THE EIGHT-ENDER

Kerry Burtnyk, Brett Favre seem to have similar habit...

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1 Scoop du jour.

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Opinion

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/12/2010 (4431 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

1 Scoop du jour.

Hall of famer Kerry Burtnyk is coming out of retirement to take part in his umpteenth Manitoba men’s curling championship. The question that remains to be answered is what part Burtnyk will play.

Burtnyk has agreed to be the fifth man for Garth Smith at the Safeway Championship in Beausejour in February. Smith, of course, won a Manitoba men’s title in 2008 as the lead for Burtnyk but is skipping his own team and punched his ticket to Beausejour in the zone playdowns over the weekend.

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Hall of famer Kerry Burtnyk is coming out of retirement to take part in his umpteenth Manitoba men’s curling championship. The question that remains to be answered is what part Burtnyk will play.

Ross McFadyen, Smith’s second, said in an email Monday that it’s unlikely Burtnyk will play in any early-round action in Beausejour “but it’s at least possible he’ll see some action if we happen to make the weekend.”

 

2 Kevin Martin is the best curler to ever play the game and an interesting guy. But he also still occasionally says really dumb things.

Case in point: Martin, who defeated Jeff Stoughton in Vernon on Sunday to win his 16th Grand Slam curling event, told reporters last week that he wants to win 18 Slam events so that he can match Jack Nicklaus’s 18 major golf titles.

Which is fine, I suppose. But the dumb part came when Martin suggested the two marks would somehow be comparable. “I’ve talked about this for a number of years now because I think golf and curling are similar,” Martin said recently. “They’re both event sports. I think the Slams will mean a lot more in the future going forward.”

That might be. But they are never, ever going to resemble the PGA majors.

To suggest otherwise and invoke the name of Nicklaus is absurd.

 

3 Mike McEwen made the big time last week, getting the stamp of approval from the Globe and Mail as the next big thing in curling.

Highly respected curling writer Bob Weeks weighed in on Winnipeg’s McEwen on Thursday.

“For the first time in a long time, the top team in curling is not led by Kevin Martin or Glenn Howard. Nor is it skipped by Randy Ferbey, Kevin Koe or Jeff Stoughton,” Weeks wrote.

“In what might be the first changing of the generational guard in Canadian curling after the Olympics, the best rock-tossers in the game right now are a group of Manitoba upstarts who’ve dominated play on the World Curling Tour this season.

“Skipped by Mike McEwen, the rink from Winnipeg has won four events and earned $73,750, tops in the country and a generous $12,000 ahead of Martin in second place.”

You know you’ve made the big time when a curler gets noticed in Toronto.

 

4 Another curler made international headlines for much more disturbing reasons last week.

Scotland’s Frank Duffy, who skipped Great Britain to a silver medal at the 2006 Paralympics in Turin, killed himself last Thursday — the same day he was to appear in court on sex charges.

Police say Duffy, who was confined to a wheelchair, parked his car outside a library in rural Scotland early Thursday morning, set the car on fire and then died in the ensuing fireball.

Duffy had reportedly called his estranged second wife moments before lighting the car on fire, telling her he “couldn’t take it anymore.”

The 51-year-old father of two was to appear in court Friday on numerous charges laid last month in connection with alleged sex offences which occurred between 2000 and this year.

Duffy also skipped Scotland to back-to-back world wheelchair curling championships in 2004 and 2005.

 

5 The news about Duffy had the Scottish curling community reeling just days after they’d been celebrating a new financial windfall.

ànil mungal photo Mike McEwen`s sharp play on the cashspiel circuit this year has made headlines.

UK Sport announced that they were giving the British national curling program a funding award of 2.3 million pounds (about C$4 million) to prepare the country’s curlers to compete at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The grant was double what British curling received from UK Sport in the four-year cycle that led up to Vancouver and is further evidence of how hard the rest of the world is working to catch up to Canada in curling.

 

6 Actually, they only need to catch up to us in men’s curling.

According to the world curling rankings released last week by the World Curling Federation, Sweden once again this year ranked first in women’s curling, followed by Canada, China, Switzerland and Denmark.

We’re still top dog in men’s curling however, followed by Norway, Scotland, Switzerland and the U.S.

 

7 Speaking of the Olympics, there is still apparently some hard feelings among Canadian curling types that Vancouver organizers jammed the curling event into a tiny venue for the 2010 Games.

The Canadian Curling Association had argued, rightly, that they could have filled a hockey arena for Olympic curling in Canada, but organizers jammed it instead into a tiny venue called the Vancouver Olympic Centre that held only 5,600 spectators.

That curling venue has since been broken up into a curling club, library, pool and skating rink and is unusable as a major curling venue again.

But Vancouver types have talked about putting in a bid to host the 2013 men’s world curling championship at the Richmond Oval, which was used for speedskating during the Games but is now a rec centre.

Good luck with that. Warren Hansen, the director of events for the CCA, told Vancouver media that the suitability of the oval for curling is a question mark.

And then he aimed an ‘I-told-you-so’ at Vancouver Games organizers.

“They didn’t build a curling facility,” Hansen said. “They built a community centre and converted it into a curling facility for two weeks of the Olympics. If that makes any sense to anybody.”

 

8 And finally on the Olympic curling beat, the WCF gave thumbs up last week to Gangneung as the proposed curling venue should South Korea successfully land the 2018 Winter Games.

The Gangneung International Ice Rink previously held the 2009 women’s world curling championship.

Pyeongchang, South Korea, a winter resort about 180 kilometres east of Seoul, is competing against Munich, Germany, and Annecy, France for the 2018 Winter Games. The winner will be announced next July.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Paul Wiecek

Paul Wiecek
Reporter (retired)

Paul Wiecek was born and raised in Winnipeg’s North End and delivered the Free Press -- 53 papers, Machray Avenue, between Main and Salter Streets -- long before he was first hired as a Free Press reporter in 1989.

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