Category - Curling News

Greg Stremlaw named Canadian Curling Association CEO

[photopress:gregStremlaw3.jpg,full,alignleft]Following the departure of Dave Parkes in May, the Canadian Curling Association has named Greg Stremlaw as it’s new CEO.

Stremlaw, a native of Niagara Falls Ontario is not a curler but he surely knows his way around the business of sport. His resume has seen him helm a number of sports organizations and that experience serve him well in his new position. He will begin his duties at the CCA in May.

Currently a resident of Cambridge, Ontario, Stremlaw was most recently the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort in Kitchener, where he has been employed since 2002. Prior to that, he worked as Director, Sport Services & Bobsleigh/Luge for the Calgary Olympic Development Association (CODA) from 1996-2002, which included his role as Race Chairman/Race Director for all International World Championships/World Cup events in the sports of Skeleton, Luge and Bobsleigh.

He also holds degrees from the University of Miami (Masters of Sports Management) in Coral Gables, Florida, the University of Maine (Masters of Business Administration) in Orono, Maine and the University of Western Ontario (Bachelor of Arts in Commerce) in London, Ontario.

Certainly part of Stremlaw’s job will be to restore confidence in an organization that has seen it’s share of controversy. A number decisions made by his predecessor Parkes including ones involving the TV schedule have left the CCA struggling to gain the trust of the Canadian curler. It should prove interesting to watch how Stremlaw makes his mark in his new role.

One thing is sure, we’ll all be watching.

Curling rink takes top honour

Very cool news from south of the border. Pete Fenson and his rink of Scott Baird, John Shuster and Shawn Rojeski, and Joe Polo have been named the team of the year, by the US Olympic commitee. The bronze medal represents the first olympic curling medal for the US and I suspect it won’t be the last one either.
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Hopefully, this news will continue to increase interest in the game throughout the United States and get more people out to experience this great game.
Congratulations boys, you deserve it and thank you for creating more buzz for our ‘quirky sport’.

The weekend in Waterloo

The Home Hardware Masters of curling is well under way in Waterloo this weekend and Don Walchuk has been the story so far as he continues to play giant killers. With wins this weekend, over Randy Ferby, Jeff Stoughton and Kevin Koe and include his recent win over Kevin Martin last weekend to the victims list of late. This team could be peaking, and could be dangerous in the playoffs if they can continue their strong play… only time will tell. Joining Walchuk this weekend at third is Don Bartlett, who doesn’t mind the eight end format of the grand slam events this year, “it’s good for us old guys” said Bartlett with a grin.

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Photograph by Dallas Bittle, www.curlingzone.com

There will be plenty of action here today, with tie breakers getting under way at 1:30 PM, followed by the quarter finals at 5:30 and the semis tonight at 8:30. There are tickets still available so come on out and enjoy the action. The World Curling Tour is a grass roots orginization and the fans and sponsors support will go a long way to the overall growth of professional curling in Canada.

Growing the game in the United States is another story and will take exposure, money and plenty of the later. Events like last weeks Korbell Elite Challenge are a step in the right direction. According to Pete Fenson, “Events like that are huge” he added “getting exposure is the number one thing”. The USCA is doing the best it can with limited resources but still needs more money. Another problem with growing the game in the US, has been the shortage of curling stones, which cost around $ 6,400.00 CDN for a complete set. With the recent arrival of thirteen tonnes of Scottish Granite there will soon be plenty of curling rocks to be loaned out to new curling clubs with an option to buy once the lease expires .

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Photograph by Dallas Bittle, www.curlingzone.com

Unfortunately for Pete Fenson, a snow storm delayed his team’s departure from Chilliwack and as a result he lost his first game by default which means he finishes with a record of one win and four loses. The Fenson rink has done reasonably well at these grand slam events, in fact he has qualified for the playoffs in all but three events. This might be the year that Pete finally wins a slam, it just won’t be this one.

A new nickname has been given to the Ferby four here in Waterloo, say hello to the Hardcore Four!

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Is it just me or are the Simmons team uniforms beginning to look like something out of the Swedish elite league?

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Lastly, a public service announcement of the organizers of curling events everywhere…. please, please stop playing the Macarena at curling events!… oh, and you can add the Chicken Dance and anything by the Village People to the list as well.

Europe wins the Continental Cup

Team Europe claimed the Continental Cup yesterday, beating Team North America handily by taking 229 points of the available 400. Team North America played well early on in the event but just couldn’t get it done in the skins games as the European contingent won almost all of the available points. Rumour has it that the Continental Cup is in jeopardy due to lack of funding and some misgivings on the part of the WCF. Hopefully this is not the case as I found the entire event a joy to watch and from what I can gather all the players enjoyed the experience as well.

Speaking of fun events, I thought NBC did a fantastic job on their coverage of the Korbel Elite Challenge. Pete Fenson squeaked out a win over Debbie McCormack in the battle of the sexes, but the real winner here was the game of curling itself. Don Chevrier and Don Duguid did a great job of explaining strategy and all of the different shots from draws, quiet tap backs to up-weight takeouts which should make the game more interesting to anyone new to the sport. It was also nice to see that Dan Jansen and Picabo Street seemed genuinely interested in learning the strategy and they appeared to be enjoying to whole experience. Could an Olympic curling medal be in their futures….. on second thought, I highly doubt it.

Lazy Handles

Tickets are still available for the Home Hardware Masters grand slam of curling in Waterloo, Ontario starting this Wednesday. The field is full of talent which should make for some great curling so show your support. CBC Sports will be showing the final this Sunday for those of you who can’t be there in person.

The alarming trend of clubs closing down continues, this time it is the Lakeshore Curling Club in Lower Sackville, N.S. and the local curlers are understandably upset. Please see the article in The Daily News.

Gushue’s golden boys are to be inducted into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador with Russ Howard becoming an honourary member. Congratulations and well deserved.

Gushue and Howard – reunited once again

The Curling News is reporting that Olympic heros Brad Gushue and Russ Howard will play together at this weekend’s Continental Cup of curling – and for the first time since Torino. Full story is here.

You can also check the weekend pairings for the Continental Cup here.

Since the Olympics the two skips have been leading their own rinks:

Gushue has replaced Russ with youthful Alberta import Chris Schille on the road to 2010, while Howard will seek his Brier fortune out of his hometown of Moncton, along with son Steven Howard. Thus, this fourth edition of the Continental Cup is the last hurrah of the men’s Olympic champions, in terms of the once-controversial lineup change that brought Howard on board in October, 2005.

I for one, couldn’t really see a real reunion on the ice for these 2 (before the next Olympics), but it does bear watching. Stranger things have happened…

Quebec’s win streak stopped at seven

British Columbia handed Quebec their first loss at the mixed championships on Wednesday. Alberta started the game with the hammer and managed to score two points in the second after successfully blanking the first end. They would go on to steal a single point in the third before Eve Belisle managed to get on the scoreboard, picking up three in the forth. The game turned defensive at that point, as B.C. blanked the fifth, then was held to a single point in the sixth. Quebec managed to tie the game at four with a single of their own in the eight end. B.C. skip Brad Kuhn was able to blank the ninth and he followed up with a single to stop Quebec’s undefeated streak at seven. Quebec would go on to post a 9 – 6 victory over Alberta, ending the day with an overall record of 8 – 1, locking down first place overall in the round robin.

The final day of the round robin is going to be interesting to say the least. Manitoba and New Brunswick are tied for second place with a record of 6 – 3. Five teams share third, including defending champs Ontario, along with Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan and Newfoundland at 5 – 4. Northern Ontario sits alone at 4 – 5, P.O. stands at 3 – 6 with Nova Scotia at 2 – 7 and the Northwest Territories / Yukon at 0 – 9. This is the first time that this NWT rink has played together as a team and its been said that they are enjoying the entire experience.

It is North America vs Europe

Team North America gets set to take on Team Europe in the forth installment of the Continental Cup in Chilliwack, British Columbia. The event gets underway Thursday November 23rd and runs through until Sunday the 26th. Representing Team North America will be the Canadian rinks of Jean Michel Menard, Brad Gushue, Shannon Kliebrink, Kelly Scott and the American squads of Pete Fenson and Debbie McCormack in what can only be called an All-Star team.

Not to be outdone, the European team will be represented by Finland’s Marku Uusipaavalniemi, Norway’s Pal Trulsen, Scotland’s David Murdoch, Germany’s Andrea Schopp, Switzerland’s Miriam Ott and the most dominant women’s team in the world, led by Sweden’s Annette Norberg and her golden girls.

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Team Sweden’s Anna Svard

The competition is points based, not unlike golf’s Ryder Cup, with 400 total points available from the four different events. The four events are mixed (36 pts), singles (32 pts), team competion (72 pts) and the skins format (260 pts). For anyone unfamiliar with the skins format in curling, you must score two or more points with the hammer, and without last rock you must hold the opposition to one point or better yet, steal one or more to win a skin. For more details on each event and the scoring system for each event, please see the Continental Cup website.
Team North America will be looking to keep the title and improve their record to 3 – 1 in Continental Cup but Team Europe has the talent and the experience to even the series at two a-piece.

Tickets are still available for the event and can be purchased through ticketmaster, and Curltv will be broacasting live from the event.


Canadian mixed championships under way in Waterloo

Play is under way at the mixed curling championships in Waterloo, Ontario with Alberta and Quebec leading the pack, winning their first two games. Quebec, led by Skip Eve Belisle, vice Mark McCory, second Martine Comeau and lead Christian Bouchard upset defending champions Ontario 7 – 4 in draw 1. Also in draw 1, Alberta beat New Brunswick 9 – 7, P.E.I. beat NWT / Yukon 8 – 5 and Saskatchewan outscored Nova Scotia 10 – 3. Draw 2 saw Alberta beat P.E.I. by a score of 9 – 5, with key steals of 1 in the ninth and three more in the tenth. B.C. won their opener by defeating Manitoba 8 – 6, starting the game without the hammer, and a stealing single point in each of the first three ends. Northern Ontario beat Newfoundland and Labrador by a score of 7 – 3 and New Brunswick scored 11 points in 6 ends on route to a 11 – 2 victory over the Northwest Territories / Yukon rink.

Canadian Mixed Curling Championships kicks off Saturday

The championship curling season starts to get in full gear this week as the 44th annual Canadian mixed curling championships get started Saturday at Kitchener’s Westmount Golf & Country Club.

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The defending champion is Ontario‘s John Epping from the Oakville Curling Club who will try and re-capture the title he claimed last year in Whitehorse. Epping and his team of Julie Reddick, Scott Foster and Leigh Armstrong had a great run last year en route to victory winning 10 straight games ater dropping their first 3. On tuesday of this week members of Oakville CC hosted great reception to send them off..and wish them luck against a tough field.Â

As earlier reported there will be TV coverage of the final on Rogers Ontario.

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Canadian Mixed Championships final to receive limited television coverage

Looks as though the Canadian Mixed Championships will receive some television coverage afterall. According to Sweep! magazine, the CCA has decided to allow Rogers Television to broadcast the event final after all. The bad news, the broadcast which is scheduled to air Saturday November 18th at 8:00 PM EST, will only be available to Ontario Rogers subscribers. One can only hope that there is still enough time and sufficient interest for other cable outfits across the country to get on board.More info on the venue Westmount Golf & CC.

Lazy Handles

With several clubs closing there doors for good recently, it is nice to see that interest is on the rise at the Carol Curling Club, in Labrador City, NFLD and Labrador according to The Aurora.

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