Friday, March 30, 2012

Curling on TV: World Men's Curling Championship

More? You still want more? The last big event of the season is on tv starting this weekend - it's World Men's Curling time!!

The event is taking place in Basel, Switzerland from March 31 - April 8. Yes folks, that's quite the time change!

Here are the teams:
Switzerland - Jan Hauser
Canada - Glenn Howard
China - Rui Liu
New Zealand - Peter de Boer
Norway - Thomas Ulsrud
Sweden -Sebastian Kraupp/Niklas Edin*
Denmark - Rasmus Stjerne
Czech Republic - Jiří Snítil
Scotland - Tom Brewster
Germany - John Jahr
France - Thomas Dufour
USA - Heath McCormick

*Edin has a hurt back, it's not known if/when he'll play.

Here's the draw and TSN coverage:

The * means it's streamed on TSN, and they're only showing the Bronze game if Canada is in it.

More web/tv coverage information for both North American and International broadcasts are available from the World Curling Federation. You can follow along via the event website/facebook page, or TSN curling/facebook page. And there are a lot of curlers/coaches etc on twitter now - did you know they opened the event with a parade? No? Sign up for twitter and I'll tell you who to follow!

Obviously I'm picking Canada to win. Howard can do it. I want to see a Canada/Pants final!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Curling on TV: Women's Worlds

More curling on tv! This time it's the World Women's Curling Championship, held in Lethbridge Alberta from March 17-25.

So close, yet so far. It's in my province, only 5 hours away. Yes, we drove 5 hours a couple weekends ago to go to the Brier in Saskatoon, but alas, Lethbridge just isn't meant to be. Fortunately, TSN is showing the Team Canada games and the finals!

Check out the draw schedule, and tv times (via their fancy new TSN Curling facebook page)

Saturday, March 17: Canada vs. USA - 9et / 6pt on (TSN)
Sunday, March 18: Canada vs. China - 11am et / 8am pt (TSN)
Sunday, March 18: Canada vs. Switzerland - 9:30et / 6:30pt (TSN)
Monday, March 19: Canada vs. Czech Republic - 4et / 1pt (TSN)
Monday, March 19: Canada vs. Denmark - 9et / 6pt (TSN)
Tuesday, March 20: Canada vs. Russia - 11am et / 8am pt (TSN)
Tuesday, March 20: Canada vs. Sweden - 10et / 7pt (TSN)
Wednesday, March 21: Canada vs. Korea - 11am et / 8am pt (TSN)
Wednesday, March 21: Canada vs. Germany - 4et / 1pt (TSN)
Thursday, March 22: Canada vs. Italy - 11am et / 8am pt (TSN)
Thursday, March 22: Canada vs. Scotland - 9et / 6pt (TSN)
Friday, March 23: Page Playoff - 9et / 6pt (TSN)
Saturday, March 24: Page Playoff - 3et / 12pt (TSN)
Saturday, March 24: Semifinal - 8et / 5pt (TSN)
Sunday, March 25: Bronze Medal - 11am et / 8am pt (TSN2)
Sunday, March 25: Gold Medal - 6:30et / 3:30pt (TSN)

All draws are available live on TSN Mobile TV which is only available on Bell (boo!). I assume they'll be VOD online after the game is over, no word on if the weekday games will be streamed like the Scotties/Brier were. Don't forget to follow via the TSN and Canadian Curling association apps and of course on twitter!

Here are the teams:
Canada: Heather "Sugarballs" Nedohin
China: Bingyu Wang
Czech Republic: Linda Klimova
Denmark: Lene Nielsen
Korea: Ji-Sun Kim
Switzerland: Mirijam Ott
Sweden: Margaretha Sigfridsson
Russia: Anna Sidorova
Scotland: Eve Muirhead
USA: Allison Pottinger
Italy: Diana Gaspari
Germany: Andrea Schopp Melanie Robillard - Andrea broke her leg last weekend! Yikes!

Who will win? Hmm. I suppose the favourite is Scotland. I reckon Canada will be in the mix though and I'll be cheering for our hometown ladies for sure!

Make your picks on the CCA's Pick'em site too. I was 445 for the Scotties, but came in tied for 3rd for the Brier!

And it anyone wants to drive down to Lethbridge this weekend, you've got 24hrs to let me know...

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

2012 Canadian Men's Curling Championship: Brier Roadtrip!

I had an awesome weekend - I went to the Brier!!

That's right, we drove 5 hrs, and a province/timezone away to go to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to watch the first three draws of the event on opening weekend!

I was up bright and early Saturday morning, and I mean really early, like 5am early. We picked up all of our Brier roadtrip friends, hit the McDonalds drivethru and were on the highway by 7am. The next stop was 2.5ish hrs down the highway in Lloydminster for second breakfast at McDonalds. It was afterall only 9:30am! Lloyd straddles the provincial line, and I got my first look at the Saskatchewan countryside in twenty years. It looks a lot like Alberta. Maybe a bit flatter. And the road signs are in a bigger font - so much easier for my old eyes to read!! It never did seem like a 5 hr drive - the company was good and the conversation interesting with doses of highlarity - can't ask for much more!

We arrived at the arena, which is right on the highway before you actually get to the centre of Saskatoon, at about 12:45pm, just in time to park (for free!!) and pick up and distribute all of our tickets before the draw started. At this point our party of 4 grew to 6 and then split up to watch the first draw, some in the corner, some in the balcony on the home end, some in a box on the away end. And, for the fourth weekend in a row, I ate arena food for lunch while I watched live curling.

And wow, it was awesome - I was at the Brier! I've seen a number of big events by now, but never a Brier. It was big and loud and exciting and full of good curling.

Pretty good view of synchronized skipping.

The Ontario Flag Man (I think his name is Jack?) - a Brier tradition. When he stood up to wave his flag, and then run up the stairs, only then did I really realize I was at the Brier.

The Green Men, trying to get the crowd to do the wave. There were a lot of people dressed up. And loud. I believe there was even some duelling cowbells. Fun times at the Brier.

After the first draw, we checked into our respective hotels etc. The only room I could find on such short notice (this scheme was only cooked up a week and a half before the Brier started - while sitting in the stands at the Scotties) that wasn't booked up or super expensive was at a clean, cheap and cheerful hostel/guest house near the university. It turned out to be perfect - in terms of location and simplicity and price. I was only there for like 9 hours so didn't need much, and appreciated the friendly owner and quiet atmosphere. I'd stay at the Inn on College again if I was passing through for sure!

After a group dinner at the super nice hotel where everyone else was staying (one day I will be a real adult and agree to pay for accommodation like that), we headed back to the arena for the evening draw. I watched a lot of games at the Scotties, so can say the Brier is bigger - size, crowd, noise, excitement. It was fun to take it all in (even if I did have a wee nap during the 4th end! Something about being awake at 5am...). Eventually I moved from my corner away end seat to my favourite viewing position - high centre.

It was weird watching and not volunteering. I missed volunteering actually. There's something to be said for being part of a big team. Everyone at curling events is super friendly, but moreso I think if you're a volunteer. I was so lucky to be able to attend this event, and I'll likely go to more opening weekends of events nearby in the future - but I'll always volunteer when curling comes closer to home.

More synchronized skipping.

And now for some synchronized delivering.

I moved to the home end for a bit, and managed to catch more skip consistency.

Eventually I ended up high centre, my favourite spot. Object in frame are closer than they appear. I like being able to see both houses. You miss seeing the curl this way, but I like seeing the scoring better.

I got a bit of a burst of action on twitter when I tweet about how PEI swept lead stones from the same side (seriously, this is the Brier!) with their shirts untucked - in fact Scott Howard even send me a message! And that folks, is why twitter is awesome.

It was back to the hostel for the night - and then, bright and early, we were back at McDonalds for our third egg mcmuffin meal in 24 hrs (I love egg mcmuffins by the way, so it was a treat for sure!). We all sat together in the box one couple had seats in, as it was mostly empty of actual occupants, and settled in for another draw.

My favourite parts about watching live curling? First, the "choose your own seat" ability. Yes, you buy a ticket for wherever, but since the arena is never full no one really minds if you move around to whatever view you want. I'm sure this wont be the case final weekend, but opening weekend had real estate for any view. Second, I love listening to the commentary - via the FM signal on my phone from the TSN crew, and from whoever is sitting around me. I either learn lots or laugh lots so either way it's all good. Third is the ability to choose which of the four games on the ice you want to watch. I really miss this watching it on tv. Sure, it can be distracting, but once you pick your game and alternates and figure out the timing - well there's nothing better than watching four games of good shot making!

Morning box view. Comfy seats, but too much interference to get the FM signal working. Good thing the box was full of people with curling knowledge, and opinions.

We kept an eye on the Alberta boys - Team Koe. Let's hope they make it to the final!

This view was captioned as "An Alberta Conference Call."

After the draw we were back on the road - this time stopping for lunch in North Battleford, and for a snack in Lloydminster. Again, it was a long drive and we were a full and cramped car, but it went by quickly. Good company goes a long way!! The roads got snowy just outside of Edmonton, which was fortunate. I arrived back at my place at about 6pm, turned on the tv, and started watching the evening draw. Most of the way home I wanted to turn around and head back to Saskatoon to watch more live Brier.

I'll have to wait until 2013 when it comes to Edmonton I guess!

I actually ended up going out to spare in the evening, and then spent a good bit of time upstairs in the lounge afterwards enjoying more good company and highlarity.

Curling curling curling curling.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Curling on TV: 2012 Brier

Ready for more 3x a day curling on tv? It's Brier time!!

This year's Brier will run from March 3-11 and takes place in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I'll be watching as much from work as possible (shh, don't tell my boss!), but it looks like I'll probably only have time to watch the finals weekend games live.

Plus - I'm actually going to Saskatoon!! That's right, I'm hitching a ride on the curling train to take in the first three draws Saturday afternoon/evening and Sunday morning. That's 10hrs of driving for 12hrs of curling - crazy maybe but it'll be awesome. I'm going to the Brier!!

Here's the line up of teams:

Alberta: Kevin Koe
BC: Jim Cotter
Manitoba: Rob Fowler
New Brunswick: Terry Odishaw
Newfoundland & Labrador: Brad Gushue
Northwest Territories/Yukon: Jamie Koe
Nova Scotia: Jamie Murphy
Northern Ontario: Brad Jacobs
Ontario: Glenn Howard
PEI: Michael Gaudet
Quebec: Robert Dejardin
Saskatchewan: Scott Manners

I'll admit I don't know half the field, but the best bit about sport is it's unpredictable, so it should be an interesting week. Like most others, I'll predict a Howard/Koe final - and those are my favourite two teams so may the best team win!!

Check out the draw schedulescores/standings, and the follow TSN live broadcast schedule below (times ET).

There's also TSN's Mobile TV (Bell only, boo!) and on-demand at posted after the live television broadcast. also has live streaming of all weekday morning and afternoon draws beginning Monday, March 5 (shh, don't tell my boss!). There's also TSN and Canadian Curling association apps to download. And don't forget all the action on Twitter!

There are two specials being aired too. On Sunday, March 11, TSN will show a Championship Special at 7:30 p.m. (ET) just before the Final (8 p.m. ET). It will highlight the week and show behind the scenes something or other.

Also, a special documentary will air on TSN Sunday March 4 at 6:30 p.m. (ET). This 'Rockumentary' (ha ha) will follow Team Glenn Howard during the 2010-2011 season. Should be super interesting!

(More info is available on the Brier media release and the Rockumentary media release.)

Don't forget to play the CCA's Pick'em Challenge! I came in 445 (out of like 2000) in the Scotties Challenge, so hope to stay in the top 500 this time too.

It's going to be a great week - I'm so excited to go!!

(Want to watch still more curling? The World Junior's is going on right now - Team Canada happens to be comprised of both ladies and mens Team Albertas.  You can follow the live coverage on Youtube. I'll be cheering them on for sure.)