It will feature a world-class field, continues to be the jewel of the Grand Slam of Curling Series and is the last major international event prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics.
But Jeff Stoughton may have perfectly summed up the BDO Classic Canadian Open, scheduled to be held Jan. 20-24, 2010 at the MTS Centre, when he described it thusly:
“It is going to be a great field,” began Stoughton Wednesday at a press conference unveiling details of the event. “But there’s going to be one happy Canadian team there because that will be the team going to the Olympics.
“The other teams are going to be there trying to beat all the international teams there. It’s far enough past the Olympic trials that the hangover for the all the losing teams will be done and they’ll be ready to roll and get their second season started.”
Tickets packages for the event go on sale Thursday morning at 10 a.m. (through Ticketmaster at 204-780-3333 or ticketmaster.ca) and begin at $99 or $139 ($129 for seniors) for a reserved spot in the home and away ends. CBC TV will air live coverage of the playoff rounds and the final as well as the Capital One Million Dollar Button contest where one lucky fan will get a shot at a million if he or she can cover the button.
The total purse for the event is $100,000 and, because it will be contested a month prior to the Olympics, figures to be a final tune-up for many national and international teams. The top 14 teams in the order of merit rankings, regardless of nationality, will automatically qualify for the BDO Classic along with the top two international teams. Should they decline, they would be replaced by the next highest-ranked teams on the order of merit. The final two entries will be awarded to the 2010 Canadian and American Olympic qualifiers.
“It was an amazing experience to be curling in front of our home town,” said Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen, whose rink made it to the BDO semi-final last season. “The Capital One Grand Slam events are pretty much the hardest events you can compete in and the toughest to win. The field will be the best of the best and you really can’t experience any better curling than what will happen right here in Winnipeg. Unfortunately sometimes that amazing curling happens against you.”
“Both of us were lucky enough to reach the semifinal and both of us had our games over after five ends… losing,” added Stoughton with a laugh. “But there is nothing better. The fans here are fantastic. It’s one event on the tour where any competitive team wants to compete because it always has been the best grand slam out there. It has the best sponsors, it has the best media… no one ever backs out of this event. They all want to come to Winnipeg to compete.”
Since the Annual General Meeting in March 2009 when a new board of directors was appointed, the executive has been looking for ways to recruit and retain membership. At the executive meetings held April 7 and Sept. 28 many ideas were discussed.
Among the new ideas put forward is the start of a Nipawin Evergreen Curling Club website which could keep members informed and provide data for newcomers to town as well as giving out-of-towners interested in club events some contact and date information.
Another major change suggested is to revamp the Little Rockers Program. After a year with no organized program for kids interested in learning skills, the executive has proposed an organizing committee for Little Rockers. The concept is that a core group of experienced curlers would co-ordinate club volunteers to help the young curlers have fun learning and playing the great game of curling. This type of program would require much co-operation from parents and club members.
Regular men’s, ladies’, mixed and seniors’ curling probably won’t change much this year, but will continue to build on the success that has been happening the past few years. As always, league co-ordinators welcome suggestions and offers of assistance from anyone!
Since the curling ice is going in early this year, the club plans to kick off with a Learn to Curl Clinic on Oct. 21. (Oct. 27 for alternate or follow-up.) There may be a junior learn to curl clinic as well, if enough interest is shown.
Other club events coming up in the 2009-10 season include a Provincial Junior Qualifying bonspiel in early November, the Second Annual Cash Bonspiel in the latter part of November, annual Men’s’ Ladies’ and Seniors’ bonspiels as well as the SCA Senior Provincial Ladies Playdowns which we are hosting Feb. 17-21, 2010.
The executive would also like to set up some “fun” club events (Glow Curling, Boxing Day Fun ‘Spiel…), so anyone with ideas or suggestions please contact any of the executive: Co-Presidents – Mike McClelland and Sharyl Bigelow, Secretary/Treasurer – Jodi Bruce, Directors – Keith Boxall, Earl Lindsay, Barry Lyons, Greg Tebbutt and Lea Werrett.
A new curling season commenced Tuesday at the Annandale Curling Club.
There is a lot of volunteer help that went behind the two new video cameras and monitors that show the far end of sheets six and seven. Cameras had been donated by club member Scott McGhee. The Junior league sold World Curling Tour tickets that were donated by coach Paul Bourque. Those funds raised were used to purchase the two monitors. The monitors and cameras were installed by member Gary Fitzpatrick of Fitzpatrick Electric, and a scissor lift was donated by Hart-Well (champion curler Rich Hart) Electric to assist with the installation. All of these people donated their time and services in order to make this venture possible.
A beginner’s clinic is scheduled for Annandale on Saturday, Oct. 24. Signup sheets will be in the club. Also coming soon is a little rock bonspiel on Nov. 7, and a Bantam/Junior bonspiel is slated for Nov. 28.
The major international curling event which will be a preview of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games curling event is now called the Grey Power World Cup of Curling. It is to be held at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga Oct. 21-25. Canadian men’s teams entered include Glenn Howard, Kevin Martin, Kevin Koe, Randy Ferbey and Brad Gushue. Actual Olympic teams from Great Britain, Norway, USA, China, Germany, Sweden, France, Denmark and Switzerland are all coming to compete.
To run at the same event is the women’s Three Nations Cup which will begin on Friday, Oct. 23 and will feature a total of four Olympic qualifiers and hopefuls. They are reigning Olympic bronze medalist Shannon Kleibrink of Calgary, Alta., 2009 Roar of the Rings direct qualifier Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon, Sask, reigning World Championship gold medalist Bingyu Wang from Harbin, China and 2010 Olympic Winter Games qualifier Eve Muirhead of Perth, Scotland, representing Great Britain.
Team Glenn Howard with Pickering resident Richard Hart at vice, and the front end of Brent Laing and Craig Savill were competing in the $80,000 Westcoast Curling Classic Oct. 9-12 in New Westminster, BC. Thirty-two top men’s teams were competing, and only eight made it to the finals. For the third bonspiel in a row this season, the team qualified in the finals for a share of the purse, and this time tied for third. They lost their semifinal game and collected $8,750. The next challenge for Team Howard will be at the Hershey Centre for the Grey Power World Cup of Curling when they meet Andy Capp of Germany at 7:50 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21.
Stefanie Lawton and her sister, Marliese Kasner, hadn’t thrown a competitive curling rock since Oct. 1.
That was the day of a funeral for their mother, Linda Miller, who died five days earlier at the age of 58 after a 10-month battle with a brain tumour.
But if there were mixed feelings when Lawton, Kasner, and their Saskatoon-based teammates second Sherri Singler and lead Lana Vey stepped on the ice last Friday at the Calgary Curling Club for their first game in the Grand Slam Trail Appliances Women’s Curling Classic, they were erased by one thought.
It’s exactly what their mom would have wanted.
“It’s only been a few weeks, and Marliese and I knew that our mom is in a better place now, and she’s going to be with us and she’s going to be watching us, and knowing that gives us some comfort,” said Lawton on Wednesday.
“I know she went through a very tough time this past year, as all of us did, and it was just nice to get back on the ice, where she loved to watch us, and to be able to play the game that she taught us, it was a good feeling. Obviously, there was a little bit of emotion, but Marliese and I, we know this is what we love to do, and it’s where we want to be.”
The Lawton team, one of the four that has already qualified for the December Tim Hortons Olympic Trials in Edmonton, fought its way to the eight-team playoff round in Calgary, losing a quarter-final matchup on Monday to Winnipeg’s Kerri Flett.
Lawton and Kasner had been playing with a heavy heart since the original diagnosis last January. Through it all, they still managed to win their second Saskatchewan women’s championship, and went on to finish fourth at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Victoria.
And while their mom wasn’t able to watch the events in person as she always tried to do, the sisters were inspired by the woman who, alongside their father and longtime coach Bob, taught them how to curl growing up in Shellbrook, where she also co-ordinated the local junior curling program.
“Definitely, she was an inspiration,” said Lawton. “She always has been a fighter, and she was the kind of woman who was always active, always going, and she’d never take a break. Through these 10 months, it was like she was thinking of everybody else, and she was fighting for herself and for her family. It’s inspiring that she was able to do that, and we hope that we can have the strength that she has had in her life.”
Lawton and Kasner also drew strength not only from the unwavering support of their rivals, but also from their teammates, Singler, Vey, alternate Beth Iskiw and coach Brian McCusker.
“They definitely have been so supportive and so understanding of what was going on,” said Lawton. “People say that you never really know what someone else is going through until you’ve been through it yourself. They haven’t been through something quite the way we have, but at the same time, they were so supportive, and we’re just very grateful. They’ve been great friends, they’ve been able to make us laugh and help us enjoy ourselves when we’ve been on the road. It’s a great team, and we’ve become closer together because of this.”
Miller will continue to be an inspiration as the Lawton foursome completes its final few weeks of tuning up for the trials, hoping to improve on the third-place finish it put together four years ago in Halifax.
“I feel like our team is coming together, and from here on in, we just want to keep on building until December,” said Lawton. “I think our game is coming along quite nicely, and we’re shooting well. It’s just a matter of tweaking a few things.
“We still do feel her presence, and we know she’ll be there with us and watching when we’re in Edmonton.”