Friday, May 11, 2007
Neil Harrison suffers stroke
Lots to tell you about, but first a heartfelt prayer for the world’s greatest lead, Neil Harrison (beach party photo), who has been hospitalized for seven days following a mild stroke.
The beloved “Harry”, a two-time world champion with Ed Werenich – yeah, Harry was also Eddie’s fifth in 1990, and he actually played – who also won the 2007 Canadian Firefighters crown (again) has been a busy guy recently. Fresh from another appearance at the revamped Heart to Heart Bonspiel in Sudbury, was scheduled to emcee last Saturday’s Avonlea Farewell Party in Toronto, but felt “funny” after taking a shower earlier in the day. He tried to shrug it off but his wife Jane – bless her – would have none of it, and called 911.
The verdict is a mild stroke, and but the good news is that the nature of Harry’s lengthy stay is a) physiotherapy and b) the aggravating wait for an MRI, which must be driving him bonkers.
So he sounds okay... but our thoughts are, of course, with him and his family during the road to recovery.
In other news:
• Jackie-Rae Greening earned kudos for running a spectacular 2007 Ford Worlds, including this recent media feature.
We love some of the quotes in here: “I think Glenn Howard’s team said it best when they won the world championship,” said Greening. “They told me ‘you should do a template for this event because you could tell it came from a curler’s perspective.’
And we strongly applaud her mission to cut the speeches short.
“I told the opening ceremonies committee I didn’t want the players standing on the ice any longer than 20 minutes,” she said. “We’ve been left out there for an hour at some events, and then you’ve got to play a game right after that.”
And as for rumours about Edmonton – and Jackie – hosting the 2009 Olympic Trials?
“Stay tuned till June.” Jackie teases. OK, we will.
• Speaking of Wednesday’s honourees, June 2 will see the Coldwater CC host a “Tribute to Team Glenn Howard”. Howard, who lives in either Midland or Penetanguishene (we’ve lost track actually), plays out of Coldwater, as does women’s powerhouse Sherry Middaugh.
TSN’s voice of curling, Vic Rauter, will be emcee for the festivities, slated to run from 4:00 to 7:00 pm, with the official ceremonies set for 6 p.m.
Admission, which includes a barbecue, soft drink and “curling token”, is $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for children under 12 ...
• In other curling club news, there’s an interesting school curling concept – complete with an international angle – brewing on the Sask/Man border ... the Amherst CC in NS had a good year ... Vancouver’s Royal City Curling Club recently played host to a very different kind of sport ... and Brad Gushue (with the CCA) wants the ice in early this fall in Atlantic Canada ...
• Speaking of Gushue, we’re not sure why we mentioned his upcoming nuptuals in this story: he was married, of course, last fall. We actually meant to announce that he’s pregnant... er, rather, his wife is... with their first child. Congrats!
• Lee and Breanne Merklinger of Gloucester (Ottawa) have been awarded $2,000 grants from the The Canada Games Council and the Foundation for Athletes Sport Training. Lee is the new player suiting up for Team Jenn Hanna this fall, as former Hanna second Dawn Askin is fully dialed into Team Jennifer Jones out in Winnipeg ...
• Spies tell us that Vancouver’s Brent Pierce is the latest skip to assemble an out-of-town team. The 2000 world champion out of British Columbia will indeed take over Don Walchuk’s Edmonton squad of Brent MacDonald, Warren Hassall, and Brendan Melnyk. It was apparently an amicable split between Don and his mates, who had a solid season ...
• CurlTV has confirmed that Rob Meakin will haul his butt out of retirement – and a plum coaching gig with USA Curling – to rejoin his old 1995 world champion skip Kerry Burtnyk in the ice wars this fall. The Curling News Blog had speculated that Don Harvey would get the gig, and although we were eventually wrong, we are heartened to hear that Harvey was indeed the first choice and was asked to join. Turns out Harvey’s new business venture meant he couldn’t fully commit to the rigorous Bubba schedule ...
• Our other favourite charity spiel, Duluth’s House of Hearts, has a new date for next year’s 2008 event, plus some new photos posted to the Gallery section of the website ...
• Amid the CCA turmoil, there is good news on the sponsorship and ticket sales fronts ...
• In a YouTube roundup, we have some French juniors training, competing, and mostly partying ... Manitoba’s wheelchair team shows their stuff ... does this Italian video mean that Joel Retournaz’ Swiss experiment is over and he’s returning to curl for Italy? Can we get a translator here? ... and finally, sterlingwes has posted a whack of fresh curling highlight-reel shot vids – 22, in fact – on his growing YouTube page in the last half-day or so. Wicked. When does the ice go in again, exactly?