Thursday's release of the newest edition of the hugely popular Women of Curling calendar confirms what men around these parts have known for a long time -- Winnipeg chicks rock.
Three of the 12 women featured in the first-ever all-Canadian version of the famous curling calendar are from Winnipeg, including cover girl Jill Officer, second for Jennifer Jones.
Officer just laughed when she was asked if earning the calendar cover officially ordains her the hottest woman in Canadian curling. "No, I don't think it means anything like that," she said. "I was just honoured and flattered... I really wanted to show the athleticism behind the sport in my picture and hopefully it does that."
Chelsea Carey, a former Manitoba Curling Tour champion and skip of her own Winnipeg-based team, is Miss March in the calendar, and Carey third -- and two-time Manitoba women's runner-up -- Kristy Jenion is Miss October.
The calendar's release comes just as the richest women's curling event in Winnipeg this winter gets underway this morning at the Fort Rouge Curling Club. All three Manitoba women in the calendar are curling in the $60,000 Manitoba Lotteries Women's Curling Classic this weekend, as is Miss December, Colleen Jones of Nova Scotia, and Miss February, Cheryl Bernard of Alberta.
Jenion said she was delighted to even be considered for the calendar and never hesitated. "I was surprised by the fact they even asked me. There are so many beautiful women in curling," she said. "And I really liked that it was in support of a good cause... I really couldn't say no."
A portion of the proceeds from the calendar, on sale now for $29.95 at womenofcurlingcalendar.com, will go to support wheelchair curling.
The first Women of Curling calendar came out in 2005 and became an international media sensation as mainstream news outlets that normally ignore the sport, especially in the U.S., jumped on the novelty of a traditionally staid sport baring flesh.
The last few editions of the calendar have been all-European affairs and included nudity. The new Canadian version, just like the country generally, is decidedly tamer than its European predecessor. "It's really kind of G-rated," Carey says.
She said she'd been asked previously to take part and only agreed this time after she was informed she'd be in complete control of everything. "We were in control of the whole thing ourselves -- from hair to wardrobe to image. We even found our own photographer. It was fun to dress up and play model for a day."
The man behind the calendar says he actually could have included more Manitoba women, but had to draw the line at three.
George Karrys, editor of the Canadian Curling News, said he asked the entire Jones team if they'd be interested in taking part.
Karrys said Jones herself was initially reluctant, but after she saw Officer's proofs and learned curlers could choose how they were depicted, she called him back to see if he was still interested in her.
"Sure I was interested," Karrys said, "but I would have got killed if four of the 12 curlers were Manitoban."