After the pride and emotion shared by our entire nation during the 2010 Winter Olympics, millions of new fans were captivated by the excitement of curling.  Today, the Host Committee for the 2011 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship announced a great way to treat new fans to the live experience.

Rocks In Your Socks is the latest ticket offer for the Ford World Men’s Curling Championship, April 2 -10 in the Brandt Centre – when Regina plays host to the best men’s teams in the world.

Now fans can purchase two tickets for one draw or one ticket for two draws on the same day – for just $29. This limited-time offer is available between November 20 and December 24.

Every ticket also includes complimentary admission to Keith’s Patch… curling’s legendary post-game party place.

Fans and competitors alike meet at the Patch to enjoy an appetizing array of food and beverages and dance to the sounds of an outstanding line-up of live musical entertainment.

For tickets, call the Evraz Place Box Office at (800) 970-7328. You can also Click Here to buy your tickets online.

By Paul Wiecek – Winnipeg Free Press

MORRIS — And 21 years later, it was deja vu all over again.

Twice in 21 years, Prince Edward Island skip Robert Campbell has played in the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship. Both times, the event was held in Manitoba. Both times, Campbell made it to the final. Both times, he played the host province.

And both times, thanks to a 4-3 win over Brandon’s Terry McNamee in Saturday’s final at the Morris Curling Club, Campbell went home a Canadian mixed curling champion.

“Must be the water, I guess,” the 44-year-old Charlottetown skip laughed. “Fond memories. I barely remember Brandon (in 1989), but gathering around the trophy and taking pictures it really kicked in again… My team was really solid all week.

“They played well, they stuck with my decisions and my stupid line-calls at times and played really well in front of me.”

Campbell was supported by six-time P.E.I. women’s champion Rebecca Jean MacPhee, second Robbie Doherty and lead Jackie Reid. Two of the team’s four members will now go on to represent Canada at the World Mixed Doubles, April 15-24 in St. Paul, Minn.

It was a disappointing finish for McNamee, who was playing in his fourth Canadian Mixed.

The Brandon skip made it to the semifinal in two previous appearances, so Saturday’s appearance in the final was an improvement on those outings.

But it was small consolation, to be sure.

“It’s never nice winning second,” McNamee said, “but it’s better than winning third or fourth or fifth… We have a good team and we played well. And if we get back next time, maybe we’ll win it all.”

There should be some satisfaction for the Manitoba foursome — third Lana Hunter, second Allan Lawn and lead Lisa Blixhavn. The rink was outstanding early in the week and then overcame a three-game losing streak by rattling off impressive wins — 7-6 in a tiebreaker game Friday night over Ontario and then 8-3 in the semifinal Saturday morning over Nova Scotia — to advance to the final.

P.E.I. was the best team in Morris all week, finishing first in the round-robin at 10-1 and advancing straight to the final. Manitoba was the only team to beat P.E.I. in the round-robin and battled them hard again Saturday.

In a game where no one scored more than a single and both teams stole once — P.E.I. in the third when McNamee hit and rolled too far and Manitoba in the ninth when McNamee welded a Manitoba stone to the button — the difference came down to one rock in the 10th end.

Technically, McNamee lost the game on his last rock of the event — a low percentage double-raise takeout attempt that came nowhere near the target stone and handed Campbell the title without him having to throw his last rock.

But the game was actually lost one Manitoba stone earlier, when McNamee attempted to win the race to the four-foot with his first rock but crashed on a guard.

“If I make my first one on 10 here, we probably win,” McNamee said. “It just curled a little more than we thought. So, a 4-3 game, that’s not bad.”

And a 4-3 win in P.E.I.? That’s fantastic, said MacPhee. “This is going to be huge back home. We’ve had curling in the news all week. And with the (national) Scotties coming to Charlottetown (in February), it just brings curling right to the top of the sports page.”

By Ian Ford – New Zealand Curling Association

The New Zealand Men’s and Women’s curling teams are playing for high stakes in today’s best-of-five semi-finals at the 2010 Pacific Curling Championships in Korea. As well as a place in the championship final, the semi-final winners will qualify their country for next year’s World Championship.

The NZ women face a tough assignment, needing to win three consecutive games against the unbeaten Chinese if they are to make the final and their first trip to a World Championship. They start today at 0-2 down, as their 2 pool games against China count as the first two games in the best-of-five series. Korea also start at 2-0 up against Japan in the other semifinal.

The Kiwi Men start at 1-1 with Korea, the two teams having shared their pool games. China will start 2-0 against Australia, needing just one more win to qualify.

Preliminary Matches –Second Round

There were two full round robin draws to fine the top four teams for the semi-finals.

In the Women’s section, the results were a carbon copy of the first round. China finished undefeated, followed by Korea and Japan. New Zealand were fourth, but their most critical of their eight pool games was the last where they confirmed their semi-final berth in beating Australia 11-4. Their only 2 wins were against the Australians and so they did enough to qualify, but will be disappponted not to have claimed any other scalps along the way.

The NZ Men repeated their wins over Australia and Chinese Taipei in the second round of matches, but lost again to China and Japan. The Japanese team, second in this event last year, finished at the bottom of the standings with their only 2 wins coming against the Kiwis.

NZ beat Korea in the first round, but in the second round they went down 8-10 in an extra end.

The semi-finals will be completed today, with the gold medal final and bronze medal play-off scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday).

By Jeff Timson – CCA

Prince Edward Island, skipped by Robert Campbell of Charlottetown, captured the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship Saturday in Morris, defeating Manitoba in a squeaker, 4-3.

For Campbell, it was his second Mixed title, after winning the 1989 renewal in Brandon, coincidentally the last time Manitoba had hosted the championship.

Campbell becomes the seventh skip to win the Mixed twice, behind only three-time winner, Larry McGrath of Saskatchewan, but he’s the first skip to win Mixed titles so many years apart…21.

It was the first Canadian Mixed title for third Rebecca Jean MacPhee, second Robbie Doherty and lead Jackie Reid.

It was also Prince Edward Island’s third crown since The Mixed began in 1964 in Toronto.  Skip Peter Gallant won his province’s first title in 1987.

As the top ranked team in the round robin with a 10-1 mark, Prince Edward Island had earned a bye to today’s final.  Its only loss had come at the hands of Manitoba, an 8-5 decision in Draw 5.

Meanwhile, Manitoba had clawed its way out of a three-way tie for third to reach the final, first beating Ontario in the second tiebreaker Friday night for third place, then dusting Nova Scotia, 8-3 Saturday morning, in the semi-final.

Today’s championship final proved a battle, as the ‘Islanders’ opened with a single in the second and a steal of one in the third for a 2-0 lead.   But Manitoba cut the deficit to 2-1 with a single in the fifth end.

Then, after a blanked sixth, Campbell counted one in the seventh for a 3-1 advantage.  However, the host province wouldn’t quit, as McNamee responded with one in the eighth, then a steal of one in the ninth, to square the match at three coming home.

But Campbell’s team was up to the task and McNamee was unable to remove a buried PEI counter with his final rock, so Campbell didn’t have to throw his last stone.

“Rebecca Jean made a raise back,” said the 44-year-old Campbell.  “We had one buried in the top four.  He (McNamee) tried a double runback  and just missed, so I didn’t have to throw the last one, fortunately.

“They (Manitoba) played really well all week long.  They were one of the top teams , definitely.   The first time we met them, the game could have gone either way.  I didn’t trust my in-turn all week.  But the chance for redemption (today) was great.

“I forgot all about it (World Mixed Doubles) ,” laughed Campbell, when reminded about the fact that two players from the winning team will  now represent Canada at the  2011 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship, April 15-24 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Campbell, who had been out-curled percentage-wise by McNamee for most of the contest, eventually emerged with a slight edge, 75%-74%, although Manitoba held a 78%-75%  team margin.

By Damian Inwood – The Province

Anita Cochrane believed it was easier to fight cancer than to give in to it.

And in the nine years she lived with the disease, she achieved more than many people manage in a lifetime.

“Some people die from cancer but she was very much living with it,” said her husband Mike, 37. “She was very determined.”

So determined, in fact, that she played lead on B.C.’s mixed curling team at the Canadian championships in Iqaluit in 2008.

And, when she became too ill to curl competitively, she coached.

Cochrane took two Lower Mainland teams to the provincial finals in 2009 and coached the Australian senior men’s team to a bronze medal at the 2010 world championships in Russia.

“We never knew where she found the strength to do that,” said her mother, Mona Bassett. “She didn’t let the illness stop her. She said it was easier to fight than to give up.”

Anita Lynn Cochrane was born in Jonquiere, Que., on June 15, 1971 and died in Burnaby, aged 39, on Oct. 5.

Her family moved first to Trail and then to Saskatoon, where Cochrane was a high school cheerleader, played baseball and figure skated until Grade 10 when, at five feet ten inches, she thought she’d grown too tall.

She tried her hand as an engineering student at the University of Saskatchewan before switching to a commerce degree.

She moved to Prince George to article as a chartered accountant and that’s where she met her future husband.

Mike also had a commerce degree and had a contract as a computer-software consultant at KPMG.

“I remember the first day I worked there, I thought, ‘I can’t believe I’m working at an accounting firm,'” he said. “And then I met Anita and I thought, ‘Well, it’s not going to be too bad.’ She just had a very beautiful smile and a very warm presence about her.”

It took him a few months to get up the nerve to ask her out on a date but Mike and Anita started going steady and married in 2001, about three years after they’d met.

For their honeymoon, they spent four months cycling across Canada.

“That was Anita’s idea,” remembered Mike at the couple’s Champlain Heights townhouse. “I had a job in Vancouver and Anita was finishing off her articling. When we were moving her down here, we saw a couple of cyclists on the side of the road, between Prince George and Vancouver.

“Anita said, “I’d like to do that. Let’s bike across Canada,’ and I thought, ‘Yeah, okay,’ not thinking she would follow up.”

They made it to Cape Spear, N.L., and watched the sun rise from North America’s most eastern point.

It was the day they got to Newfoundland that Cochrane discovered a lump in her breast.

“Because she was only just 31, they didn’t think there was much chance that this lump could be breast cancer,” said Mike. “It turned out it was and it happens to a lot of women in their early 30s.”

Cochrane joined the Abreast in a Boat dragon boat team and started doing The Weekend to End Breast Cancer walks.

She founded team LiveStrong, inspired by cyclist Lance Armstrong, eventually having 30 or 40 walkers raising $80,000 per year.

And, in typical fashion, Cochrane jumped in at the deep end when it came to treatment.

“She had chemo, a double mastectomy and radiation,” said Mike. “She decided to go as hard as she could to increase the chances of remission.”

It worked for four years and then the cancer returned in her spine and pelvis.

“It was incurable at that point, like a chronic disease,” added Mike. “Then it’s about quality of life.”

Cochrane tried many different treatments and became a spokeswoman and poster girl for the B.C. Cancer Foundation.

She also held down a job as controller with Sun Rich Fresh Foods in Richmond.

Her father, Ted Bassett, was a lifelong competitive curler, and Cochrane got into curling at the Royal City Curling Club in New Westminster.

She took clinics and lessons and when curling became an Olympic sport, Cochrane and her friends decided they’d like to get there.

Cochrane was lead on B.C.’s 2008 mixed curling team, winning the award for most sportsmanlike player at the Canadian championships.

“She was curling at a super high level,” said Mike. “They went to the nationals in Iqaluit, so we all went there with her.”

When competitive curling became too physically tough for her, she switched to coaching. Cochrane took an under-20 and a competitive ladies team to the provincial finals.

Her parents had moved to Australia and her dad had run into Hugh Millikin, a Canadian curler who now represents Australia.

“The two decided they’d go into men’s senior curling,” said Mona. “The 2010 curling final was in Russia and Ted asked Anita if she’d go with them as their coach. She said she’d love to and they won a bronze medal.”

Mona said her daughter never let her illness stop her. “I remember driving her to the curling rink for coaching and we’d stop and she’d get sick by the side of the road,” she said. “I’d go, ‘Are you okay, we can go home,’ and she’d say, ‘No, we’re going coaching.'”

Towards the end of her life, Cochrane had to decide whether to take her last course of treatment.

“A few of her friends said, ‘You’re such a great inspiration to all of us, we want you to keep fighting,'” added Mike.

“They wanted her to know the impact her fight to live was having on their lives.”