bonspiel under it’s Energizer brand.

Then in 2010 the Goldline curling supply company stepped up to sponsor the event.

The TCA Men’s Championship today

The TCA Goldline Men’s Championships are open to all club-level teams from across the GTA and beyond. The bonspiel attracts teams of all calibres from clubs across the city. Last year it had over 260 teams participate with games hosted at 19 different curling clubs including Scaraboro, High Park, Leaside, Tam Heather, Dixie, Oakville, Cricket, Annandale, Unionville, East York and many more.

Events include 4 different competitions – Open, Senior (50+), Master (60+) and Grandmaster (70+).

For more information on the event please see the event page at TCA website:

Good luck to all the competitors!

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 Brier preview from Team Kevin Koe

Kevin Koe

Kevin Koe

Kevin Koe

Things get cooking with the 2012 Tim Hortons Brier starting this Saturday in Saskatoon. Looks like a great field with many of the top men’s teams back again this year.

One of this year’s contenders is without a doubt Team Alberta and Kevin Koe. The 2010 champ is back and looking to take another run at the title.

Over on the Team Kevin Koe blog they did a great preview of their upcoming Brier week, with some great breakdowns of their upcoming games. Thought it was worth sharing as its a great look inside the team’s thinking as they enter the competition.

On their game with Team Glenn Howard:

Team Glenn Howard has been a nemesis of ours over the years. I think we are about 4-12 against them in six years together. Not exactly a shinning record. We did beat them in the Brier final though and that is enough to give us the confidence that we can compete with the favorites here this year week. It will also put a big giant shiny bullseye on us for them, they are going to want some vengeance for that loss. Hopefully we do not give them any here.

And their Tuesday games against Team Brad Gushue and N. Ontario’s Brad Jacobs:

Our hardest day on paper by far. This is Brad’s 27th Brier appearance (in all honesty it’s only his 9th, but he’s only 31! 9 Briers, 6 Junior Canadians and one Olympics by 31!) so there is no lack of experience in the back end of this squad. Surprisingly this is only the second time we will have played Brad this year. His team will always be in the hunt at the Brier and this year will not be any exception.

The team from Moose country. Easily one of the top teams in Canada. When we played them at the Halifax Brier we weren’t expecting to see them in the playoffs but they played great all week and we ended up having to beat them in the semi-final that year. Now … we expect them in the playoffs and we will hopefully be there to meet them. These guys put in the effort and play all over Canada now on tour and it is paying off. This is the fourth game in four draws for us so hopefully our conditioning is going to pull us through and we go out and finish off this tough stretch with a good win.

Should be an interesting week, good luck to all the teams. See the full blog with Brier preview from Team kevin Koe here.

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.


Reinvigorated Team Glenn Howard all set for new season

Glenn Howard

Glenn HowardNice piece over at on Glenn Howard and his team all set to hit the circuit for the coming curling season. (Update: original article was published by

As many of you know Glenn’s right hand man and third Richard Hart decided to retire in the offseason from competitive curling. So, the team will be hitting the ice this coming season with former world champ Wayne Middaugh stepping in as their third.

Should be an intriguing season for them. Could Middaugh be the added ingredient they need to finally get over the hump again after a series of Brier final losses? What do you think?

Curling on TSN – 2010/11

The leader in TV curling coverage, TSN, has released its schedule for the upcoming 2010/11 curling season.

TSN’s lineup includes extensive coverage of CCA ‘Season of Champions’ events including The Tim Hortons Brier and Scotties Tournament of Hearts as well as its homegrown, made-for-TV TSN Skins Game from Casino Rama.

Canada Cup of Curling
Saturday 12/4, 3:30pm – Women’s Semi Finals
Saturday 12/4, 8:30pm – Men’s Semi Finals
Sunday 12/5, 1:00pm – Men’s & Women’s Finals

Continental Cup of Curling
Thursday 1/13, 10:30am – Women’s Team Competition
Thursday 1/13, 3:30pm – Mixed Doubles
Thursday 1/13, 8:00pm – Men’s Team Competition
Friday 1/14, 10:30am – Women’s Team Competition
Friday 1/14, 3:30pm – Mixed Doubles
Friday 1/14, 9:30pm – Men’s Team Competition
Saturday 1/15, 11:00am – ‘A’ Skins Competition
Saturday 1/15, 4:00pm – Singles
Saturday 1/15, 9:30pm – ‘B’ Skins Competition
Sunday 1/16, 1:00pm – Women’s ‘C’ Skins
Sunday 1/16, 8:00pm – Men’s ‘C’ Skins

Casino Rama Skins Game
Saturday 1/22, 1:00pm – Semi Final #1
Saturday 1/22, 8:00pm – Semi Final #2
Sunday 1/23, 1:00pm – Championship Final

Canadian Junior Championship
Saturday 2/5, 7:30pm – Women’s Final
Sunday 2/6, 7:30pm – Men’s Final

Scotties Tournament of Hearts
Saturday 2/19, 1:30pm & 6:30pm – Draws # 1 & #2
Sunday 2/20, 8:30am, 1:30pm & 6:30pm – Draws #3, #4 & #5
Monday 2/21, 8:30am, 1:30pm & 6:30pm – Draws #6, #7 & #8
Tuesday 2/22, 8:30am, 1:30pm & 6:30pm – Draws #9, #10 & #11
Wednesday 2/23, 8:30am, 1:30pm & 6:30pm – Draws #12, #13 & #14
Thursday 2/24, 8:30am, 1:30pm & 6:30pm – Draws #15, #16 & #17
Friday 2/25, 1:30pm – Tiebreaker
Friday 2/25, 6:30pm – Page Playoff 1 v. 2
Saturday 2/26, 11:00am – Page Playoff 3 v. 4
Saturday 2/26, 4:00pm – Semi Final
Sunday 2/27, 6:30pm – Championship Final

Tim Hortons Brier
Saturday 3/5, 2:30pm & 7:30pm – Draws #1 & #2
Sunday 3/6, 9:30am, 2:30pm & 7:30pm – Draws #3, #4 & #5
Monday 3/7, 9:30am, 2:30pm & 7:30pm – Draws #6, #7 & #8
Tuesday 3/8, 9:30am, 2:30pm & 7:30pm – Draws #9, #10 & #11
Wednesday 3/9, 9:30am, 2:30pm & 7:30pm – Draws #12, #13 & #14
Thursday 3/10, 9:30am, 2:30pm & 7:30pm – Draws #15, #16 & #17
Friday 3/11, 2:30pm – Tiebreaker
Friday 3/11, 7:30pm – Page Playoff 1 v. 2
Saturday 3/12, 2:30pm – Page Playoff 3 v. 4
Sunday 3/13, 7:30pm – Championship Final

Big year for Martin with Olympic Gold win

Kevin Martin

Kevin MartinKevin Martin and his Alberta rink sure did deliver in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. They took the Olympic Golf for Men’s Curling and cemented their place in the hearts of Canadian curling fans everywhere.

Here’s a quick run-through of some of the memorable moments:

First off, a nice tap-back by Martin against Team USA in the round robin:

Next, Martin draws to the button for a win against Switzerland:

John Morris with a nice double in the Gold Medal game:

The crowd breaks out into ‘Oh Canada’ for the Gold Medal game:

And the Golden moment with Martin’s last shot:

Here is a better version from CTVOlympics, click here. (sorry, couldn’t embed)

Jason Gunnlaugson joining the Russians


Jason Gunnlaugson

I’m not sure if this is what young curler Jason Gunnlaugson grew up dreaming about. But now that the Manitoba native has been recruited by the Russian federation to be a full-time curler and train to be the country’s entry in the next Olympics, it creates a very interesting dilemma. Could he possibly pass up the chance to be paid handsomely ($100k a year) to curl professionally and compete in the next games, even if it meant vying for a medal with another country?

It’s a tough question to be sure.

The Winnipeg Sun has been following the story closely and updates can be found here, here and here.

Columnist Gary Engstrom probably said it best with this observation:

Don’t misunderstand, the target of my venom here is not Gunnlaugson, Richter, and Forrest for making the deal. In truth, most of us would have been hard-pressed to refuse such a lucrative offer to trade nation for personal gain.

No, the real jerks are Russian Olympic officials for stooping to such lengths and using loopholes in International Olympic Committee rules to hire mercenaries. Their goal is to win medals at any cost and maybe, just maybe, trick the Russian population into thinking they know what they’re doing.

What do you think? What would you do if you were in his shoes? An how do you feel about the sanctity of the Olympic Games when countries stoop to these antics to try and buy medals?

I’d be interested in your thoughts in the comments below.

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