Wednesday, August 29, 2007

New CEO for Canadian Curling

Here he is... the new man with one of the most important jobs in the sport of curling. And we’re not sure he’s ever curled.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. Particularly given the images of his predecessor sprawling across the ice in a long-ago promotional video, which is just now starting to sprout near and far across the web.

Relative unknown Greg Stremlaw of Niagara Falls, Ontario (above) is the new Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Curling Association.

The 36-year old will assume his duties on October 9, replacing Dave Parkes, who retired in a cloud of controversy in May after a 19-year CCA career.

Currently living in Cambridge, Ontario – presumably not far from the Galt Classic – Stremlaw was most recently the CEO and Executive Director of the Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort in Kitchener.

Prior to that, he worked as Director, Sport Services & Bobsleigh/Luge for the Calgary Olympic Development Association (CODA) from 1996-2002, most importantly as Race Chairman/Race Director for all international World Championship and World Cup events in the winter sports of Skeleton, Luge and Bobsleigh.

“I am excited to be involved in helping take the CCA in a new direction,” said Stremlaw. “We want to have a vision of excellence, a vision that includes running this sport as a business with sound financial practices, teambuilding, grassroots development and capturing the minds of the youth in this great country.

“I look forward to being part of many significant curling events in the coming years, especially the 2010 Winter Olympics in our own backyard. It is imperative that we use these events to help catapult the sport of curling to yet another level. I genuinely look forward to being a part of that process along with the entire CCA team.”

Stremlaw’s appointment was ratified unanimously by the CCA Board of Directors at a recent meeting, with Board members Graham Prouse, Georgina Anderson, Fran Todd, CCA Vice-President Beth Sullivan and CCA past president Donna Duffett leading the CEO Search Committee, working in conjunction with executive search firm Ray & Berndtson.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sportswoman of the Year?

The World Curling Federation is reporting that 2007 World Women’s Curling Champion skip Kelly Scott and/or her team has been selected as a finalist for the 2007 Sportswoman of the Year Award, as presented by the U.S.- based Women’s Sports Foundation.

The awards – one individual and one team – are decided by online public voting, and Scott is up against Justin Henin (Tennis), Lorena Ochoa (Golf), Sanya Richards (Athletics) and fellow Canadians Danielle Peers (Wheelchair Basketball) and the legendary Hayley Wickenheiser (Ice Hockey).

Voting closes this Friday, August 31, at midnight so head to the website and add your vote for curling!

The winners will be announced in October at a gala dinner at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Carmen of Curling

Carmen Schäfer is the new third for double Olympic silver medallist Mirjam Ott of Switzerland, and her image is splashed across last week’s Blick magazine in rather flourishing fashion.

Have a nice weekend, folks ...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Scottish Washer Tossing weekend

Scotland is in the news today on a few fronts.

First, September’s massive national Curlathon fundraiser has been boosted by a big-name challenge match.

Secondly, there’s a pile of neat stuff posted at Curling Today, from the steady progress of a new Gogar Park facility to a very cool look at the coolest place to curl at – and not once but twice, in back-to-back weeks next month – Madrid, in Spain.

Speaking of that blog, The Scottish Curler’s Bob Cowan will celebrate his 60th birthday this Saturday evening at Greenacres, and it’s a shame TCN must decline its invitation. According to the agenda, the evening looks promising:

7:00pm – Guests arrive
7:15pm – Scottish Washer Toss Championship and other assorted nonsense
8:00pm – Buffet
8:30pm – Scottish Washer Toss Final
8:45pm – Awards
9:00pm – ABBAMANIA
11:59pm – Carriages

Happy Birthday, Bob!

Finally, the following weekend sees a special golf junket – På tur med Curlinggutta (Part II) – featuring a pile of Norwegian curlers (led by Pål Trulsen) and of course the host Scot of choice (noted curler and hotelier Hammy McMillan). Also along for the ride last year was the sole North American invitee, jolly Tim Wright of Duluth, Minnesota.

Here, deep from the unpublished archives of The Curling News, is Wright’s heavily edited report from last year’s event (photo shows Hammy, Pål and Tim a year ago). It’s fair to guess that this month’s edition should be equally amusing ...

The Team Trulsen golf outing took place at the North West Castle in Stranraer, one of several first-class hotels owned and operated by the McMillan family. Hammy was our host for the weekend, and defied his reputation and spent most of the weekend working, although he was able to sneak away for a pint after hours.

The golf outing itself was designed for the Norwegian Olympians to offer a weekend of thanks for their sponsors and supporters - Hammy and Pål set it up on their plane ride back from Duluth last March, after surviving a weekend as House of Hearts celebrities. Apparently they needed a token American so I was invited. I hesitated a bit when, four days before my flight was to leave the UK, a terrorist plot was foiled... but Pål assured me flying was much safer than golfing with 20 drunk Norwegians. I couldn’t argue that logic.

I entered the tourney knowing one Norwegian word - Skol - which I used frequently. I told my fellow golfers the only English word they needed to learn was “gimme.”

When we arrived for the first match, I was assigned the honorary first shot in the first flight, so I went in to pay for my golf cart (or buggies as they call them in Skotland) and drove up to the first tee. 20 Norwegians looked at me in astonishment as most had never heard of golfing with a limo.
Once I explained that the cart wasn’t necessarily to avoid walking or carrying the clubs, but was in fact equipped with four slots to carry your beverages - there was a mad rush for the clubhouse and every group thus had a buggy.

Other North American golfing customs were quickly enjoyed as I taught them how to save steps and bend the rules to one’s advantage. If you haven’t figured it out yet, we were better curlers than golfers.
36 holes later the organizing committee determined the winners. I still haven’t figured out how they score over there - some combination of the Stapleford System with handicaps built in – but it didnt matter, it was a blast. Skol!

Monday, August 13, 2007

More silliness

Last week we showed you some bizarre big-budget curling – er, stuff – and now there’s more.

@Home – the old branding of Rogers internet service in Canada – is still going strong overseas, as evidenced by this Dutch commercial, which boasts both a curling and crime angle.

Just what is that under the ice?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Sub-Zero Sweepers

What the heck, you say?

Prepare yourself accordingly, and click here.

If your browser blocks all the vids on the downloads page, you can check out some of them here.

Comments welcome.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Big Brother Curling

Question of the day: which TV show is credited – or perhaps blamed? – with being the first “Reality” show? Survivor? The Real World? This forgotten oldie?

Big Brother must rank up there, and now the veteran CBS timewaster has become the first to send their contestants curling, as it happened back on week two of this eighth edition.

A modified version of curling, you would think? Definitely (photo courtesy CBS). You can watch the full segment here.

Ah, YouTube. What would we do without you?

For certain, it would be a lot tougher to find things like this clip from New Zealand’s recent outdoor curling spiel (not to forget this one of the Kiwis lunching) ... and this look at the tricky ice conditions the Aussies face on a daily basis ... plus these peeks (one and two) at the World Curling Federation’s Level 1 Technical course in Füssen, Germany (that’s Canadian Brian Rice doing the lecturing) ... and this TV news glimpse of arena curling in Omaha, Nebraska... nor would we easily find vid from Atlantic Canada’s famed Whitecap summer curling camp, available at this user’s page.

Anything else going on? Well ...

• Turns out it was an Ottawa curling ice technician who brought down Canada’s most wanted man this week ...

• Another young curler has died in a tragic accident, this time in Tillsonburg, Ontario ...

• Remember the big hoo-haw over Scotland’s – sorry, Great Britain’s – team selection process for the last Olympics? British Curling has now announced the plan for 2010 ...

• Here’s yet another TV report (including video) of the outdoor Kiwi curlfest ...

• Don’t miss Pfeif on The Curling Show, he’s always a great guest ...

• Team Jennifer Jones has a new sponsor, and it’s a current CCA partner. Former sponsor Whirlpool, which has been a dynamic supporter of women’s sport – including curling – for years, is now reported to be scaling down their involvement ...

• Wisconsin’s Pardeeville Curling Club president has received a well-deserved state honour
(defending U.S. women’s champion skip Deb McCormick is the club VP, by the way) ...

• TSN was quick to pick up our exclusive from July 25 ...

• and finally, there’s a big sale underway at Ishida Sports, including Mizuno carling pants!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Kevin Martin Simpson

Introducing the latest Simpsons character, above... KMart Simpson. Hurry hard!

Have you tried The Simpsonizer yet? Tons of fun. Instead of using one of our own mugs (how tempting it was to do this to Larry Wood, or perhaps Teri Lake!) we decided to toss the famed Alberta skip into the online device, and lo and behold – here he is.

The Simpsons Movie, of course, won the box office sweepstakes last weekend, and the Simpsonizer website is just one of many other nifty cogs in a veritable movie marketing machine.

All this with apologies to the real KMart, of course. We’re confident he has a sense of humour; after all, it wouldn’t be smart to rile up an Old Bear ...