Four women’s teams undefeated at Players’ Championship (Journal)

(by Jason Simmonds)

SUMMERSIDE – With every women’s team now having played two games, four teams are undefeated at the 2014 Players’ Championship.

© Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer

Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland is one of four undefeated women’s teams at the 2014 Players’ Championship in Summerside.

They are Canadian women’s champion Rachel Homan, Eve Muirhead of Scotland, Margaretha Sigfridsson of Sweden and Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland.

Sigfridsson scored a deuce with the hammer in the seventh end to take a 7-6 lead over Val Sweeting, and then stole three in the final eighth end to win 10-6 in Wednesday afternoon’s late draw at Eastlink Arena. Sweeting dropped to 1-1.

A six-ender by Muirhead in the seventh end quickly turned a 5-4 lead into an 11-4 advantage over Stefanie Lawton in a clash of 1-0 teams.

Homan scored back-to-back three-enders in the second and third ends to take a 6-0 lead over Crystal Webster en route to an 8-1 decision. Webster is now 1-1.

Tirinzoni also used a big end to take control of her game against Sherry Middaugh. Tirinzoni scored four with last-rock advantage in the fifth end to take a 5-1 lead. Tirinzoni would go on to hand Middaugh her second loss with a 6-4 victory.

In the final game of Wednesday afternoon’s draw, Jennifer Jones had to nudge Julie Hastings’ shot rock out from the four-foot to count one for a 9-8 extra-end win. Jones evened her record at 1-1 while Hastings is 0-2.

For full coverage of Wednesday’s action, be sure to check out Thursday’s Journal Pioneer.

Click to read entire article at the Journal Pioneer

McEwen improves to 2-0 at Players’ Championship (Journal)

(by Jason Simmonds) SUMMERSIDE – Mike McEwen is off to a 2-0 (won-lost) start at the 2014 Players’ Championship.

© Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer

Mike McEwen holds the broom during Wednesday afternoon’s 1 p.m. draw at the 2014 Players’ Championship. McEwen defeated Niklas Edin 8-3 to improve to 2-0 (won-lost).

After opening the final season’s final event of the Grand Slam of Curling with a 6-4 win over Switzerland’s Sven Michel on Tuesday night, McEwen defeated Sweden’s Niklas Edin rink 8-3 on Wednesday afternoon.

McEwen is now off until Thursday at 1 p.m., when he meets Jeff Stoughton in an all-Winnipeg matchup.

Click for full story in the Journal-Pioneer.

Webster pulls out extra-end win in morning Players’ Ch’ship draw (Journal)

(by Jason Simmonds)

SUMMERSIDE – Geri-Lynn Ramsay enjoyed a winning return to her hometown.

© Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer

Geri-Lynn Ramsay in action at the 2014 Players’ Championship at Eastlink Arena in Summerside on Wednesday morning.

Ramsay is the second stone for the Crystal Webster rink, which defeated Michele Jaggi 7-4 in an extra end in Wednesday morning’s draw at the Players’ Championship curling event at Eastlink Arena.

“It feels pretty great,” said Ramsay after the game. “It’s definitely different to be curling in an arena back home instead of a club. It’s nice to see all the fans in the stands.”

Ramsay and lead Jenn Gates were sweeping Webster’s final “as hard as we could” to get it by a guard out front while third stone Cathy Overton-Clapham called the shot from the house. Webster was able to knock out Jaggi’s shot stone and count three.

Click for full story in the Journal Pioneer

Curl PEI Calls for Award Nominations

ADL/PEICA/SportPEI logos

With the 2013/14 curling season coming to a close on PEI, Curl PEI is calling for award nominations.  The annual awards recognize the accomplishments of curlers and volunteers within our sport during the most recent season.  There are nine awards to be given out, please find the forms below:

(Adult) Female Athlete of the Year - (Adult) Female Athlete of the Year (.doc) (Adult) Female Athlete of the Year (.pdf)
(Adult) Male Athlete of the Year - (Adult) Male Athlete of the Year (.doc) (Adult) Male Athlete of the Year (.pdf)
Junior Female Athlete of the Year – Junior Female Athlete of the Year (.doc) Junior Female Athlete of the Year (.pdf)
Junior Male Athlete of the Year – Junior Male Athlete of the Year (.doc) Junior Male Athlete of the Year (.pdf)
Team of the Year – Team of the Year (.doc) Team of the Year (.pdf)
Coach of the Year – Coach of the Year (.doc) Coach of the Year (.pdf)
Volunteer Administrator of the Year – Administrator of the Year (.doc) Administrator of the Year (.pdf)
Umpire of the Year – Umpire of the Year (.doc) Umpire of the Year (.pdf)
Marion Dockendorff Award – Marion Dockendorff (.doc) Marion Dockendorff (.pdf) Previous Marion Dockendorff Award Winners

Curl PEI would like to thank ADL and Sport PEI for making these awards possible and recognizing all the hard work, dedication and outstanding achievements that have taken place this past curling season.

Deadline for nominations is May 2, 2014.  Forms can be returned to Curl PEI by mail: 40 Enman Cres., Charlottetown PE C1E 1E6; by fax: 902-368-4548; by email: aduncan@sportpei.pe.ca.

Martin edges Howard, Gushue and Jacobs open with wins at Players’ Championship (Grand Slam)

(by Jonathan Brazeau)

It was another close battle between legendary skips Kevin Martin and Glenn Howard when they faced off at the Players’ Championship in Summerside, P.E.I.

Martin, from Edmonton, led by one with the hammer coming home and settled for a single to defeat Howard 6-4 in Draw 3 action on Wednesday.

Both teams will undergo roster changes in the off-season, making this quite possibly the final matchup between these lineups. Team Martin’s Ben Hebert and Marc Kennedy will join Team Howard’s Brent Laing in the fall on a new squad skipped by Kevin Koe. Howard, from Penetanguishene, Ont., announced his new rink Sunday adding Richard Hart and Jon Mead with Craig Savill returning at lead.

Elsewhere, all three men’s medal winners from the Sochi Olympics — Brad Jacobs (gold), David Murdoch (silver) and Niklas Edin (bronze) — hit the ice for their first games of the Grand Slam of Curling event.

Jacobs, from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., edged Switzerland’s Sven Michel with a deuce in the final end to win 6-4. Michel trailed 4-2 but tied it with single steals in the sixth and seventh ends.

Meanwhile, Murdoch fell 7-2 in seven ends against Brad Gushue, from St. John’s, N.L. Gushue opened the game with a deuce in the first and stole one in the second to lead 3-0. Murdoch, from Scotland, responded with a single in the third but slipped further behind when Gushue grabbed another double in the sixth.

Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen earned an 8-3 victory over Edin’s team from Sweden. The two rinks shook hands after McEwen scored a triple in the seventh.

Winnipeg’s Jeff Stoughton outlasted Toronto’s John Epping to win 4-3. The teams exchanged singles through the first six ends and were tied 3-3 but Stoughton blanked the seventh to hold the hammer in the deciding end.

Click to read at the Grand Slam of Curling website

Young curlers take to the Players’ Ch’ship ice in Future Rockstars and Junior Grand Slam events on Sunday

futurerockstarsBesides the women’s and men’s finals on Sunday at 11 am and 5 pm respectively, a number of younger curlers who may someday go on to participate in the Players’ Championship will also be taking to the world-class curling ice at Eastlink Arena, in the Future Rockstars and Junior Grand Slam events.

Future Rockstars

On Sunday morning from 9-10, around 60 young curlers, including Special Olympics athletes, assisted by the two girls’ PEI Training  Teams for the 2015 Canada Games, will get a chance to throw rocks on the Players’ Championship ice surface. The participants will also receive a T-shirt and a ticket to the women’s final at 11.

Admission is free to watch the Future Rockstars., but spectators will require a ticket in order to stay for the women’s final.

Junior Grand Slam

Meanwhile, the two male and two female PEI Training Teams for the 2015 Canada Games will take to the ice from 2-4 pm. Each team will have a celebrity coach/mentor, with the two girls and two boys teams squaring off in three-end games.  Each participant will receive a Junior Grand Slam of Curling shirt and a pass to the men’s final.

The Junior Grand Slam event will be open to spectators, free of charge.  A ticket is required if they plan to stay for the men’s final.

Lawton downs Nedohin at Players’ Championship (Grand Slam)

(by Jonathan Brazeau)

Saskatoon’s Stefanie Lawton defeated Edmonton’s Heather Nedohin 5-1 in seven ends to start Wednesday’s action at the Players’ Championship in Summerside, P.E.I.

Lawton broke a 1-1 tie with a single in the third and pulled away with steals of one in the fifth and two in the sixth. Nedohin, a two-time Canadian champion, couldn’t rally back and the two rinks shook hands early.

In other Draw 2 action, Scotties finalist Valerie Sweeting scored a triple in eighth to lift her Edmonton rink to an 8-7 win over Sherry Middaugh, from Coldwater, Ont.

Sweeting, from Edmonton, led 4-2 after the fourth but Middaugh pulled ahead with a triple of her own in the fifth.

Olympic silver medallist Margaretha Sigfridsson was victorious 6-3 over Julie Hastings, from Thornhill, Ont. Sigfridsson, from Sweden, broke a 3-3 tie with a deuce in the seventh and sealed the victory with a steal of one in the eighth.

Calgary’s Crystal Webster topped Michele Jaggi from Switzerland with a triple in the extra end to win 7-4.

The Players’ Championship continues at 1 p.m. AT / 12 p.m. ET featuring Glenn Howard vs. Kevin Martin.

Click to read at the Grand Slam website

Olympic gold medallists, Team Jennifer Jones, to hold autograph session after 4:30 pm draw today

Team Jennifer Jones, gold medallists at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, will be signing autographs today at around 7 pm, following the 4:30 draw, at the Goldline Curling booth at the Grand Slam of Curling Players’ Championship at Summerside’s Credit Union Place.

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PEICurling.com photo: Team Jennifer Jones at yesterday’s opening ceremonies of the Players’ Championship

Team Jones announced yesterday that the rink, which includes third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn McEwen, will be staying together through 2018,  as they take on the challenge of becoming the first Canadian team to repeat as an Olympic curling gold-medallist.

Canadian champions off to winning starts at Players’ Championship (Journal)

Tirinzoni, Muirhead, McEwen also victorious

(by Jason Simmonds) SUMMERSIDE – The 2014 Canadian curling champions are off to winning starts at the 2014 Players’ Championship.

© Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer

Canadian women’s champion Rachel Homan releases a shot during Tuesday night’s opening draw of the 2014 Players’ Championship at Eastlink Arena in Summerside. Second stone Alison Kreviazuk, left, and lead Lisa Weagle are ready to sweep.

Rachel Homan defeated Heather Nedohin 7-2 in six ends while Kevin Koe made a clutch hammer shot in the final eighth end to edge Steve Laycock 7-6. In other Draw 1 games at Eastlink Arena on Tuesday night, Silvana Tirinzoni scored four points in the final three ends, including back-to-back steals, to overcome a 5-2 deficit and edge Olympic gold-medallist Jennifer Jones 6-5, Mike McEwen outscored Sven Michel 6-4 and Eve Muirhead defeated Michele Jaggi 7-5.

“The team played well,” said Homan following her rink’s first game since taking home the silver medal at the world championships in Saint John, N.B., last month. “Obviously, we are learning the ice, and it was a good game.”

Click for full story in the Journal Pioneer

 

Homan cruises past Nedohin to open Players’ Ch’ship, Tirinzoni steals win over Jones (Grand Slam)

(By Jonathan Brazeau)

Scotties champion Rachel Homan kicked off the Players’ Championship with a bang on Tuesday night in Summerside, P.E.I.

Homan’s Ottawa rink breezed to a 7-2 victory in six ends against Edmonton’s Heather Nedohin in Draw 1 action of the Grand Slam of Curling event. Homan pulled ahead early with a 3-0 lead thanks to a single in the first and a steal of two in the second. Nedohin got on the scoreboard with a point in the third but Homan responded with a triple in the fourth.

As the Masters champion, Homan has a chance to earn a $100,000 bonus if her team also captures the Players’ Championship.

Elsewhere, Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni stole a single in the final end to slip past Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones for a 6-5 win. Jones, the Sochi Olympics gold medallist, led 5-2 after the fifth but Tirinzoni closed the gap with a double in the sixth and a steal of one in the seventh to tie it.

Eve Muirhead from Scotland scored three doubles in a 7-5 victory in seven ends against Switzerland’s Michele Jaggi. Muirhead, the defending Players’ Champion, won the bronze medal in Sochi.

Brier champion Kevin Koe scored a single in the final end to edge Saskatoon’s Steve Laycock 7-6 in men’s division action. Koe, from Calgary, scored a deuce in the first and stole a pair in the fourth to grab a 5-1 lead but Laycock rallied back with a triple in in the fifth. Koe settled for one in the sixth and Laycock tied it with a deuce in the seventh.

Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen pulled ahead with a double in the seventh and won 6-4 over Sven Michel from Switzerland.

Click to read at the Grand Slam website

Players’ Championship-Grand Slam underway (Journal)

SUMMERSIDE – The Players’ Championship got underway Tuesday evening at Credit Union Place’s Eastlink Arena.

© Mike Carson/Journal Pioneer

Olympic gold medal women’s curling champions from Manitoba, the Jennifer Jones rinks makes their way onto the ice at Credit Union Place prior to the opening draw of the Players’ Championship-Grand Slam of Curling. Team members are from the left, skip, Jennifer Jones, third, Kaitlyn Lawes, second, Jill Officer and lead, Dawn McEwen. 

Twenty-four teams, 12 men’s and 12 women’s on the World Curling Tour, are vying for the championship in their division.

Among them is Olympic gold-medallist Jennifer Jones. Jones will hold an autograph session at Eastlink Arena following Wednesday’s 4:30 p.m. draw.

Click for full story in the Journal Pioneer.

Fans Get On-the-Button Coverage of the Players’ Championship, April 17-20 on Sportsnet

Sportsnet – TORONTO (April 15, 2014) The best curlers in the world are ready to rock one more time, as Sportsnet and the Grand Slam of Curling take fans to picturesque Prince Edward Island this week for the Players’ Championship – the fourth and final event of the 2013-14 season. Sportsnet’s broadcast coverage of the event begins Thursday, April 17 at 1 pm AT/9 a.m. PT on Sportsnet ONE, live from Eastlink Arena at Credit Union Place in Summerside, PEI (full broadcast details below).

sportsnet

Attracting curling heavyweights from around the world, the Players’ Championship features 24 premier men’s and women’s teams competing in a round robin style bonspiel for a combined purse of $200,000.

Following an outstanding season for Canadian curling, Summerside will welcome fan-favourites and curling icons to the ice, including Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games gold medallists Team Jones and Team Jacobs, the 2013-14 men’s Grand Slam of Curling leader Team Howard, and women’s Masters winner Team Homan – who will look to clinch an additional $100,000 bonus awarded to the women’s team who can win both Grand Slam events of the season.

Sportsnet’s curling experts will be at the heart of the action in Summerside, with Rob Faulds handling the play-by-play alongside 1998 Olympic silver medallists and former teammates Mike Harris and Rich Hart, and 1998 Olympic gold medallist Joan McCusker.

Owned and operated by Sportsnet since 2012, the Grand Slam of Curling is an elite series of men’s and women’s curling events which are part of the World Curling Tour and feature the best teams from across Canada and around the world. In addition to the Players’ Championship, the 2013-14 series also included The Masters (Abbottsford, BC), Canadian Open (Medicine Hat, AB) and the Syncrude National (Fort McMurray, AB). Tickets for the Players’ Championship can be purchased online here.

 

Social Media Links

Official website, Sportsnet www.sportsnet.ca

Like Sportsnet on Facebook www.Facebook.com/Sportsnet

Follow Rob Faulds @SNFaulds

Follow Mike Harris @mikeharriscurls

Follow Rich Hart @UR09

Follow Joan McCusker @joaniemccusker

Follow Sportsnet @Sportsnet

Follow Sportsnet PR @SportsnetPR

 

The Players’ Championship Broadcast Schedule

Thursday, April 17

  • Round Robin, 1 pm AT/9 a.m. PT (Sportsnet ONE)
  • Round Robin, 5 p.m. AT/1 p.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)
  • Round Robin, 8:30 p.m. AT/4:30 p.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)

Friday, April 18

  • Round Robin, 1 pm AT/9 a.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)
  • Round Robin, 4:30 p.m. AT/12:30 p.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario West and Pacific)
  • Round Robin, 8:30 p.m. AT/4:30 p.m. PT (Sportsnet ONE)

Saturday, April 19

  • Women’s Quarter-Finals, 1 pm AT/9 a.m. PT (Sportsnet ONE)
  • Men’s Quarter-Finals, 5 p.m. AT/1 p.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West, Pacific and sportsnet.ca)
  • Men’s and Women’s Semifinals, 8:30 p.m. AT/4:30 p.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)

Sunday, April 20

  • Women’s Final, 11a.m. AT/7 a.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)
  • Men’s Final, 5 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT (Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific)

 

Breaking news: Jennifer Jones rink staying together for four more years

Team Jennifer Jones issued the following release this afternoon:

Team Canada takes aim at 2018 gold

Fresh off winning gold at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Team Jennifer Jones will remain intact for four more years, it was announced today.

Jones, backed up by third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn McEwen, will complete its successful 2013-14 curling season at the Grand Slam Players’ Championships, beginning today in Summerside, P.E.I.

jenniferjonesteam(CCA photo)

Then, the focus will turn becoming the first Canadian team to repeat as an Olympic curling gold-medallist.

“We are excited to officially announce that our team is fully committed to staying together and working hard to get another chance to represent Canada at the Olympics,” said Jones. “We truly enjoy playing together, and we share the same goals and commitment. And now that we’ve been to a Winter Olympics, the desire to get to another one will make us work even harder for the next four years.”

Team Jones will participate at the 2014 Canada Cup of Curling, Dec. 3-7 in Camrose, Alta., and the 2015 World Financial Group Continental Cup in Calgary, and will be in the Manitoba playdowns in hopes of playing at the 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Feb. 14-22, in Moose Jaw, Sask.

Team coach Janet Arnott, meanwhile, won’t be returning to the team. She has elected to step back from coaching to devote more time to friends and family.

“We can’t thank Janet, our friends, family, support team and our amazing sponsors enough for helping us achieve our dreams,” said Jones.

Players’ Championship notebook (Journal Pioneer)

(by Jason Simmonds)

SUMMERSIDE — Notebook for 2014 Players’ Championship:

This is the second time in three years the Players’ Championship will be hosted at Eastlink Arena.

“This facility is perfect,” said event manager Jennifer Bradley. “As far as the number of seats, it’s not too big, it’s not too small. It’s very spacious, the staff is incredibly welcoming and helpful, and from my perspective it is the perfect venue to host a curling event in.”

Preparations were in full force at Eastlink Arena on Monday.

“Things are incredible here,” said event manager Jennifer Bradley. “Given the fact we have been here in the past, the volunteers are incredibly helpful and the City of Summerside was well prepared for this event. It’s going to be a really great, well-oiled week, I think.”

Click for full notebook at the Journal Pioneer

It’s time to curl! – Players’ Ch’ship Begins Tuesday Evening in S’Side (Journal)

(by Jason Simmonds)

The Players’ Championship, which will feature eight-end games, gets underway on Tuesday at 7 p.m., and continues through to the championship games on Sunday.

Preparations continued at Eastlink Arena on Monday for this week’s Players’ Championship curling event. Checking out the ice, from left, are: Jennifer Bradley, event manager of the Grand Slam of Curling for Rogers Sportsnet; Mark Shurek, head ice-maker, and Kristi Petrushchak, manager of the Grand Slam of Curling.

© Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer

“The Players’ Championship is the final event of the season,” explained event manager Jennifer Bradley in an interview at Eastlink Arena on Monday morning. “It caps off four Grand Slams of the season, which are the four majors, based on the Order of Merit rankings, which are the world rankings in the curling world.

“We are going to see some of the best teams in the world compete again after the Olympics. We have all the Olympic medals here. . .

“There is a lot of interesting stuff in the curling world, announcements being made of teams moving forward. This is potentially one of the last times you will see some of these incredibly influential teams play and play against each other.”

“I would hope this city and this Island will rally around this event, knowing what kind of history it’s going to make and come and check it out. Especially, throughout the weekend and the evening draws, we are hoping to see this place full.”

Click for full story in the Journal Pioneer.

This year’s Grand Slam features curling like it will never be seen again (Journal opinion story)

(Journal Pioneer staff)

Could there possibly be a better script for the Grand Slam of Curling Players’ Championship which opens Tuesday at Credit Union Place?

players

Canada’s men’s and women Olympic Gold medalists, Brad Jacobs and Jennifer Jones, are here. So are the women’s Olympic silver and bronze medalists, Margaretha Sigfridsson from Sweden and Eve Muirhead from Scotland; and the rest of the men’s Olympic medalists, David Murdoch from Scotland (silver) and Sweden’s Niklas Eden.

Also here, altogether for one final time, are Canada’s men’s and women’s 2014 national champions the Kevin Koe and Rachel Homan rinks.

The curling ice in Credit Union Place will also be the last time to see the Jeff Stoughton rink intact.

There are no P.E.I. teams in the Players Championship, but P.E.I. will be represented as Brett Gallant and Adam Casey curl for Brad Gushue’s Newfoundland and Labrador rink and second stone Geri-Lynn Ramsay is bringing her Crystal Webster Calgary rink home to play.

This Grand Slam event is one to watch, and it’s happening right here in Summerside.

Click for full op-ed in the Journal Pioneer

Ramsay returning home to Summerside, to the Players’ Championship (Journal)

(by Jason Simmonds)

CALGARY – Geri-Lynn Ramsay has waited a long time to curl back on P.E.I.

Ramsay, who moved to Calgary following the 2010-11 season, will return to her hometown of Summerside for this week’s Players’ Championship – the final event of the Grand Slam of Curling for the 2013-14 season.

Geri-Lynn Ramsay of Summerside in action at the 2010 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

© Photo courtesy of Sault Star

“I’ve been wanting to curl on P.E.I. ever since we missed out on the Scotties the year after we did well, and it (Scotties) was in Charlottetown,” said Ramsay. “It’s been a few years coming getting back to playing in front of the Island crowd.”

“I can’t wait,” added Ramsay, who came through the junior curling program at the Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club in Summerside. “Not only have I been waiting to go to a Players’ Championship since I started playing women’s, but the fact it is in Summerside and I just missed it the last time it was there (two years ago), it is pretty exciting.”

Click for full story in the Journal Pioneer

Mike McEwen on the Players’ Ch’ship: Players’ changing landscape, new and old collisions alive (Grand Slam)

(by Mike McEwen)

For me, this time of year is always intriguing — varying degrees of burnout affecting teams and the challenges of dealing with as I’ve eluded to in previous blogs. Who handles it best and who looks re-invigorated often becomes Players’ champions.

However, this is an extra special edition of the Players’ Championship — one that is framed by the conclusion of a four-year Olympic cycle. This spring’s evolving curling landscape is characterized by a myriad of brushstrokes from differing hands. The resulting canvas can be especially pleasing to the viewer’s eye in its splendid chaos. Yes, it’s that much more enticing for the sports enthusiast to engage.

Let’s begin with viewing a few of the important pieces making up a collage of intersecting stories — some ending and many just beginning:

MEN’S DIVISION

Team Martin: Is Kevin Martin retiring? Will Dave Nedohin hang them up again? It’s well known that Martin’s front-end of Ben Hebert and Marc Kennedy made a move to secure their future by aligning themselves with Kevin Koe starting next fall. Martin and Nedohin can certainly write their own ending if they should so choose to, but I have a feeling it’s already written and just a matter of a proof read.

Team Stoughton: Officially announced the disbandment of their team and reports suggested they were all heading in separate directions. Yet to be confirmed is just where everyone is going. Hold on though, you can update a couple of new rosters as announcements rolled out this past Sunday! Jeff Stoughton’s lead man, Reid Carruthers, will be skipping his own squad. Joining Team Carruthers will be Braeden Moskowy (formerly Team Virtue), Derek Samagalski (from Team Fowler), and Colin Hodgson (Team Thomas). The same day had third Jon Mead heading east to Ontario’s new Team Howard creation. With this and perhaps more news to come regarding the remaining Team Stoughton members, it’s still not entirely apparent whether this is the last we’ve seen of Jeff. However, his public statements have mentioned the man is not looking to be done just yet.

Team Howard: During the final of The Syncrude National, we heard directly from Glenn Howard that the team would not be returning in its current form. Howard looked amazingly focused and fiery during that final (which they won). Sure enough, soon after it was confirmed that second Brent Laing had made the decision to depart for the new Team Koe. Howard didn’t look finished at all though and as indicated above made plans to come back with a redesigned lineup. Coaxing friend and former longtime teammate Richard Hart out of early retirement and recruiting Jon Mead from Team Stoughton into the fold — could the new Team Howard be any more formidable? Yikes!

Team Koe: We’re looking at a name change here, folks. As mentioned above, Kevin Koe announced he will be taking the reigns of a brand new team and simultaneously giving up the first ever Team Canada title defence in men’s national history. Recently, media has reported that the remaining three team members (Nolan Thiessen, Carter Rycroft, Pat Simmons) will continue on and confirm a replacement for their departed skip. Rycroft, who had publicly announced that he would be stepping back from the game, will still do that but play the minimum amount of events for the team to keep their Team Canada designation. Stay tuned for news about this reconfiguring foursome, as they will don the red and white at the Brier in Calgary next March.

Team Gushue: With the imploding Stoughton team releasing Mark Nichols there has been some chatter on whether this fine rock chucker would end up with his former skip. Still waiting for word if this team is standing pat.

Team McEwen: There’s been a fair bit of speculation on whether or not we would survive the musical chair movement. I can confirm we did, but not without some heavy reflection. We’ll be ready and rejuvenated to continue the battle into next season.

WOMEN’S DIVISION

Team Jones: Will these ladies keep us hanging any longer? Kidding aside, I’m going to make a reasonable assumption that this team has too much drive, determination, and enjoyment to mail anything in just yet. The question is how long will they go or do they even know? Surely an announcement is coming soon.

Team Homan/Team Sweeting: A bit of a steal happened here! It’s too bad there’s not an early match between these two teams, but they are not in the same pool — maybe playoffs? From quotes in the media, Val Sweeting appeared shocked that her third Joanne Courtney left for “greener” pastures. Team Homan scooped her up as they lost a valuable player in second Allison Keviazuk as she is headed to Sweden with boyfriend Fredrik Lindberg (Team Edin).

Team Nedohin: This could be the last time we see this former Canadian championship team play together. Third Beth Iskiw will not be competing next year. It has been confirmed that Amy Nixon will be sliding into Iskiw’s role next season.

Team Webster: Almost a complete re-tooling of Crystal Webster’s team is underway except for second Geri-Lynn Ramsay who will stay on at that position. Will this be the conclusion for storied third Cathy Overton-Clapham?

So, with the above fresh in mind let’s have a look at my must-see round-robin games where several of these stories collide:

Wednesday, April 16 — 1:00 PM AT: Howard vs. Martin

- The epic finale of clashes between a couple of the all-time greats? Not to mention two of Martin’s players are teaming up with one of Howard’s next fall. Future teammates playing each other — Laing versus Hebert/Kennedy.

Thursday, April 17 — 1:00 PM AT: McEwen vs. Stoughton

- The heavyweights in Manitoba. Will this be the last of the rivalry?

Thursday, April 17 — 1:00 PM AT: Homan vs. Muirhead

- Two of the best (and youngest) combat again. It’s Canada versus Scotland and another one in a potential long running list to come.

Thursday, April 17 – 5:00 PM AT: Edin vs. Jacobs

- Rematch of the 2013 World Men’s Championship and an anticipated 2014 Olympic final after round-robin results that never materialized.

Thursday, April 17 – 8:30 PM AT: Jones vs. Sigfridsson

- 2014 Olympic final redux … need I say more?

Friday, April 18 – 1:00 PM AT: Koe vs. Howard

- A skip that will be leaving his current team and capturing Howard’s second to go with him. Koe versus Laing.

Friday, April 18 – 4:30 PM AT: Koe vs. Martin

- Another next season teammates having a head-to-head battle before joining forces. Koe versus Hebert/Kennedy.

Thus, with just the circumstances I outlined there’s no doubt that a few of these along with many other amazing game choices will grace the live Sportsnet broadcast. Otherwise, the only way to see the entirety of the unfolding drama is to come and enjoy it live at the Credit Union Place in Summerside, P.E.I.

Plus, don’t forget to hit the Grand Slam Social House after the games to enjoy live entertainment, catch many of these athletes in person, and maybe grab some time with one of the newly crowned Olympic medallists in attendance. Curling fans, enjoy the viewing experience!

Click to read at the Grand Slam of Curling site

Ice goes in before the game goes on at the Players’ Ch’ship (Journal)

World-class ice maker Mark Shurek prepares Grand Slam sheets

SUMMERSIDE – With $400,000 in prize money on the line for the Players’ Championship of the Grand Slam of Curling, teams expect the best ice possible, and Mark Shurek is in the city to make certain it happens.

© Michael Nesbitt / Journal Pioneer

Ice technician Mark Shurek rolls out a decal on the ice of the Players’ Championship of the Grand Slam of Curling at Eastlink Arena, while volunteers on his crew make sure the hose doesn’t disturb other decals before flooding. Other volunteers prepared the rest of the venue for the event, in cooperation with Credit Union Place staff.

Shurek, head ice technician for the event, is based just outside of Winnipeg Manitoba but has made his career on ice, being involved with the Grand Slam of Curling since its inception in 2001.

He has also been icemaker at the European championship, the Canadian Curling Association Scotties and Brier, and the World championship. He has built on the experience and traditions inspired by a mentor, award winning icemaker Hans Wuthrich, who is from Gimli, Manitoba, where Shurek grew up.

Typically, Shurek arrives at a Grand Slam venue with one assistant, because he likes to have at least one familiar person to work with, but he needs a crew of at least eight to create the ice, and six to maintain it during the event.

The total preparation team of about 20 involves mostly local volunteers, but is sometimes augmented by visitors to the event such as Eldie Benson who came to Summerside from Collingwood, Ontario.

Click for full story in today’s Journal Pioneer.

Carruthers leaving Stoughton team after Players’ Championship (Grand Slam)

(by Jonathan Brazeau)

The Players’ Championship will be Reid Carruthers’ final tournament with Jeff Stoughton.

Carruthers, who throws lead for the Winnipeg rink, will skip his own team once again starting next season.

His new team will feature Braeden Moskowy, Derek Samagalski and Colin Hodgson.

Moskowy leaves Regina’s Brock Virtue while Hodgson departs from Charley Thomas’s team in Calgary. Samagalski previously played with Carruthers when they reached the 2006 Manitoba provincial final and returns after a stint with Rob Fowler’s team in Brandon, Man.

Carruthers joined Stoughton in 2010, winning the Brier and world championships in 2011 and the National Grand Slam of Curling title in 2013.

Click to read at the Grand Slam website.

 

Players’ Ch’ship last chance to see Team Howard before Middaugh, Laing leave team (Grand Slam)

(by Jonathan Brazeau)

A familiar face will return to Glenn Howard’s team next season.

Richard Hart, who played third for Howard from 2000-11, is coming out of retirement to rejoin Howard’s rink and take over for Wayne Middaugh in the fall.

Hart won the Brier and world championships with Howard in 2007. He also earned a silver medal with Mike Harris’s team at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.

Howard, from Penetanguishene, Ont., will also add Jon Mead, who currently plays with Winnipeg’s Jeff Stoughton. Mead won two Brier titles and one world championship with Team Stoughton, and will replace Brent Laing.

Craig Savill will return at lead for Howard.

Team Howard has won two of the three Grand Slam of Curling events so far in 2013-14 with the season-ending Players’ Championship set to begin Tuesday.

Click to read at the Grand Slam website.