By Tim Switzer, Canwest News Service

REGINA – All in all, it wasn’t a bad start to the curling season for Regina’s Amber Holland.

Holland and her teammates – third Kim Schneider, second Tammy Schneider and lead Heather Kalenchuk – went 8-0 during the Schmirler Charity Curling Classic at the Callie Curling Club, finishing off Monday with a 6-3 win over Kelly Scott of Kelowna, B.C., in the final.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Holland. “We’ve never gone undefeated in any event we’ve played in the four years we’ve been together so it was great to get on a roll, stay on a roll and finish off with the win.”

After going 5-0 in the round robin, Holland’s team beat Winnipeg’s Janet Harvey 5-3 in a quarter-final Monday and then bested Regina’s Chantelle Eberle by the same score in the semifinal round.

“You’d like to think all the off-season training you do contributes,” Holland said with a laugh. “I think we were just really focused on playing the ice the way it was and (taking) what it gave us. We didn’t want to make anything too difficult. We weren’t going with any difficult game plan. We just stayed with something simple because we knew it was our first ‘spiel. We wanted some success and be on the ice.”

That simple approach may be the one to take as Holland and Co. prepare for the rest of the season, including the Olympic pre-trials Nov. 10-14 in Prince George, B.C.

Holland’s team is one of 12 women’s squads taking part in the pre-trials to try and win one of four remaining spots in the Olympic trials in Edmonton beginning on Dec. 6. Eight men’s and eight women’s teams qualify for the full trials with the winners representing Canada at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.

“It’s hard to believe it’s coming so fast, especially for our team because we qualified a year and a half ago for that (pre-trials) event,” said Holland. “It seemed like it was a long ways away and now it’s like, `Oh, it’s here.’ It’s going to be good though.”

A win at the Schmirler was just another step down that road.

“It’s good to be in the finals, playing teams like Kelly, playing all those teams that we’re going to play on another weekend and at the pre-trials (or) the trials,” said Holland. “The more you can do that, the more you learn and the better you’re going to be.”

Monday’s final started off with the teams forcing one another to take singles in the first two ends before Holland broke things open with three in the third.

Scott looked to be in good shape early in the end with two rocks frozen but a few key takeouts, a Scott jam and an angled takeout by Holland on her last stone gave the Saskatchewan rink control.

Holland stole one in the fourth before the teams traded singles again in the fifth and sixth. From there, Holland just had to run Scott’s team out of rocks over the last two ends.

It was exactly the type of game Holland hopes to see from her team over the rest of the schedule as it gets ready for the pre-trials.

“We need consistency,” said Holland. “Whatever game it is we’re bringing to the ice, we just have to do it well and do it the same and be consistent. No one else can throw our rocks for us, only we can.”

Holland’s team took home $12,000 for the win while Scott won $8,000. Eberle and Tracy Streifel (Saskatoon) won $5,000 apiece for reaching the semifinals, while quarter-finalists Harvey, Kristy Jenion (Winnipeg), Erika Brown (Madison, Wis.) and Heather Rankin (Calgary) each received $3,500.

 

By James McCarthy – Northern News Services

INUVIK – It’s all systems go for the Inuvik Curling Club this season, but for how long?

The club is currently in the midst of trying to find enough funds to help cover the costs of operations for this season. As it stands, the club is facing a shortfall of nearly $70,000, a problem club president Nick Saturnino said could have been alleviated if the club were able to operate a series of bingos, something it had done in the past.

“If we get a bingo series every six months, I wouldn’t be here tonight,” he said to Inuvik’s councillors during a committee of the whole meeting on Sept. 21.

Saturnino and Sara Brown, the town’s senior administrative officer, met on Sept. 22 to discuss the issue further. On Sept. 23, at the council’s regular meeting, Saturnino presented a recommendation to council in the hopes of solving the club’s problems, a reprieve of sorts, he said.

“We said we would pay $30,000 right now and then one of three things would happen,” he said. “First, we would meet with the council to discuss a new lease arrangement. Second, the club would sit down to come up with new ways to generate new revenue streams, or we would ask the town to consider changing the process in which bingos are awarded.”

Saturnino said under the old system, he was able to go and pick out a series of dates in which to host bingos.

“I would go and find dates and book them,” he said. “The money we made through those bingos gave us the funds we would need for the season. I would then wait 10 to 12 months, and do it all over again. We tried to hold six months worth of bingos over an 18-month period.”

The process for awarding bingos had been changed through a by-law passed by town council a year ago, said Brown.

“We wanted to try and keep it fair for everyone,” she said. “We had 260 requests for this year and we only have 115 spots.”

Brown countered Saturnino’s offer with one which would also allow the club to pay a fixed amount, but would give the town a little more control.

“They would pay $25,000 over six months, with the provision of us assuming control of the lounge and offering it up as a regular venue for groups to rent, including the curling club itself” she said. “We would also get half of their locker room area, with the club being given two events per year at no charge to them.”

There was no decision made by council at the meeting on the 23rd as council members voted to defer a decision until the next meeting at the earliest. The club is also holding off on a decision until a meeting with club membership, which is set to take place tonight at the club.

As of right now, Saturnino said it’s business as usual.

“We will start on time as planned,” he said. “We can continue right now and as much as we want our proposal to be approved, the town has made one also, so we’ll see what the members have to say.”Brown said the hope is to bring the matter to a happy ending.

“We want to make this work,” she said. “We don’t want to see the club in dire straits and we want people to keep curling.”

By Tim Switzer – Regina Leader-Post

REGINA — All in all, it wasn’t a bad start to the curling season for Regina’s Amber Holland.

Holland and her teammates — third Kim Schneider, second Tammy Schneider and lead Heather Kalenchuk — went 8-0 during the Schmirler Charity Curling Classic at the Callie Curling Club, finishing off Monday with a 6-3 win over Kelly Scott of Kelowna, B.C., in the final.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Holland. “We’ve never gone undefeated in any event we’ve played in the four years we’ve been together so it was great to get on a roll, stay on a roll and finish off with the win.”

After going 5-0 in the round robin, Holland’s team beat Winnipeg’s Janet Harvey 5-3 in a quarter-final Monday and then bested Regina’s Chantelle Eberle by the same score in the semifinal round.

“You’d like to think all the off-season training you do contributes,” Holland said with a laugh. “I think we were just really focused on playing the ice the way it was and (taking) what it gave us. We didn’t want to make anything too difficult. We weren’t going with any difficult game plan. We just stayed with something simple because we knew it was our first ’spiel. We wanted some success and be on the ice.”

That simple approach may be the one to take as Holland and Co. prepare for the rest of the season, including the Olympic pre-trials Nov. 10-14 in Prince George, B.C.

Holland’s team is one of 12 women’s squads taking part in the pre-trials to try and win one of four remaining spots in the Olympic trials in Edmonton beginning on Dec. 6. Eight men’s and eight women’s teams qualify for the full trials with the winners representing Canada at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.

“It’s hard to believe it’s coming so fast, especially for our team because we qualified a year and a half ago for that (pre-trials) event,” said Holland. “It seemed like it was a long ways away and now it’s like, ‘Oh, it’s here.’ It’s going to be good though.”

A win at the Schmirler was just another step down that road.

“It’s good to be in the finals, playing teams like Kelly, playing all those teams that we’re going to play on another weekend and at the pre-trials (or) the trials,” said Holland. “The more you can do that, the more you learn and the better you’re going to be.”

Monday’s final started off with the teams forcing one another to take singles in the first two ends before Holland broke things open with three in the third.

Scott looked to be in good shape early in the end with two rocks frozen but a few key takeouts, a Scott jam and an angled takeout by Holland on her last stone gave the Saskatchewan rink control.

Holland stole one in the fourth before the teams traded singles again in the fifth and sixth. From there, Holland just had to run Scott’s team out of rocks over the last two ends.

 It was exactly the type of game Holland hopes to see from her team over the rest of the schedule as it gets ready for the pre-trials.

“We need consistency,” said Holland. “Whatever game it is we’re bringing to the ice, we just have to do it well and do it the same and be consistent. No one else can throw our rocks for us, only we can.”

 Holland’s team took home $12,000 for the win while Scott won $8,000. Eberle and Tracy Streifel (Saskatoon) won $5,000 apiece for reaching the semifinals, while quarter-finalists Harvey, Kristy Jenion (Winnipeg), Erika Brown (Madison, Wis.) and Heather Rankin (Calgary) each received $3,500.

By Nanaimo Bulletin

Members of the Nanaimo Curling Club threw the first stones this past weekend to start another season.

The club held an open house event Sunday featuring an exhibition game between Nanaimo’s Shaelyn Rice rink and members of Victoria’s senior women’s world championship team.

The open house continued Monday and wraps up today (Sept. 29).The purpose of the event is to promote the coming season, which officially gets underway this Thursday (Oct. 1).

There is still time to register for various Nanaimo Curling Club leagues, including a 10-week Wednesday-night adult novice program for those wishing to learn the game.

There will also be classified leagues for men, women and mixed players – curlers can sign up solo or with a friend and the club will put together teams randomly.

For parents wishing to involve their children, there is a junior program Mondays and Thursdays from 3:45-5:30 p.m. Youths aged 10-19 are eligible.

Today’s open house, from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m., is a chance for anyone to try the game, as instructors will be on hand. Curlers should wear clean running shoes.

Those who can’t attend today’s novice clinics are still welcome to phone the club and book a free lesson anytime throughout the year.

Fans of ‘the roaring game’ are always welcome to stop by just to watch league play any day of the week.

ICE CHIPS … The club is delaying its wheelchair curling program as it awaits completion of a new elevator that will provide access to all three floors. The project is expected to be finished by the end of November … To learn more about the Nanaimo Curling Club or to book a lesson, please call 250-753-3474.

This busy weekend of curling continues with Monday’s finals of the Sandra Schmirler Charity Classic in Regina.
Among the quarterfinalists are Calgary’s Heather Rankin (photo above) who takes on 2007 world champion Kelly Scott on Monday morning.

Our friend Pal Trulsen kept his time warp going all the way to the semifinals in Oslo, where he finally lost to heir apparent Thomas Ulsrud. In the final, Sweden’s youthful Oskar Eriksson – second and fourth at the last two world junior championships – upset Ulsrud for the men’s victory.

We’re expecting the Swedes to update their team blog sometime on Monday… probably with a headline like Vi vann! or perhaps Helige Gud! Vi slog dem alla!

The women’s crown went to Canada’s Jennifer Jones, who took out a variety of strong teams including defending Olympic champion Anette Norberg in the final. Both Oslo Cup finales ended in 5-4 scorelines.

Elsewhere in Canada, the big story is that Brad Gushue won his third tournament in a row, beating Ian Fitzner-Leblanc in the final of the Appleton Cashspiel in Halifax. The Gushues took out Canada’s 2009 world junior rep Brett Gallant in one semi, while Fitzner-Leblanc defeated 2004 Brier champ Mark Dacey in the other.

KW Fall Classic in Kitchener saw Toronto’s Julie Hastings defeat Stoney Creek’s Karen Bell 4-2 while Bradford’s Dale Matchett beat Jake Higgs of Harriston 8-7 to win the men’s crown.