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From the Hack

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Nora Peter - From the Hack

Curling is happening at the Tillsonburg Curling Club - well of course, that’s what is expected, but it is a busy place!

The club has attracted new curlers and has seen some former curlers return to the membership but there is still room for more, so if you haven’t acted on that urge to try the game please check in with the club and we’ll find a ‘fit’ for you.

Both the Tuesday night and the Thursday afternoon Ladies draws are seeking more curlers to fill out more teams in their draws but have already been through full draws on each day. The Tuesday night draw sponsored by Indigo Lounge was won by Tina VanderWallen-Howey and her team of Shirley Ireland, Barb Capel and Glenna Walker with special mention to Erica Ostrewercha for filling in a couple of times. On Thursday in the Verne’s Carpet One draw the team of Betty Tull with Linda Newman, Heather Thompson and Monique Blahitka were the big winners. Just a note that Verne’s has been sponsoring a trophy for the Ladies since 1970! Wow - it’s wonderful to have your support for so many years.

The Monday Night Mixed league has eight full teams that are already into their second draw. The opening draw was won by Randy DeClercq curling with Diane Burgess, Sid Abram and Kim Croker. We have welcomed some brand new curlers who seem to be fitting in well! Judging by the noise in the bar after the games it’s a pretty social group enjoying the game. The Tuesday afternoon Mixed is drawing some good interest this year but they have room for more so don’t be shy about showing up at the rink - they will welcome you out and make sure you get to curl and there’s a rumour about cookies?!

Recently the club partnered with Good, Redden, and Klosler to host the Tillsonburg Community Service Bonspiel. This is the first time the spiel has been held in the fall (it seems February is a busy month for accountants) and the bonspiel had 14 teams participating in the two-game two-draw event. Good, Redden Klosler has carried on sponsoring this special 54-year-old bonspiel. Over the last 10 years $20,000 has been put towards local charities and projects through the clubs and teams that have played in the bonspiel.

This year Courtland Lions Club from the first draw and the Tillsonburg Lions Club on the second draw each received $500 for their chosen charity which both happen to be The Lions Foundation of Canada Guide Dogs. Other cash prizes went to TDMH Foundation, St. Vincent de Paul Society Supper program, and Community Living. The teams playing were made up of both curlers and non-curlers. Many only curl once a year in this spiel for fun.

It’s always a great time and the trophy for the overall high points winner is very coveted by the teams. This year’s winner was the Royal LePage team skipped by Walter Kleer who brought a team of brand new curlers - frankly they were new to curling, but not new to athleticism and Walt certainly whipped them into shape well enough to win the trophy by defeating two teams and amassing the most points!

Hopefully the club gained some new curlers as several people seemed to find the game lots of fun. Our thanks go out to Good, Redden and Klosler for their continued support and sponsorship of the donations to local charities. Thanks also to all the volunteers from the curling club who worked in the kitchen that day.

It was good earlier this month to have some curling to watch on TV instead of the daily doses of the American election and Hillary/Donald coverage. Now that the World Curling Federation and the Canadian Curling Association have reached an agreement with the curlers and manufacturers about the brooms and what fabric, etc. can be used, things seem to have settled down from last year’s Broomgate. Curlers have gotten back to working on making their shots and more two-person sweeping. The ‘ugly’ yellow broom pads are here to stay. If you get a chance visit the CCA site and read some of the info that went into broom research, check out the videos showing how some of the best sweepers in the world demonstrated how easy it was for them to manipulate the rocks with certain fabrics or the hairbrush heads.

And speaking of some of the best sweepers in the world, what is happening with our elite Canadians?

We are seeing the rest of the world reaching the finals in the Slam events and Edin of Sweden has taken two trophies this season. Teams like Koe, Gushue and McKwen on the Men's side and Jones, Homan and Sweeting on the Women's are still doing well on the cash spiel circuit, but in these televised events the Canadian domination is certainly being challenged!

We have seen some changes in the make-up of teams as they shuffle players for this Olympic run but what I really notice is how much younger the teams are getting (or is that me getting older?). You can see the ‘changing face of curling’ when Glenn Howard and vice Richard Hart don’t even make the top flight of teams in the last Slam even with their young, strong front end and they actually look ‘old’ out on the ice!

I was on-line reading Rock Talk on the Curling Zone website and one of the topics was suggesting that it was time to keep the rest of the world out of Slam events as they are using these Canadian venues to train, are supported financially by their governments, and taking our curlers as their coaches/trainers compared to our own elite curlers who need to find sponsors, hold down jobs, and pay their own way until they have success in a national event.

It was an interesting comment although I don’t think Sportsnet, who owns the Grand Slam events, will ever ban the rest of the world as the best in the world make for good TV viewing numbers. It does show that Canadian fans watching their favorite teams are worried about the future.

Another issue coming up for discussion is the eight-end vs 10-end games as TV coverage begins to drive the game format. Once again Sportsnet’s format - five rock free guard zone and the eight ends works well for them. The WCF is taking a close look. Let me know what you think about these two issues when you see me at the club.

The next TV coverage will begin November 30 on TSN for the Home Hardware Canada Cup taking place in Brandon, Manitoba. This is only Canadian teams and is one of the events which qualifies the winner for an Olympic Trials berth.

Curling rocks! See you on the ice. 

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