Well, for starters, these aren't leviathans. They're beavers. The Bell Beavers, made famous during Canadian TV telecasts from the Turin Olympics last February.
We like those guys. Particularly given this billboard.
Meanwhile, it looks like this new post-Olympic curling season is truly in full swing. There's lots to disseminate:
• Know where to find the winners? CurlingZone has all tournament event results listed as they happen – thank you Gameday Scoreboard – and also after the fact (see Results Zone). Not too many surprises this week, as Kevin Martin's new powerhouse squad won the Shorty and Anette Norberg's leviathan Swedish team won the Oslo Cup (with Canada's Stefanie Lawton losing the semi to the Norbergs, while Shannon Kleibrink and JJones missed qualifying). Perhaps a bit of a surprise as 1990 STOH champion Alison Goring upset Sherry Middaugh en route to winning the BDO Galt Mallspiel...
• That's our word of the week, by the way... leviathan. Like it? Mallspiel is pretty good too, but we'd need to see more tourneys hosted in shopping malls for it to really catch on...
• The Canadian Curling Association's latest message for clubs is that they must change, and go all out to treat the sport as a family affair. Here's Danny Lamoureux:
We're stressing family – a fairly broad appeal. Alcohol is not critical to the bottom line any more. Today's successful clubs have made those changes – they've got orange juice and bottled water and specialty coffees and chips for the kids.
We're calling them curling centres, not lounges, and there are lots of success stories. It's customer service.
It's not acceptable to have bad ice, even if it's 'just' a senior league or a company bonspiel. We always have to have good ice, not just when the pros play.
You don't hear of a golf course saying we won't mow the greens today because it's only the seniors who are playing. We have to have superior playing conditions at all times... we have the technology and the equipment to (always) make great ice.
And he's not finished yet:
What other sports are there that kids can play with parents and grandmas and grandpas? We have to have family leagues. Nobody says they have to play eight or 10 ends maybe just four, and (this idea) is becoming very popular.
And finally, Danny says it's crucial clubs don't try and force newcomers to be members.
(Let them come in, throw rocks,) and we think they'll love it. They'll come back on their own.
• B.C.'s Richmond Review went curling crazy on the weekend, with a pile of stories. Here they offered a little origins synopsis; here they discussed the Richmond club's master plan to become a B.C. High Performance Centre, plus a training ground for 2010 (and with another similar story here); and they even talked about the Pacific International Cup... ever heard of it?
• Speaking of pre-2010 training, Sport Manitoba has grand plans to attract Olympic athletes, teams and coaches from around the world, too... and curling is on the list...
• Last week we told you about the dual 2008 hosting announcements for the Canadian championships Winnipeg for the men, and Regina for the women. There were typical run-of-the-mill stories on both the Brier and the STOH, but a few other pieces caught our eye. First, the Winnipeg Sun's Paul Friesen made it clear that Winnipeg is expected to step up significantly over their last (1998) hosting gig. Then, Murray McCormick (Regina Leader-Post) and Kevin Mitchell (Saskatoon StarPhoenix) both wrote interesting stuff about the recent Regina Brier's $1.1 million profit; hence the CCA's interest in heading back to Regina so soon.
McCormick reporteth that:
• Curl Regina's share of the profits was $77,389;
• Curl Regina's Youth Program also collected $77,389, and another $70,000 from its share of the 50-50 sales;
• Curl Regina was able to use its windfall to hire Jan Betker, a former world curling champion and gold medallist at the 1998 Winter Olympics, as its co-ordinator of junior curling;
• Regina's Callie, Tartan and Highland curling clubs and the Saskatchewan Curling Association were each presented with cheques for $77,389;
• The Canadian Curling Association picked up $472,000;
• The CCA's club development fund took in $165,000;
• The Athletes Assistance Fund – which helps with expenses of the 12 teams – received $105,000, with each team getting $7,000. However, TCN Blog readers know this funding is now suspended for this season's Hearts and Brier...
• The Brier was the third straight curling event held in Regina that generated profits: the 2001 Olympic Trials earned $778,602, while the 1998 Scott Tournament of Hearts turned a profit of just under $1 million.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mitchell noted that:
(This) was a dramatic departure from what happened in Saskatoon (at the 2004 Brier), where local organizers waited until this spring – more than two years – for the Canadian Curling Association to verify and pay out on an $865,000 profit.
"That's very encouraging," said Curl Saskatoon past-president Brian Graves, who dealt first-hand with some of the frustrations involved in the long wait.
"Things happened then that caused some concerns along the way, but it looks like they've been resolved. The bottom line with all of this is the closer the Canadian Curling Association works with the organizing and hosting committee, to ensure things go as planned, that's better for everyone."
The Saskatoon Brier was a guinea pig of sorts; the CCA took over Brier operations, including bookkeeping, in time for the 2004 event. The St. Clair Group ran things before that.
• Team Kelley Law is goin' hard this year, playing a pile of spiels, and they even flew out TSN's Ray Turnbull for a session...
• Texas Dan's club has some promo plans this season, and this local story shows they're off to a great start...
• Did we provide a link to Canadian Press' story on CurlTV 2.0? Not sure we did, so here you go...