Don Landry

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Don Landry is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports.

  • Kevin Martin's retirement marks the end of an inimitable playing career. (CP)

    What an incredible, outlandish season. Packed with memorable on-ice action, the curling landscape was also filled with off-ice intrigue. Here are my top ten Canadian curling stories of the year.

    10. This means war. OCA and CCA clash

    An ugly, ugly war has been waged between the Canadian Curling Association and the Ontario Curling Association and its effects might very well lead to a wholesale restructuring of the OCA or, at least, changes at the top. Many Ontario curlers are incensed at the way their federation has gone about their business, stemming from the CCA's demanding of an apology from its provincial counterpart over comments in what became a leaked internal memo. In a soap opera rife with name-calling, secrecy, ousters and angry meetings, the last chapter has yet to be written, with a special meeting coming up this Sunday, April 27th. Curling journalist Bob Weeks has been all over this story from the outset and you can find a number of very intriguing columns on the matter

    Read More »from Canadian Curling’s 2013-2014 season: Top 10 stories
  • Wayne Middaugh slides off into the competitive curling sunset

    As pebbled ice surfaces at curling clubs all over the land are being broken up and shovelled out the back door, things are settling down in the world of men's curling, with new rosters being finalized and plans being made for next season and beyond.

    For many, that means mapping out strategies that arc all the way to the 2017 Canadian Olympic Trials and a shot at representing the nation at the 2018 Games.

    For others, it means backing off on the grind of elite level competition. Some, like Kevin Martin, leave the game completely.

    For 46 year old Wayne Middaugh, it comes in the form of a semi-retirement. Or, perhaps more accurately, mostly-retirement.

    It was already known that the three-time world champion (at three different positions, no less) was leaving Team Glenn Howard. What wasn't positively known was whether Middaugh would decide to curl full-time with someone else or, instead, lean his broom in a corner of the basement, permanently.

    Now we know. Middaugh is stepping away from

    Read More »from Wayne Middaugh slides off into the competitive curling sunset
  • John Morris, seen in British Columbia colours at the 2014 Brier, is back in Alberta. (CP)

    Well, that didn't last long, did it?

    John Morris, who announced just a few weeks ago that he was leaving his British Columbia team in order to step back from curling for awhile, has already announced his return to the game.

    Morris, who skipped a B.C. based team featuring Jim Cotter, Tyrel Griffith and Rick Sawatsky in 2013-14, is the new skip of Team Canada, the team that returns to The Brier in 2015 as defending champs. While former skip Kevin Koe left that team to form a new squad, the remaining team members - Nolan Thiessen, Carter Rycroft and Pat Simmons - retained Team Canada status as long as the three of them confirmed that they would be part of the team.

    Now, with Morris, the rink is rounded out and ready to defend.

    This announcement answers, really, the last big question regarding men's rosters looking ahead to the 2014-15 season. It puts pretty much a capper on a torrent of change that had swept through Canadian men's curling since March, when the rumours of changes to the

    Read More »from John Morris reconsiders his curling sabbatical: Joins reigning Brier champions in Alberta
  • Mark Nichols at the 2011 Brier. (CP)

    When news of the break up of Jeff Stoughton's team came to light last month, there was immediate - and very strong - speculation that the team's lead/second, Mark Nichols, would return to his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador to reunite with his old skip, Brad Gushue.

    That reunion has come to pass, with Gushue making the announcement, Monday, on his team's Facebook page:

    "I am very pleased to announce the return of Mark Nichols to our team. It will be great to be teammates once again, as Mark brings experience and talent that will certainly benefit our team as a whole."

    Now, the tandem that formed half of Canada's gold medal Olympic team in 2006 (Russ Howard and Jamie Korab rounded out the team, while Mike Adam was the alternate) is back together, as Nichols returns to throw third stones for the skip he played for from 1998 - 2011. Nichols stepped back from the game at that time, and re-emerged a year later, out West.

    Together, Gushue and Nichols were part of teams that won

    Read More »from Brad Gushue reunites with Mark Nichols: Can they repeat their golden performance?
  • Guessing game over: Kevin Martin announces retirement, future plans

    Kevin Martin announces his retirement during Sportsnet's broadcast of The Players' Championship on Friday night. (SN)

    Forget about a victory lap for Kevin Martin next season. One of the greatest skips to ever slide out of a hack is ending his career.

    After a legendary 27 year curling career, the future hall of famer has announced that this is, indeed his last season as a player. His immediate future is now crystal clear as he plays his last tournament at The Players' Championship, in Summerside, Prince Edward Island.

    Speaking to Rob Faulds during Friday nights Sportsnet broadcast of Players' Championship action, the 47 year old announced that he will hang up his curling shoes and join Sportsnet as an analyst. As well, Martin will take on a role with that network's Grand Slam Of Curling, which will grow from four to five events next season.

    Martin's future had been unclear over the last few weeks ever since the news was leaked that two of his current teammates, Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert, were joining forces with Kevin Koe for the 2014-15 season. With team vice Dave Nedohin almost certain to be

    Read More »from Guessing game over: Kevin Martin announces retirement, future plans
  • Jeff Stoughton plays on: New team for 2014-15 includes Rob Fowler

    Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton no longer stands alone. (CP)

    We're getting closer and closer to this curling shuffle coming to an end.

    With Jeff Stoughton apparently settling on a new team for next season, there aren't too many cards left in the deck to be dealt, when it comes to men's teams.

    As Paul Wiecek reports in the Winnipeg Free Press, Stoughton - who'd been stung by the announcement of the splintering of his current team just a few weeks ago - has put together a rink for the 2014-15 season, although the formal announcement has not yet been made.

    There'd been speculation, lately, that Stoughton would be reuniting with a former teammate of his, Rob Fowler and that does seem to be the case, according to Wiecek:

    Sources told the Free Press Wednesday morning that Stoughton -- an 11-time Manitoba men’s champion -- has assembled a new foursome for next winter that would see Brandon’s Rob Fowler join him at third, with Alex Forrest at second and Connor Njegovan at lead.

    Forrest and Njegovan curled most recently with Willie Lyburn, where

    Read More »from Jeff Stoughton plays on: New team for 2014-15 includes Rob Fowler
  • Kevin Martin may be playing in his last major event this week at The Players' Championship. (CP)

    Sometimes, you just don't get the ending you'd like.

    I'm not sure what ending Kevin Martin - legendary skip, world and Olympic champion - prefers.

    I just know the one I want for him. It's not one final Grand Slam appearance and a retirement media conference in May.

    In a perfect curling world, The Bear would play one more season and be celebrated at event after event after event, taking in the well-deserved applause of curling fans across the country, in a one year victory lap.

    To cap it, one more appearance at a Brier, where he could stand, in Alberta colours, with a big crowd at Calgary's Saddledome rising to salute him as he raises his broom in appreciation of a lengthy standing ovation, one that includes the other teams on the ice at the time.

    Like another Edmonton sports hero, Ryan Smyth, Kevin Martin deserves that choke-you-up moment. I'd like that for him.

    We can guarantee it, too, minus the Alberta colours, with one little announcement:

    That Kevin Martin is joining Pat Simmons,

    Read More »from Kevin Martin at The Players’ Championship: This shouldn’t be his last hurrah
  • Jennifer Jones’ Olympic gold medal team taking aim at repeat in 2018

    Team Jones (L to R): Jennifer Jones, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer and Dawn McEwen.

    What a breath of fresh air. What a nice change from the last few weeks of splintering curling teams all across Canada announcing their break-ups.

    Just as the season-ending Players' Championship in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, gets underway, Jennifer Jones and her team have provided Canadian curling fans with some good news.

    It's called stability.

    Two months removed from a perfect run to gold at Sochi, Team Jennifer Jones has announced that they will be staying together. Not just for next year, but for another four years, at least, as they set their sights on an Olympic repeat in South Korea, in 2018.

    “We are excited to officially announce that our team is fully committed to staying together and working hard to get another chance to represent Canada at the Olympics,” said Jones in a media

    Read More »from Jennifer Jones’ Olympic gold medal team taking aim at repeat in 2018
  • Richard Hart rejoins Glenn Howard: Rekindling a passion for curling

    Rich Hart and Glenn Howard at the 2011 Brier. (CP)

    Rich Hart knew full well the irony of his statement, which was delivered with a bit of a chuckle as a punctuation mark.

    “With all these team changes there’s going to be plenty to talk about, that’s for sure," he said.

    Hart was commenting on his assignment this week, where he will serve as part of the broadcast team for Sportsnet's coverage of The Players' Championship, in Summerside, Prince Edward Island.

    On a number of occasions, he will be gazing down at his old friend and one-time curling compatriot, Glenn Howard, knowing - as we all do now - that they will be reunited again for next season's schedule. Perhaps beyond that, too.

    With a one year agreement in place (and an option for a second), the 45 year-old retired world champion curler will come off the media bench and play vice for Howard in 2014-15. The two of them will look to recapture the magic they displayed over the course of eleven years together (6 provincial championships, 8 Grand Slams, a Brier and World Championship)

    Read More »from Richard Hart rejoins Glenn Howard: Rekindling a passion for curling
  • Glenn Howard’s revamped curling team features Richard Hart, Jon Mead

    Together again. (From left to right) Rich Hart, Glenn Howard and Craig Savill celebrate a playoff win at The 2011 Brier. (CP)

    In this, Canadian curling's dizzying spring of change, the migrations continue, with big names changing teams, some changing provinces and in the case of some others, changing their minds.

    While Ontario skip Glenn Howard sees two of his teammates going out the door, he welcomes back another - Rich Hart - who returns to try and rekindle the glories the two shared over so many seasons.

    “We’re ready to go," said Howard over the phone from his home, Sunday night. "I’m super excited."

    Howard will be reunited with his longtime vice when the 2014-15 season begins next fall, with Hart replacing Wayne Middaugh. Another very familiar face to curling fans, one belonging to veteran Jon Mead, will also grace the revamped Howard Four line-up next season, playing the second position.

    While Craig Savill will continue to man the lead spot for Howard, the re-addition of Hart at vice signals the end of the road for Middaugh, the man who replaced Hart when the latter retired after the 2010-11 season.

    Read More »from Glenn Howard’s revamped curling team features Richard Hart, Jon Mead

Pagination

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