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Day Passes for 2007 Brier go on sale

Patrons of the upcoming Brier in hamilton can now purchase day passes for seats that weren’t snapped up during weekly pass sales.

From the press release:

“This is a great opportunity for curling fans to pick a day of their choosing to enjoy all the flavour of the Tim Hortons Brier,” said Host Committee Chairman Dwayne Pyper. “It’s another way to allow fans who may not be able to attend for the entire week or for either the first or last weekend to at least experience the event for a day, at a very affordable price.”

And yes, entry to the Brier patch is included. Get’em while its hot, or before all the seats are gone….get Brier tickets online at the CCA website here.Â

Revisited – Warren Hansen’s ‘Curling: The History, The Players, The Game’


In keeping with the Christmas gift giving season I thought I would touch on something a little bit different today and delve into the world of curling books and curling literature (my mother was kind enough to give me this book for Christmas – thanks Mom!).

Originally published by Key Porter Books back in 1999 – Curling: The History, The Players, the Game – is an impressive collection of curling information meant to serve it would seem as a central guidebook for anyone (novice, expert or observer) interested in the game. Calling this publication a ‘coffee-table book’ would seem a little unfair given the book’s breadth of information, but it does fall into that category given its size, hardcover format, glossy appearance and myriad of photos. But what shines brightest about this book is the staggering array of information about the sport and the fact that it is laid out in an easy-to-consume format and can truly call itself one of the must-own books that every curler should have in their collection (at least for reference sake).

The book was put together by Warren Hansen who is currently the Director of Event Management & Media Relations for the CCA, but he also has a very storied place in the development of curling in this country and as such, seems to be uniquely qualified to write a book such as this. Hansen seems to have touched the game of curling in every way possible – he was a member of Hec Gervais’ Brier-winning rink in 1974, he was also one of Canada’s first curling teachers having launched one of the first curling schools and was one of the Canadian Curling Association’s first employees. To this day he is still very involved in CCA activities, particular the Season of Champions events (Brier, Scott, etc.) and is the managing editor its ‘Extra End’ wrap-up magazine. The foreword to the book was written by none other than former-world champion Kevin Martin.

As the title suggests the book is broken out in three main sections – History, Players and the Game.

I personally found the history section section to be quite interesting, tracing the roots of the game from Scotland through the modern game. But of particular interest was the ‘insider insight’ that someone like Hansen, with his years of service in and around the game, brings to this topic. Particularly the discussion around the inclusion of curling in Olympics was very interesting, with the author providing exclusive insight into the back-room politicking and positioning that eventually resulted in curling being granted full-medal status for the 1998 games in Nagano. As you will read in the book it was not an easy process and the roadblocks that the principles involved ran up against were sometime difficult to deal with (see IOC) and sometimes very surprising (including Ski Canada’s Ken Read?).

As well Hansen’s insider knowledge in the eventual development in a national curling association (see CCA) and the history of the Macdonald (Labatt) Brier makes for a really interesting read.

Along those same lines, Hansen takes the opportunity to wax poetic about some of the great champions of yesteryear from the sport of curling.

For students of the modern game like myself it was really enlightening to learn more about names like Ernie Richardson, Hector Gervais, Bud Somerville and Vera Pezer and others who helped pioneer the competitive game in this country. He also touches on players from the nineties like Sandra Schmirler and Russ Howard.


Finally, Hansen uses his extensive experience teaching and standardizing the game to provide a thorough guide to the rules, etiquette and playing of the game of curling. As you will see from the photo above he uses extensive photos and figures to illustrate all aspects of the game from the delivery of the stone to sweeping to strategy and much more. I am sure there have been a number of technical manuals written on the sport but this does seem to provide a look at all aspects of the physical game and its strategy that any curler should (or already) knows.

All in all I would recommend this book to other. Here is link to this publication on if you care to take a longer look.

In the coming weeks I will have a look at another popular curling publication The Black Book of Curling – brought to you by our friends at the CurlingZone.

No surprise in Harris return to Ontario

In hearing the news earlier this week that Mike Harris was returning to Ontario, as reported by the Curling News, can’t say I’m really surprised – for a couple of reasons. But, then again for someone like me who is also involved in the golf business, it would have been hard for me to say no to the Banff Springs as well (but it will look good on your resume Mike)!

First off, from a media standpoint, his CBC gig seems to be going very well. To my eye he has developed into one of the better curling analysts we see on television these days and you can certainly tell that his comfort level is high. With the CBC being based here, and with Toronto generally being the sports media hub of Canada – this is where he needed to be.

Also, from a curling perspective, to move from a competitive province like Ontario to a super-competitive arena like Alberta in the first place seemed like sporting suicide. To have 2 of the top teams in the world in Ferbey and martin to go through to make a Brier, that is tough. Never mind the depth of top-quality team beyond those two…

Lastly, it is good to see him land at the Donalda Club – a place where he got his start in the business and where he will have a certain comfort level. Let’s hope this is a good move for Mike in the long-run.

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.


Photograph by Dallas Bittle,

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 .


Photograph by Dallas Bittle,

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!


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


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.