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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

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

#PowerRankings W7

#BetweenTheSheets: Week 7 Power Rankings
Controversy stirs debate...what a week?!


As our curling season starts to pick up steam and the rocks start sliding closer and closer towards the pinpoint of the year, the 2018 Winter Olympics, the intensity meter seems to be turning up week in and week out.

Some teams are handling the pressure of the Olympic season quite well.  Some are revving up their game in the early part of the season and look to move from a "what if" possibility to an Olympic title contender.  And some have felt the 352lbs of weight crash in on them.  Pressure and stress are interesting emotions that can bring out the best and worst in people.

But what about controversy?  We have had a relatively quiet season on the controversy front, especially compared to year's past.  No allegations of cheating.  No major falls and injuries.  And changes were brought in to the sport from the governing federation with major approval.

Who knew #TwineTime would be the one to get people riled up?  Well it happened folks....

Thursday, 12 October 2017

#Curling S1718W6

#BetweenTheSheets:  Rankings Revamp Required!
2017/18 season has taught us the current system is not working


In this week's updated #PowerRankings blog post, the featured topic of discussion was asking the question of whether or not parity has hit the curling house.  Are we seeing more teams compete for tour championship wins on an annual basis or are the same teams continuing to dominate? 

The results fielded a mixed response bag but, when looked at over a two year period, it would appear we are seeing the needle move forward on the parity issue.  As mentioned in the blog post, parity is good for sport in general.  More competitive teams means more competitive events meaning more competitive action on the ice resulting in an increase in fan excitement and ultimately an increase in game play from the athletes themselves.

But if parity is truly hitting the hack nowadays, does this finally mean a warranted review or even revamp of the current Order of Merit (OOM) points structure needs to be brought to the forefront?

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

#NCOD

Hello October 11, Welcome! 
The day is here, today is #NCOD


"It's hard to trust people, you know?  You kinda get used to being alone and you feel like you're strong enough to do it all by yourself but that's not true.  I do want somebody to believe in me and I want to believe in someone else."

Wiser words may have never been spoken on a television program than the quote above.  No this is not from Will & Grace or Ellen.  Don't jump right into the stereotype already based on the topic of this blog.  This quote was spoken by Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon on the hit TV show Empire in last week's episode.  As soon as I heard the quote I quickly melted into a pan of emotion.  3 lines.  3 lines from a TV show.  3 lines from a TV show that sum up my personal emotions on a regular basis.  Who knew?

October 11 is National Coming Out Day.  A day where those who identify themselves within the LGBTQ community celebrate coming out and those who are community allies can stand up and show their support.  October 11, 2017.  A day of celebration.  A day some of us have also dreaded for an entire year.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

#PowerRankings W6

#BetweenTheSheets: Week 6 Power Rankings
Is #TourParity the new #TeamUpset this season?


Often sports fans grow tired of seeing the same names celebrating with championship wins year after year.  Perhaps call it the "Patriots Syndrome" from the NFL or, right now, the "Penguin Problem" in the NHL or the "Yankees Issue" with MLB.  These same teams seem to either win or be right there in the thick of the championship race season after season after season.

Now if you are a fan of these "dynasty" teams you are probably all for this and are asking yourself, "What's the problem with that? I don't see an issue here!"  And you are right.  But what about the fans of all the other teams in these leagues?  Don't they grow tired of watching the same teams in the playoffs year in and year out?  You better believe it!  Everyone loves an upset.  Everyone loves seeing a team with a playoff drought fight back and make a deep playoff run for a season or two....or more.  Sports is fun because of competition and the same teams coming out on top drops the interest in the sport for the casual fan.  Your diehard fan will always be there of course.

But what about smaller sports or individual sports?  What about those sports still technically classified as "amateur" sports?  Do these sports suffer a "dynasty" problem or are they seeing more parity?  What about curling?

Friday, 6 October 2017

#Curling S1718W5

#BetweenTheSheets: We Want Canada!
Brazil challenges the title holders for a world championship berth


The curling world, especially fans in Canada, received a slight surprise this week when Brazil formally challenged the powerhouse nation for a 2018 World Men's Curling Championship berth.

The best-of-five series will take place in January in London, Ontario during the 2018 Continental Cup.  Canada may be the #1 ranked nation in the world but even they are not protected from a world challenge.

How did this all happen many fans asked this week?  It is quite simple really.  The America's Zone is granted 2 spots at the world championships.  Due to USA acting as host (Las Vegas, NV) and the host nation receiving an auto berth, Canada dipped into the 2nd spot.  This opened the door for Brazil, another member association in the zone, to issue the challenge to Canada for the second spot.

From a #growthesport perspective, this is great!  But some feel this is unfair......

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

#WMxCC2017 Preview

#BetweenTheSheets: World Mixed Curling 
Championship Preview
Who takes home the first world championship of the season?


While tour events and Olympic hype generates much of the buzz around this curling season, there are still numerous world championship events on the curling calendar for fans to be salivating over.  The first championship of the 2017/18 season is about to get underway in Champery, Switzerland: The World Mixed Curling Championship.

With mixed doubles being added to the Olympic roster for 2018, mixed curling has been left in the hack with less emphasis and discussion.  To the layman sports fan the two terms "mixed" and "mixed doubles" may seem like one in the same.  Let's be clear here, the event starting this week will feature teams of four, similar to traditional curling, consisting of 2 men and 2 women.  Hence the term "mixed curling".

The World Mixed Curling Championship are still in their infancy stage as 2017 marks only the third time this event has been held.  Before we dive into the record-setting 2017 field, let us take a quick #GunnerRunback on the brief history of these championships:

Monday, 2 October 2017

#PowerRankings W5

#BetweenTheSheets: Week 5 Power Rankings
The future dominant nation in curling? Korea?!


Week 4 was certainly a busy one as curling action heat up the ice from Vernon, B.C. to Saskatoon, SK to Stockholm, Sweden to Basel, Switzerland.  It truly was an international week of excitement!

With so many events taking place, you knew there would be various teams and story lines to keep your curling eyes on all weekend.  However, one story emerged that perhaps many people did not predict would.  And not just one story but one nation.

How many of you dear readers were ready to proclaim Korea the rising nation of curling?  How many of you were ready to predict Korea would field 3 championship final teams over the weekend?  Not seeing a lot of hands up in the air am I?  Well, with the numerous events taking place and plethora of top teams competing, the nation of South Korea may have stole the show....and put the rest of the world on notice!

Friday, 29 September 2017

#Curling S1718 W4

#BetweenTheSheets: U-S-Agghhhh
USA Olympic trials debacle raising questions and concerns


The Olympics.  The dream of every kid who has picked up a stick or raquet or club or broom or ball and the goal for athletes around the world today.  Regardless of sport and/or discipline, if your sport is a recognized Olympic sport your goal is to one day suit up in your nations colors and flag and compete on the grandest sports stage of all and represent your country.

But as some teams around the international curling stage are discovering, earning an Olympics spot is not quite as black and white as one would think.

The recent legal debate between USA Curling and Team Todd Birr has sparked a variety of differing opinions and emotions on how national curling governing bodies are deciding who earns the right to compete for an Olympic spot....or if they are allowed to compete at all.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

#PowerRankings W4

#BetweenTheSheets: Week 4 Power Rankings
The kids are alright folks!

Photo Courtesy: Blue Monday Volume 1
Well we have all been focused on the Olympic season and the #TeamCanada vs. #TeamWorld rivalry becoming the theme of the season.....we may have overlooked another team for the season.  No, not even #TeamUpset!

How about #TeamMovingOnUp!  Week 4 had some high profile "elite" teams competing on the ice across the country but the biggest wins of the weekend came from recent past and current junior contenders making a name for themselves on the men's and women's tour.  The sport is evolving and evolving quick as these once junior-contenders (and in once case still a junior contender) are sweeping through the house at a rapid speed.

From a pure #growthesport perspective, is this not what we want to see happen?  While it is great to cheer on our favourite grand slam teams and see them succeed, we also want to know the future is bright and the next generation is ready to take the broom by the handle and continue to sweep the sport forward with success.  After seeing the results of this past weekend, I think it is safe to say (and I mean this in a very respectful way considering how old I am and how young these teams are), "The kids are alright!"

Who are the #IceWarmers for Week 4 and which teams fall under the #BambiBumble this week?  Did we see changes to the #PowerRankings?  Let's settle in the hack and find out....

Friday, 22 September 2017

#Curling S1718W3

#BetweenTheSheets: A Change Will Do You Good!
Curling to undergo major enhancements heading into next season and beyond


Who knew Slovenia would be the centre of the curling world?  Well, last week all eyes in the sport were drawn to the lakeside town of just over 6,000 people in northwestern Slovenia for the World Curling Federation's Annual General Assembly.

The 56 member associations of the WCF gathered and had an action-packed agenda discussing some important decisions for the future of the sport and vote on proposed changes....and potentially welcome a few new member associations into the fold.  A change can do you good curling world and changes they are a coming!  Cue the Sheryl Crow music in the background now.

Let's take a look at the decisions, changes and votes conducted in the historical mediaeval Slovenian town last weekend.

Monday, 18 September 2017

#PowerRankings W3

#BetweenTheSheets: Week 3 Power Rankings
Big events in Cornwall and Edmonton cause some movement


Ah the week following a grand slam event....you never really know what to expect.  As mentioned in last week's prediction blog, some teams use momentum built from a strong grand slam and continue their success while others have the grand slam hangover syndrome and falter when back on the ice with little to no time in between games/events.

Week 2 on tour certainly produced a little bit of both.  We also welcomed to the ice a few teams making their season debut's....with strong results!  The season is officially in the mix of things as teams now have some competitive games under their sliders and either have some improvements to make or are currently building strong momentum heading into the all-important Fall portion of the season.

Who reached #IceWarmers status this week and who took the #BambiBumble slide down the ice?  Time to find out as we settle in the hack for the Week 3 Power Rankings.

Friday, 15 September 2017

#Curling S1718W2

#BetweenTheSheets: The Tour Challenge Rock Star
#TwineTime Bro steals the spotlight in Regina


The #TwineTime blog is always feeling very fortunate, humbled and thankful for the opportunities provided from organizations like Curling Canada, Sportsnet, World Curling Federation and Grand Slam of Curling.  I know my role at events.  I stay in the background.  I try to linger more around the concourse level of arenas to talk to fans and feel the environment as best as possible.  I try to make sure if I do request an interview with an athlete after a game, it is after the rest of the media have had their chance.  And I try to be as respectful with their time as possible.  When one is provided an opportunity to be part of something bigger than oneself, you soak in the moment, enjoy the ride and say thank you.

But this past week in my hometown of Regina a slightly different side of the #TwineTime blog came through.  I watched games from the stands and in a regular seat.  I did not venture backstage after games and talk to players and conduct interviews.  I did not even try to hide behind the bigger scenes.  Nope, at the #TourChallenge I made my presence known.  And for a great reason....

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

#PowerRankings W2

#BetweenTheSheets: Week 2 Power Rankings
Tour Challenge winners move up, some big names slide down


When you kick off the season with a huge grand slam event you never truly know what you are going to get.  Will the regular big names from last season continue to power their way to the top of the standings?  Will a few surprise teams emerge and knock off the "big boys"?  And which teams will take a Bambi on ice stumble in their first event of the year?

The #TourChallenge in Regina certainly provided answers to all those questions and more as the opening slam of the season rocked the house next to the new iconic Mosaic Stadium in #yqr.  We had a few #TeamUpset results.  We saw history made on both Tier I and Tier II women's sides of the draw.  And we saw a few big name teams fail to live up to expectations early on.

As we head into Week 2, here are the Ice Warmer teams, the teams with replicating Bambi on ice and the updated #PowerRankings:

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

#TourChallenge Preview

#BetweenTheSheets: It's Grand Slam Time Baby!
The Tour Challenge takes over the Queen City


Can you believe we are in the first week of September and already preparing for a curling grand slam event?  The season is barely a week old and in less than a week we will celebrate the first #gsoc champion of the 2017/18 season.  Crazy right?

Perhaps this is the perfect tone to the season though.  We already know the Golden Season is going to be magical and exciting and dramatic and intriguing....and a plethora of other descriptive words.  Why not slide right out of the hack with the largest grand slam event in the calendar?  Let's bring together 60 of the top teams across the globe to one city, one venue and let them kick off the season with an epic grand slam battle!  It may be tough for some of the teams as many have not even had a competitive game of curling under their sliders this season....but from a fan perspective, sure bring it on!

Ok I know the argument here.  There may be a risk we don't see each team competing at their absolute best given this could be the first event of the season for them.  But come on, these are competitive athletes and many are still in the running for an Olympic berth.  If you doubt their intensity just because it is the opening event of the season, you are being foolish!  I think it will be the opposite.  I think the teams will come out more fired up, more intense and more ready to play a slam this early in the season because it is the Olympic year rather than say next year if this event took place at the same time.  Be ready for some fine ass curling rock heads and stoners!

Monday, 4 September 2017

#PowerRankings W1

#BetweenTheSheets: YOUR Results Are In.....
The 2017/18 Power Rankings are HERE!


The Golden Season of curling has finally left the hack and started sliding down the house.  If this is a long-term game consider this opening weekend of the season the slider warm up part to the game.  This is going to be a long season and teams need to be ready to peak at the right time, gather momentum as the season rolls on and, should the train fall off the track at all, correct the little things as early as possible.

The fun part of the season for fans is to keep an eye on the teams looking to make their mark on PyeongChang.  As we often see in college football and professional sports leagues like the NHL and NFL, weekly #PowerRankings help track those teams on the rise and those trending the opposite way.  This season #TwineTime wants to bring that excitement to the Golden Season of Curling.

Now sure I could have kicked off the season with the same rankings we ended last season with but what fun would that be?  Curling is a sport where the fans feel part of the action on the ice and really are the heart and pulse propelling the sport forward.  Therefore, it only made sense to allow the fans to vote for which teams they believed were deserving of a Top 5 ranking.  After weeks of the #fanvote, the Results. Are. In.

Friday, 1 September 2017

#Curling S1718W1

#BetweenTheSheets: Here. We. Go.
The Olympic season is ready to slide out of the hack


The season preview blog has been said and done.  The warm-ups, training and practice ice times have been completed.  The talk of what your team is going to do to prepare and how your team is going to make this "Your" season has been said, quoted and discussed.  Now.....It's time!

The Golden Season is now here and it's time for teams to not only talk the talk but walk the walk....or slide the slide?  Is that a saying or a thing in curling?  No?  Ok never mind.  You get what I am saying here.  Curling athletes and fans have been waiting for this season since the conclusion of the 2013/14 season....otherwise known as the end of the last Olympic cycle.  And judging by the votes on the #TwineTime homepage (just to your right on the sidebar ----->) fans are overwhelmingly in agreement PyeongChang is on the top of our curling minds this year.

But before we try to start a time warp and jump ahead to February 2018, let's remember we have a full season of curling still on tap and ready to rock out house week in and week out.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

US Open Preview

#BetweenTheBaselines: Welcome to the Big Apple!
We close out the 2017 tennis grand slam season with the US Open


Ok Summer is officially over when we  cast our tennis glare over Arthur Ashe Stadium and get ready to crown the final grand slam winners of the 2017 tennis season.  The US Open is ready to get underway Monday morning and tennis fans are ready for the North America hard court season to bring forth it's ultimate main event.

This tennis season has been an interesting one to follow.  The tone was set from the beginning when we went down under and turned back the clock with Roger Federer winning the Australian Open.  I must admit this was a bucket list item for me, being in Melbourne and watching RFed compete was magical!  Who knew at the time the only slam winners this season on the men's tour would be Federer and Nadal?

And what about the women's tour?  We saw a teenager rise to adulthood in front of our very eyes when Jelena Ostapenko shocked us all taking home the French Open.  And before we could blink Garbina Muguruza was a two-time grand slam champion after her Wimbledon triumph.  Not to mention the return, albeit a short one, of Vika Azarenka and now Maria Sharapova at a grand slam event.  We can also define the 2017 grand slam season as "Expect the Unexpected".

Thursday, 24 August 2017

2017/18 Curling Season Preview

#BetweenTheSheets: The Golden Season Is Coming
Bring on the excitement, drama, pressure...and upsets?


Let this be the official Welcome Back celebration for curling!  The 2017/18 curling season is officially underway folks and this is already shaping up to be the most exciting season yet...perhaps even the Golden Season for a few lucky teams and nations.

Yes, it is Olympic year.  Finally!!  The four-year Olympic cycle is a gruelling one for players and fans.  There are team changes, qualification standards to achieve and national team trials and selections to survive.  One could say playing a 48hr curling marathon match would be easier to survive than the daunting Olympic cycle....but the light at the end of the tunnel makes it all worth it.

But the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea is not the only reason to celebrate the upcoming season.  Although judging by the poll results on the #TwineTime home page (just to your right ---->) it would appear most, if not all, of you are really focusing on the Olympiad.  We have grand slams to compete for.  We have a new tour with new elements to discuss.  We have new teams.  We have favourites looking to continue their dominance from a season ago and perhaps a few new upsets to keep us on our toes.  Yes this may be the "Olympic Season" but there are also many other subplots and story lines to wet your slider for the next 8 months.

#TwineTime is warming up the legs, doing a few lunges to not pull a groin muscle, slipping the slider on and tossing a few rocks at the house to warm up the season.  Lets hope some of these land in the rings as counters and not sail right on through to oblivion.

Monday, 14 August 2017

VOTE - Women's Top 5

#BetweenTheSheets: Queens of the House
Which teams do YOU think will finish at the top of the women's rankings?


The men's vote is heating up the internet as we prepare for the upcoming curling season....now it's time for the women to burn down the house.  I promised all of you an equal opportunity to show your love towards the top women's team on the world curling tour and now is YOUR chance.

As mentioned in the men's vote blog post, very rarely do we get to see curling throw a vote stone towards the fans and allow them the chance to have their voice heard on which teams they think will rise to the top of the curling mountain this season.  And with the 2018 Winter Olympics fast approaching, there are many teams who could make a push for the coveted #1 spot....but who do YOU think has the ability, drive, skill, dedication and (maybe) a bit of luck sometimes to lead the #PowerRankings?

Saturday, 5 August 2017

VOTE - Men's Top 5

#BetweenTheSheets: Who Are YOUR Top 5?
Vote which men's teams YOU think finish on top for the 2017/18 season


It's August!  The curling arena's are starting to lay ice for the upcoming season.  The rocks are being shined.  The brooms are being stacked.  And, hopefully, all of you have cleaned out those curling bags and washed those shirts and socks.  Nobody wants the smell of last season's Lulu pants or Saxx boxers stinking up the lockerroom to kick off a new season!  Heck, technically the season already started this past weekend in Japan.  Competitive curling in August seems a bit crazy?!

As with many sports, the start of the season is usually a bombardment of polls and previews.  But, alas, curling doesn't really present the same kind of build-up to a season like we see in college football or the NFL.  Until NOW!!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Season Wrap Up Awards

#BetweenTheSheets: The 2017 Golden Granite Awards
Who takes home the gold for the 2016/17 season?


The rocks have officially been put away on the 2016/17 season. The curling ice is rapidly melting away as heat waves take over most curling club locations across North America, Europe and Asia. We didn't forget about you Australia and New Zealand and Brazil....we hope you are enjoying your winter months and getting some quality rock throwing in while the official season is on break.

Last year marked the inaugural #TwineTime blog Golden Granite Awards. The awards were a huge success (among the handful of people who followed along haha) and due to popular demand of 3 or 4 people, the rookie idea has now become a blog tradition! Movies have the Oscars. TV has the Emmy's. Sports has the ESPY's. Curling has....the Golden Granite! Tradition is born rock heads and stoners.

Monday, 3 July 2017

#BetweenTheBaselines: Wimbledon Preview
Take me to Church (Road) for SW19 and some #HistoryRepeating?


The grass is green.  The outfits are white.  And the food is red.  Welcome to July and the tradition known as Wimbledon!  The third grand slam of the tennis season hits the historic courts of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for the 131st edition of The Championships and the 50th in the Open Era.

Defending gentlemen's champion Andy Murray looks to defend his crown in front of the home "nation" supporters while defending women's champion Serena Williams prepares for motherhood and will miss her second consecutive slam.  The fight for the #1 will also be on the line for both the ATP and WTA rankings.  Murray, Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic are all in contention to claim the #1 ranking by the end of The Championships.  Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova will aim for the title and #1 ranking on the WTA side of the draw.

Friday, 23 June 2017

#BetweenTheSheets with Danielle Inglis
Junior -> CIS -> Mixed...Inglis builds success while also giving back


The #TwineTime family continues to grow rock heads and stoners.  And it continues to grow with the thanks of your dedication and interest in the #BetweenTheSheets blog posts.  With increased interest from sports fans, not just curling fans, in the small "blog that could" more athletes are becoming aware and interested in being a member of the family....all thanks to you!  This blog truly is made by a fan for the fans!

Having said that, this is an exciting addition to the family.  Someone who not only knows the sport inside and out as an athlete but also tracks the online interest and "fandom" of the sport among numerous social media channels.  Welcome Danielle Inglis!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

#BetweenTheSheets with J.D. Lind
We talk coaching, #TeamJapan, PyeongChang and Britney Spears!! 


It has been awhile since the #TwineTime blog added a new face to the place.  A little wham to the fam.  Worry no longer #curling fans, I am hear to put some more yak in your hack!

Ok, I may have been spending some time with school age children at work playing rhyme tyme...my apologies.  But I do think you should be excited about our newest #TwineTime fam member: J.D. Lind!  J.D. is a curler.  J.D. is a coach.  J.D. has been to one Olympics and is preparing for another in only a few months time.  The unique story behind J.D. though is his coaching and Olympics experience do not come with a maple leaf on his back but rather the "Circle of the Sun".

The #growthesport theme has been elevated this season with #TeamWorld stepping up their game on the #gsoc circuit.  #TeamCanada owning the world stage.  And #TeamUpset making history along the way.  While at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championships in Lethbridge this season, I had the opportunity to sit down with #TeamJapan coach J.D. Lind and talk about his transition from curling athlete to curling coach, his new role with a new nation, how he has seen a #growthesport movement and the excitement surrounding the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Get ready to see the sport through the mixture of a curler/coaching lens and welcome the first coach to the #TwineTime family.  Let's go #BetweenTheSheets with J.D. Lind!

Monday, 8 May 2017

International Growth

#BetweenTheSheets: Sport Development Takes Centre Sheet
The #WMDCC2017 highlights the importance of the #growthesport theme


The curling season has come and gone once again and for many it was a season of celebration, trophy lifting and making some money.  Canada's Brad Gushue and Rachel Homan hoisted the ultimate prize of the year in claiming world championship victories.  Sweden's Niklas Edin hoisted a few grand slam titles and finished the year with the second-largest money haul in the history of the sport.

But championship wins and giant oversize cheques are not the only keys to success within the sport.  And not all athletes and nations competing will get to wrap themselves in the warm glow of championship victories.  For some, just being able to compete on the big ice is a victory in itself while trying to #growthesport back home to keep curling sustainable and relevant.  The sports development model is a work in progress.

The World Mixed Doubles Curling Championships wrapped up over a week ago in Lethbridge, Alberta.  The #TwineTime blog was fortunate enough to attend the event and have some time to talk to a few of the players competing from the "non-traditional" curling powerhouse nations.  Sure we know about Canada and USA and Sweden and Scotland and Switzerland.  We know how the sport is doing in those nations.  But what about other nations around the globe?  Do you know how the sport is doing in Poland or Latvia?  What about the other #TeamGB nations, Wales and England?  And what about the newest challenger in the America's region, Brazil?

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: Champions Cup Closes Curling Season
Will we see #TeamCanada, #TeamWorld or #TeamUpset claim the final grand slam?


The time has arrived curling fans.  The final event of the 2016/17 curling season is about to slide out of the hack at Calgary's famed Canada Olympic Park (or COP as we call it here in #yyc).  The grand slam of curling takes centre stage as the final tour event with the Humpty's Champions Cup.

Last year marked the debut of this new grand slam event and, if you follow the #TwineTime blog, you will have read my excitement about the addition.  What a perfect way to close a season!  Let's bring back the big tour winners from the year, throw them on the ice of an iconic venue and let's just see who truly is the ultimate Champion of Champions for 2016/17.  How can you not get excited?

Some teams participating this week in Calgary have not thrown a competitive rock in weeks or maybe months.  A few others are just coming from an event in Europe.  And one team has not had a week off in over a month.  The question is which team strategy will prove to be the ultimate best decision?  Do you take some time off to prepare for the final grand slam?  Do you keep playing events hoping to remain in competitive peak performance?  Or do you risk curling fatigue by over-scheduling yourself?  All options have both good and bad possibilities.  And all options can produce a grand slam champion OR an early slam exit.

Friday, 21 April 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: World Mixed Doubles 
Championship Preview
Nations leave it all on the ice for the final stop on the #RoadTo2018
The pressure is mounting.  The competition is fierce.  And, for some, time is slipping away.  39 nations are preparing to take the ice in Lethbridge, Alberta this week for the 2017 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship.

A world championship title is not the only important thing on the line this week though.  While all 39 tandems will be aiming to take home a world championship, this week also marks the final opportunity for nations to qualify for the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.  This will be the end of the #RoadTo2018, final stop Lethbridge!

Mixed doubles will be making it's Olympic debut in Pyeongchang and each nation would love to lay claim to taking home the first Olympic gold medal in the discipline.  We never know what the future will hold for the sport and/or the discipline itself but we do know there will always be 1...as in the first duo to ever stand atop the Olympic podium.  Great Britain owns this historic feat on the men's side, winning gold at the 1924 Winter Olympics.  Interesting side note, Team GB dominated the competition, beating Sweden 38-7 and France 46-4.  #Yikes  On the women's side, Canada's Sandra Schmirler brought home the first Olympic gold at the 1998 games defeating Denmark in the final.  Which athlete and which nation can be the first in 2018?  Time will tell...but first you have to get there!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

#BetweenTheSheets with Ryan Sherrard
Canadian-born, German curling champ talks junior pressure, German curling and #TheHat


The #TwineTime blog continues to add an international flavour to the family this year rock heads and stoners.  But this time, our newest member is a bit unique.  No, I am talking about his awesome facial reactions in pictures, like the one shown above, but rather the story of why this Canadian is considered an International.

When this blog found out he was going to Edmonton to partake in the 2017 Ford World Men's Curling Championships as a member of #TeamMedia, the curling stones started spinning.  Curlers from all over the world vying for a world title....curlers fighting to earn their nation a spot in the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics....curlers trying to gain some momentum to help #growthesport back home.  The plot lines were thick and abundant.  But I wanted to also seize the opportunity and really bring home something special.

Enter the lead for the German champions: Ryan Sherrard.  I have been a fan of Sherrard's since his Canadian junior championship run.  When this blog noticed him back hitting the ice this season, it was a special moment.  I reached out to him on twitter offering my congrats on returning to the game and wishing him all the best, hoping our paths may actually cross this season.  Well, 8 months later here we were.  Both in Edmonton.  One competing on the ice.  One sitting on media row.  Both getting a first experience in one way or another.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: The Road To Gold
The Players Championship runs gold rings as teams chase gold dreams


How fitting is it to have the curling rings run gold in colour this week for the Players Championship?  Not only is this event the gold standard on the annual Grand Slam of Curling schedule BUT this year there is the added element of chasing the Olympic dream for many of the teams hitting the ice in Toronto.

The Players Championship runs deep with tradition and prestige.  All curling athletes want to be competing in this event and end the week being crowned champion.  But alas only one team can pull off the feat and leave Toronto with a smile on their face.

But prestige and etching your name in the history books is not the only thing in play within the golden rings this week.  We have a few direct-entry berths for the Roar of the Rings in Ottawa, the Canadian Olympic curling trials, on the line.  We also have spots in the season-ended Champions Cup.  What about the Rogers Grand Slam Cup?  Top spot in the race to claim the overall season trophy stills hangs in the balance.  And what about the money?  All that money sitting there right for the taking.  Can do some nice post-Easter chocolate shopping with all the money being handed out this week!

Friday, 7 April 2017

#BetweenTheBoards: Chalk Talk Dominates 
Opening Playoff Round
The Memorial Cup dream still alive for many of the favourites


We started the season with 60 teams across 3 leagues believing in a dream to hoist the Memorial Cup at the end of the season.  When the playoffs came around a few weeks ago, the dreams were dashed for 12 teams leaving us with our 48 playoff teams.  Here we are only a few days later and once again the fat has been trimmed on Memorial Cup hopefuls.

After the opening round of the playoffs, we said goodbye to a whopping 24 teams.  Half of the playoff teams saw their dreams end while another 24 teams enjoyed the celebration of moving on and being that one tiny skate closer to playing for the ultimate prize in junior hockey.

The opening playoff round across the WHL, OHL and QMJHL had some exciting games and a few exciting series going the distance.  But, let's be honest, it was mostly chalk results across the board.  The fun part of playoff hockey is seeing upsets.  Who doesn't enjoy seeing a division champ get knocked out in the opening round?  Ok well maybe their fans don't but for the most part the rest of the league, the opposing players/teams and many fans enjoy seeing a few upsets along the way.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: #GrowTheSport Key Topic Of Discussion
The #FWMCC2017 has gold medals and Olympic spots but sport growth also key factor


Reaching the top of the podium, having a gold medal hang around your neck and being the first team to plant your lips against the new Ford World Men's Curling Championship trophy is the dream for 12 nations competing in Edmonton this week.  Only 1 will be able to check off this dream though come next Sunday.

A second dream is in play as well for the nations on the ice, Olympic dreams!  The aspirations of each team competing having the chance to finalize direct qualification for their national association to reach the 2018 Winter Olympics field in Pyeongchang, South Korea is in the back of the minds of many athletes on the ice.  Only 7 nations will earn direct qualification though, with hosts South Korea occupying an automatic spot as hosts (for the complete breakdown on the qualification process check out the #TwineTime #FWMCC2017 preview blog HERE).  For those who do not check off this dream, they will have a last chance qualifier event in December 2017 to continue chasing this dream.

But a world championship and secured Olympic spot are not the only dreams at play this week.  For a few of the nations competing in "The Last Hurrah" at Northlands Coliseum, the push will be there for a strong result to help #growthesport back home.  The #growthesport element has been a key topic of discussion within the #TwineTime blog for a few seasons now and the topic remains a key factor for many nations around the world.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: Team Canada vs. Team World vs. 
Team Upset
The Ford World Men's Curling Championships slide into Edmonton


Welcome everyone to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  Welcome everyone to Northlands Coliseum.  Welcome everyone to the 2017 Ford World Men's Curling Championships!  How's that for an early 1990's WWF-throwback introduction?

Ok retro wrestling moments aside, the excitement on the world curling stage is at its annual plateau right now.  The World Women's Curling Championships just wrapped up in Beijing and here we are ready to get going on the path to crowning our world men's champion.  How can you not get excited?

This is a huge world championship event.  Not only do we have the added pressure on every team competing to try and bring home a gold medal but this is the final opportunity for nations to earn qualification points for the 2018 Winter Olympics.  For some teams the path is pretty set in stone and only a formality.  For some, there will be work needed over the next week to secure a spot.  And for others, their backs are firmly up against the wall and it will take a STRONG result (perhaps a championship win) to move on the positive side of the red cut line.  But more on that in a moment.

Friday, 24 March 2017

#BetweenTheBoards: The Road To Memorial Cup 2018
The CHL begins the playoff round as teams fight for a spot in Windsor


60 teams.  3 leagues.  1 goal!  The dream of hundreds of junior hockey players is elevated to the next level this weekend when the CHL Playoffs hit the ice across Canada and the US.  The 60 teams that start the season in the Western Hockey League (WHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) have already started the first round of eliminations.  The regular season wrapped up a week ago and we have said goodbye to the dreams of 12 teams across the league.

Bring on 48 teams now.  Still 3 leagues.  Still 1 major goal....The Memorial Cup.  Last year the London Knights from the OHL hoisted the trophy in Red Deer and will look to repeat as champions, something that has not been done since the 2009/2010 champion Windsor Spitfires.  The OHL also has a slight advantage this season with those same Spitfires serving as Memorial Cup hosts.  Although hosting rights does not also equate to an advantage, right WHL (see last season) or QMJHL (2015)?  Both the past two seasons have seen the host league fail to have either of the two teams competing reach the championship final.  In fact the last host league, and host team, to win the Memorial Cup was the Shawinigan Caataractes in 2012.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: Switzerland Chasing History!
The World Women's Curling Championships hit the ice in Beijing, China
After a season of #TeamUpset story lines, nail-biting finishes and great shot after shot, the women's world curling season has reached the peak of the mountain.  The 2017 World Women's Curling Championships are underway in Beijing, China.  In the 38-year history of this event, 2017 will mark the first-time the world women's championship will take place in China.  The location selection is a smart one though as Beijing will also host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

But before we get to the 2022 Winter Olympics, we still have the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea to focus on.  And the focus will be heavy during this entire week for many of the athletes competing.  The 2017 event will be the final opportunity for nations to gain qualification points for the 2018 Winter Olympics.  For some nations, an Olympic spot is all but assured while others will find themselves knowing every single win will matter.  And, for a small select few, not competing this week could take them from an Olympic spot down to a qualification tournament spot.  Because the Olympics are such a huge event, let's take a quick look at the qualification standings.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: The GSOC vs. CTRS Debate
Call for change to the Elite(-ist) slam?


Is this not the best time to be a curling fan sports fans?  The sport is gearing up towards the 2018 Olympics, one year away now.  We have upcoming world championships for men, women and mixed doubles.  AND fans were just treated to back-to-back Canadian championship finals that brought the house down in St. Catharines and St. John's.

The Scotties and Brier saw very similar results in the championship finals.  Both had outstanding shots and terrific drama.  Both had a home province team looking to take home the Team Canada jackets in front of their close family and friends and fans.  Both had tremendous TV numbers for TSN.  AND both got sports fans, not just curling fans, hitting up social media and water cooler's the next day talking about the excitement resonating from high-energy finals.  As a fan of the sport and the #growthesport movement, what more could you want?

But let's not wear the rose-coloured glasses and praise the sport as being the best of the best with no concerning issues.  Celebrate success, yes!  Become complacent in thinking all is well, not yet!

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

#BetweenTheBaselines: World Baseball Classic Preview
Special guest Matt Dunstone breaks down the action in the dirt


Time to dust off those cleats, break out the glove and start hitting the batting cages sports fans, baseball season is right around the corner.  Ok, for most of us living in Canada we look outside our office windows and still see an abundance of snow and feel the crisp cold temperatures when we sprint to our cars in the morning but there is a warm summer glow peaking out from around those clouds, I promise!

MLB spring training has begun in Florida and many of the top players are starting to get in the swing of things, literally.  But the upcoming MLB season is not the only excitement hitting the diamond right now.  The World Baseball Classic (WBC) has also drawn attention from around the world as 16 of the best baseball nations hit the dugout and try to lay claim to the #WBC title.

Now #TwineTime fans, if you have followed this blog since inception you are well aware baseball is not my best sport.  I know enough to get by but I would never declare myself to be an expert or very knowledgeable.  Given the importance of this event, and the fact it only takes place every four years, I thought it would be best to reach out to the #TwineTime family and invite a very special, very intelligent and HUGE baseball fan to join me for the #WBC2017 preview: Matt Dunstone!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: Brier Preview with Brad Chyz
Can "The Goo" wow the home crowd with a win or should he "Beware the Ides of March"?
The curling calendar rolls over into a new month and with the welcoming of March means the excitement of the Tim Hortons Brier!  The Mile One Centre in St. John's, NF is going to be rocking all week and curling fans are in for a treat.

This field is considered one of the best, most competitive fields in Brier history.  And why not?  We have past Brier winners.  We have former world champions.  We have Olympic champions.  We have Canadian and World junior champions.  And we even have some exciting new rookies stepping onto the ice.  The home province should have lots to celebrate and cheer for of course with Brad Gushue back in the game and looking more thirsty and hungry for a Brier title than ever before.  But it will not be easy...for him or anyone to claim the 2017 title.  We will see some favourites for sure.  But could we see a few dark horse or #TeamUpset provinces/territories shock the world and make a push for Brier glory?

When #TwineTime put together a Scotties preview a few weeks ago, the field was just too impressive to handle on my own.  So I brought in a guest to help preview the action and welcome a new member to the #TwineTime family, Nadine Chyz.  With the Brier field stacked with top athletic talent, we have a similar scenario where this is too big a field for little old me to handle solo.  Since Nadine did such an outstanding job, including defeating me with her picks, I decided to keep it in the Chyz family and invite Brad Chyz to join me for the #Brier2017 preview.

It is worth noting here #TwineTime fans, this preview interview was conducted prior to the start of play.  However, due to the fact there are so many Brier pools up and running this year (which I love by the way), I thought it best to keep these predictions a secret until after play started.  Not to brag or anything but I did win two Brier pools last year and Brad and I have combined to form a Super Brier Pool team for one entry this year as well.  If you aren't entered into any Brier pools, what are you thinking?  These are awesome and certainly add an extra level of excitement to the action on the ice all week.  I believe I am in 5 #Brier2017 pools this year.  Ok I may be going a bit over the top now....somebody might need to give a #TwineTime intervention by next season.


Friday, 3 March 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: World Wheelchair Curling Championships Preview
The top wheelchair curling nations take the ice in PyeongChang, South Korea
The world championship curling season continues to roll along folks.  It was only a few weeks ago we crowned our newest world junior champions, congrats once again to the Sweden women and Korea men.  This week world curling action returns to PyeongChang and the Gangneung Curling Centre, the host venue for the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The venue test event being closely watched by curling fans around the world this week will be the World Wheelchair Curling Championship.  This year's championship event will be the final opportunity for nations to earn enough points to qualify their country a spot at the 2018 Paralympic Games.  The 2015, 2016 and 2017 world championships will help determine the 11 nations to qualify for the paralympic tournament, with host nation South Korea receiving an automatic berth.

Some of you may not be too familiar with wheelchair curling and the world championship event.  The #TwineTime blog is always here to help #growthesport but also help grow the knowledge for ALL disciplines of curling, not just the media darling men and women on tour and grand slam events.  We have some incredible athletes competing in wheelchair curling who are very deserving of your curling fandom rock heads and stoners.


Wednesday, 22 February 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: Scotties Red Marker Time
The midterm grades are in....who is passing and who has work to do?


The opening long weekend of the 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts is in the books...and what a weekend.  We saw a few upsets.  We saw some tears.  We saw some great shots.  We saw some bad misses.  We saw the provincial and territorial pride shine.  And we said goodbye to the R-word (relegation that is!).

As is the case every year with the Scotties, we see some highlights and lowlights from the opening few days of action.  I am confident all of you did the same throughout the long weekend, I put some more butt grooves in my couch and anxiously watched each rock thrown down the ice in St. Catharines.  There have certainly been many storylines coming out of the weekend and with #MovingDay arriving quickly on Wednesday, it is time for the annual tradition of midterm report cards.  The Big Red marker rolled out from under the couch, cracked its lid and starting handing out the grades.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: Scotties Preview with Nadine Chyz
Will #TeamUpset show it's face in St. Catharines?


Valentine's Day is over curling friends...time to put down the cinnamon hearts for a different type of heart.  The Scotties Tournament of Hearts I mean of course!

It is that time of the curling season to watch the best women's curling teams from across our great country compete for the coveted title of Team Canada and the right to wear the red maple leaf at the upcoming Women's World Curling Championships in Beijing, China.  We have a very eclectic field hitting the house in St. Catharines, Ontario this week, ranging from past Canadian champions to Olympic representatives to all-out rookie teams.  Will the favourites survive and run the table?  Will #TeamUpset continue to shock the curling world once again?

The Scotties is a very special event and, as such, deserves more special attention than this one blogger can provide on his own.  It is for this special reason it gives me great pleasure and honour to welcome the newest member of the #TwineTime family, Nadine Chyz, to help with the #STOH2017 preview.

Let's not hesitate my curling friends.  Settle into the hack and let's get this preview rolling from my house to yours!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: World Juniors Hit The House 
In South Korea
The 2018 Olympic venue plays host to the 2017 World Junior Curling Championships
The #Roadto2018 is now officially underway curling fans.  The venue for the Olympic curling event will see it's first competitive curling rocks slide down the ice when the 2017 World Junior Curling Championships get underway in Korea this week.

The Gangneung Curling Centre in Gangneung, Korea will serve as the test event for the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics curling competition.  As was the case back in 2013 in Sochi, Russia, the top world junior curling teams will be the first to hit the ice on an Olympic venue.  How cool of a moment and memory is that for a junior player?  You know you are sliding out of the same hack that will see some of curling's top stars in a year's time.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: #TeamUpset Taking 
Provincial Playdowns?
Can the favourites survive or are we in store for more surprises this season?


Well my #curling friends, I have missed you I must admit.  It has been almost a month since we have connected.  While I took a much needed vacation to the Land of OZ for three weeks, the curling rocks continued to run, spin and freeze their way all over the house.  The beaches, hot sun (boy did I burn!), Great Barrier Reef and Australian Open experience was #BucketList worthy without a doubt but it is time to get back in the hack and put some points on the curling scoreboard.

Much has occurred during my little blogging hiatus.  We crowned new grand slam champions at The Canadian Open.  A few high profile #wct events took place around the world.  Canadian junior curling champions were crowned.  The Winter Universiade handed out curling medals.  The Brier field started to take shape.  AND the Scotties field was completed (more on that later though).

As is custom with the #TwineTime blog, and with much respect to Manitoba's own Jason Gunnlaugson, let's take a quick #GunnerRunback at what has happened over the past month of curling action:

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

#Litterbox

#BetweenTheSheets With Catlin Schneider
A multi-sport athlete, Hawaii living, the "Purrrr-fect" nickname and...banning the tick shot?


The curling blood runs deep in the Schneider family.  From Jamie Schneider winning the Canadian Junior Curling Championship in 1983 to Kim Schneider winning the Scotties Tournament of Hearts (with Amber Holland) in 2011, the Schneider name is one of traditional and associated with winning.  If you enter any curling club, especially within Saskatchewan, everyone knows the Schneider name.  From small humble beginnings in the Kronau area, a community of 250 people (yup that small and I've been there numerous times to know it's true) yet with it's own curling rink, to national prominence whenever you see a curler hit the ice with the name Schneider on the back of the jacket, you know you are in for a good game.

Enter Catlin Schneider.  Big curling shoes to fill when your family has Canadian champions around you.  But no living in the Schneider family shadow for this 25-year old.  Curling athlete?  Check!  But don't think he is resting on family laurels.  How about football stud?  Golfer?   Yup, Catlin has the athlete genes flowing through him.  But don't let the muscles and physique fool you either.  University graduate?  Engineer?  Yup, brains with brawn here folks.  Some would say Catlin is the triple threat of brains, brawn and beauty....and he is ready to take the curling world by storm with his Saskatchewan team.  Curling as a vice with Team Meachem, Catlin enjoyed a breakthrough season last year and the build-up, anticipation...and expectations...for the future are shining brighter than ever before.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: Bracketology Comes To Curling!
The rings runneth red at the Canadian Open


Welcome 2017!  I hope all of you curling fans were able to enjoy the holiday season and ring in the New Year...get it, "ring" in the new year?!?  The curling house has rings...see what I did there?  Ok, already starting the new year with a bang!

The calendar barely flipped over into a new year and already we have a grand slam event to get excited about.  The Canadian Open, usually held in December, was moved to January this season.  While it may not give the athletes lots of time to prepare so close to post-NYE celebrations, it sure gives curling fans something to wet our rocks with.  The Canadian Open is the fourth stop on the grand slam of curling calendar and, for the third year in a row, will be hosted by my home province, Saskatchewan.  Go #TeamGreen!!

Before we jump into the first grand slam of 2017, the curling calendar for the new year has already crowned it's first champions.  The US Open (an event which perhaps should be the next grand slam event on the calendar in my opinion) began before the end of 2016 and wrapped up at the beginning of this week.