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I like sports....lots of sports...all sports!  Follow my blog as I talk about sports....if you like sports of course

Thursday, 8 December 2016

#BetweenTheSheets: Purple Reign In The Soo
The grand slam of curling season continues with The National

What a week of curling we just experienced rock heads and stoners!  The Canada Cup brought together the top men's and women's teams in our nation to battle it out for a spot at the Olympic trials next December in Ottawa (as well as the trip to Vegas for the Continental Cup and some money).  Curling fans barely have time to discuss the excitement of last week's action however as the next stop on the Grand Slam of Curling tour is already here.  The National returns home to Sault Ste. Marie, site of the very first event back in 2002.

We cannot just jump into the excitement of another #gsoc event without taking time to acknowledge the amazing accomplishments of last weekend's #wct action....oh and congratulate our newest Canada Cup champions.  Here is the #GunnerRunback for Week 16:

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

#BetweenTheSheets with Niklas Edin
The Swedish Viking talks rock star status, Olympic cycle scheduling and towel folding?

2004 World Junior Curling Champion.  2009 Universiade Champion.  5-time European Champion, including the the now three-time defending winner.  2-time World Champion.  Olympic bronze medal winner.  And now 2-time (back-to-back) Grand Slam of Curling Champion.  The resume for Sweden's Niklas Edin is quite impressive.  In fact, the world may just belong to the #SwedishViking and we are all lucky to live in it.

With accolades and championships like those listed above, one would think King Niklas would truly reign over the curling kingdom with an iron fist.  However, sit down with him and have a conversation and you instantly forget the accomplishments and get caught up in the genuine, nice guy personality Niklas Edin truly has.

I have been a fan of Edin's since his world junior championship win in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.  As a fan, I knew this man would be a force to reckon with in the curling world for many, many years to come.  Ok I realize many people made the same prediction and there is no actual physical proof I said this but still...just take my word for it #TwineTime fans.  When I reached out to Niklas and asked him if he would be willing to join the #TwineTime family, honestly, I set my expectations low for a response.  He is a World Champion.  A European Champion.  A two-time Olympian.  Why would he want to sit down and talk to a "fan" blogger such as myself?

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

#BetweenTheSheets: Pressure On For PyeongChang
Olympic trials spot on the line at Canada Cup of Curling

The realization the 2018 Winter Olympics are just over a year away will set in quick this weekend in Brandon, MB.  Seven of the top men's and women's curling teams in our nation will hit the ice at the Keystone Centre and compete for a coveted Roar of the Rings invite.  The Roar of the Rings will take place next year in Ottawa, with the winning men's and women's teams earning the right to don the Maple Leaf and represent Canada in PyeongChang, South Korea.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves quite yet.  There is still A LOT of curling to take place over the next year.  Let's just consider this week's Canada Cup of Curling event as the official "kick in the ass" start on the Olympic road.  Ok, yes I realize Team Homan, Team Jones and Team Koe already have their hotel reservations set in Ottawa.  One year out from the trials though, the realization for all teams should sink in quick now....the struggle is real and qualifying for Ottawa is no easy feat!

Of course the Roar of the Rings spot is not the only thing on the line this week.  The men's and women's champions also earn their spot on Team North America at the 2017 Continental Cup in Las Vegas this January.  Who doesn't want a trip to Vegas right after New Year's to have some fun and win some money? #TeamCanada  Speaking of money, the Canada Cup of Curling also has lots of that to go around with a total purse of $140K!!

Friday, 18 November 2016

#BetweenTheSheets: Curling Parity Around The Rings?
#TeamCanada, #TeamWorld....now welcome #TeamUpset?
Ain't sport grand curling friends?  One reason I enjoy watching and following all sports is to see those upsets.  Just look at March Madness.  The NCAA basketball tournament draws hoards of fans for one main reason: #BracketBuster!  As sports fans we crave the upsets.  A 15-seed knocking off a 2-seed.  A sub-100 ranked player in the world defeating a Top 5 player at a grand slam.  An underdog story for the ages when a team defies the odds and takes home a championship.  We thirst for this stuff!

Curling has not been a sport where we see as many upsets.  Sure there are mild upsets every once and awhile at the Scotties or the Brier but in general I think we can all agree, for the most part, the rich get richer.  Ok maybe a Mark Dacey or Jean-Michel Menard Brier win gets us all excited for some upsets and finally seeing a few fresh faces in the victory circle.  But let's be honest, in comparison to other competitive sports the major upsets are not on par on the ice.  Until now perhaps?

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

#BetweenTheSheets: Surviving The Tour Challenge
Athletes weigh in on ice conditions, Tier II #growthesport & #Movember looks?

3 weeks.  2 slams.  1 Champion!!  Someone might have forgot to tell Sweden's Niklas Edin other teams on tour are interested in winning a slam this season.  Team Edin left Okotoks with their first ever grand slam title and the first title for a men's international team.  Well, see saw a bit of history repeating in Cranbrook as #TeamViking continued their winning ways in claiming the Tour Challenge Tier I title.

Upsets also continued to be a grand slam trend this season.  At The Masters we saw Allison Flaxey lead her team to a grand slam title.  In Cranbrook we saw a few more upsets in the finals.  Scotland's former world junior cahmpionship team of Kyle Smith reached the Tier I men's final while Michelle Englot led her "new to her" Manitoba team to the Tier I women's final, falling to Val Sweeting.  Some may say the upsets continued on the Tier II side of the house.  No, the upset wasn't seeing both the men's and women's Tier II finals being all-Ontario battles (although maybe that is a mild upset?).  The "upset" was the teams hoisting the shiny trophy as the end of the weekend when Greg Balsdon defeated pre-event favourite Glenn Howard and Jacqueline Harrison knocked off 2016 Scotties runner-up Krista McCarville.  The more things change (upsets, upsets, upsets), the more things stay the same (Team Edin domination) this season?

But the true highlight of the Tour Challenge grand slam event, other than the final victors, is the unique format of running TWO grand slam events at the same time: Tier I and Tier II.  #TwineTime was fortunate to spend some time in Cranbrook over the weekend and wanted to find out from the athletes themselves, both Tier I and Tier II, their thoughts on the sophomore slam.