The second Grand Slam of the season is underway in Winnipeg; check out live results here throughout the weekend, and catch multiple draws live via your computer at CurlTV... including a Sunday afternoon exhibition game between two women's Olympic teams, Canada's Shannon Kleibrink and the USA's Cassie Johnson. Finally, don't forget Sunday's two-game TV coverage on Rogers Sportsnet.
Some are hoping to see young locals Team Ryan Fry (skip in photo) make it to the televised games: this squad, runner-up to Randy Dutiaume last year's Manitoba final, are full of fire and fun both on-ice and off. Alas, an 0-2 start puts that in doubt. A spring 2004 issue of The Curling News profiled the one they call "Small Fry"... and Jim Bender provides a more recent look here.
Big news in the runup to Italy... but not the Olympics, the Paralympics, held after the able-bodied Games March 12-18. Canada has announced their wheelchair curling squad and Canucks who sneer at Great Britain's controversial team selection method need to know that their manadrins have done exactly that for the Paralympic squad.
Led by veteran national team members Chris Daw (skip) and Karen Blachford (lead) of London, Ont., the squad now includes three British Columbians: Gerry Austgarden of Westbank, Gary Cormack of Surrey and Vernon’s Sonja Gaudet. Burlington, Ontario's Wendy Morgan is the Team Leader, and London's Trevor Kerr is the Equipment Manager.
The Curling News has been a proud supporter of wheelchair curling for years. TCN gives prominence to this sport which has been endorsed by both CCA and the World Curling Federation as a development priority, and directly partners with the Canadian Spinal Research Organization (and its American cousin) and their sport-specific Shoot For A Cure fundraising campaigns – curling, hockey and motor-sports.
And there is grass roots impact: did you know Shoot For A Cure can help you organize and run bonspiels at your club, by providing logistical knowledge and support, promotional materials and prizes? Oh yes. More on these opportunities next week, right here at the Blogosphere.
What else to do this weekend? Check your local markets for playdown information – chances are there's a men's or women's regional competition, or perhaps a junior provincial, going on somewhere near you, and spectating is usually free.
In closing, our first U.S. journalist-tries-curling story of the new year is running in Knight-Ridder markets; Paul Friesen has a good perspective piece on the Grand Slam beginnings and current legacy in today's Winnipeg Sun; and another Sun column points out that the current January issue of The Curling News – and veteran Peri Pub Doug Maxwell – was the first to reveal that Brad Gushue, fresh Olympian and hero of The Rock, once turned down an offer to move to Edmonton and join Team Kevin Martin. Yep, TCN scooped 'em again.