Don Landry

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Don Landry is a blogger for Yahoo Canada Sports.

  • Curling Canada's CEO announces his departure. What's next?

    Greg Stremlaw is leaving his post as Curling Canada's CEO. (Curling Canada)Greg Stremlaw is leaving his post as Curling Canada's CEO. (Curling Canada)
    Curling Canada is looking for a new leader.

    With the announcement that the organization's Chief Executive Officer of eight years, Greg Stremlaw, is leaving, the sport's national governing body has a big chair to fill. The most suitable candidate might be someone who was considered right for the job when Stremlaw was hired in 2007.

    Disciplined, effective, at times brash and - to some - a royal pain in the keister - Stremlaw's time at the helm of what was known as the Canadian Curling Association until earlier this year has been marked with a litany of successes as well as no shortage of controversy.

    It's true that Curling Canada is in a very decent position right now, with Stremlaw's leadership being integral to those successes. Most of those corporate wins are listed in the media release and include the most important of all; a move from in-the-red finances to what Curling Canada now claims is a "multi-million dollar surplus and long-term financial reserve."

    “This is simply the right

    Read More »from Curling Canada's CEO announces his departure. What's next?
  • Skip Val Sweeting (L) and her teammates Rachelle Brown, Lori Olson-Johns and Dana Ferguson had an interesting year. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)Skip Val Sweeting (L) and her teammates Rachelle Brown, Lori Olson-Johns and Dana Ferguson had an interesting year. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

    Well, that was eventful. 

    The 2014-15 Canadian curling season has drawn to a close - apologies to those of you who are still duking it out in your club championships - so it is time to take stock of a year jammed with interesting stories. Tough to whittle 'em down, but here are my choices for top ten stories of the year.

    And, as we say at the end of a long curling season: Good golfing. 

    10. TEAM HOWARD BOUNCED FROM ONTARIO PLAYDOWNS

    Last season's loss in the final of the Ontario Tankard was surprise enough. This season's elimination during the province's playdowns? A shocker for Team Glenn Howard. Bumped during regionals, Howard and his team decided to ditch an invitation to The Skins Game so they could take one more crack at getting to the provincial championship through the last chance 'challenge round.' They lost there, too. Some had no sympathy given that one of the tour's top teams wouldn't even make an appearance at The Tankard. Others, like me, believe it shone a light on

    Read More »from Retirements, relegation, rejuvenation. Canadian curling's top 10 stories of 2014-15
  • Grand Slam of Curling: Can Toronto become a lynchpin destination?

    The Mattamy Athletic Centre - formerly Maple Leaf Gardens - has hosted two Players' Championshps in three seasons. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)The Mattamy Athletic Centre - formerly Maple Leaf Gardens - has hosted two Players' Championshps in three seasons. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)

    The Players' Championship just might have found a permanent home in Toronto.

    “I think it’s a good possibility,” said Pierre Charette, a few hours after Brad Jacobs and Eve Muirhead had skipped their teams to titles at what used to be Maple Leaf Gardens.

    Charette, president of the World Competitive Curlers Association, had just been asked whether the city might become a permanent, yearly stop on the Pinty's Grand Slam circuit.

    There has been no announcement along those lines, but it will not be a surprise if Toronto becomes a featured destination on the tour, be it as the ongoing home of the Players' or of a new event being introduced next season, the year-ending Champions Cup.

    Flush with the success of this year's Players', Charette, for one, is intent on making it a curling fan's travel destination, along the lines of yearly Brier and Scotties sabbaticals.

    “We’re just touching the tip of the iceberg here,” said Charette, enthused by the increased crowd numbers coming through the

    Read More »from Grand Slam of Curling: Can Toronto become a lynchpin destination?
  • Team Jacobs with the prize after their win at the 2015 Players' Championship, in Toronto. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)Team Jacobs with the prize after their win at the 2015 Players' Championship, in Toronto. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)

    This is the way it's going to be between these two.

    Scratching, clawing.  Every inch a battle. Every inch counting. Every lost inch hurting.

    So it is that a slightly overcooked stone gave Team Brad Jacobs its first ever Pinty's Grand Slam of Curling victory, a 4-3 win over Team Mike McEwen at the season-ending Players' Championship, in Toronto.

    With their own rock just off the side of the button and a guard at the top of the twelve foot, Jacobs and teammates E.J and Ryan Harnden and Ryan Fry could only watch as the skip of the season's hottest team released a less than perfect, final, throw in the decisive eighth end.

    McEwen's sweepers - Matt Wozniak and Denni Neufeld - jumped on it right away. Stayed on it, too, just a little much. The stone they'd rescued with a good early batch of sweeping was then sent an inch or two too long, settling in the back four-foot and giving Jacobs the win.

    Seeking a 73rd win of the season and an off-season perch as the top men's team on the planet,

    Read More »from Grand Slam of Curling: Jacobs, Muirhead steal Players' Championship titles
  • Norwegian skip Thomas Ulsrud ended the 2015 World Men's Curling Championship in style. (TSN)Norwegian skip Thomas Ulsrud ended the 2015 World Men's Curling Championship in style. (TSN)

    Thomas Ulsrud and his Norwegian curling crew are known for two things.

    One, they're damn fine curlers. Two, they are flamboyant, friendly and wearers of the craziest curling pants you've ever seen.

    Ulsrud, who won the world championship a year ago, added to his legend with a good-natured final shot at this year's final. Trailing Sweden's Niklas Edin by a score of 9-5 in the ninth end, Ulsrud and his teammates decided to concede the victory to the Swedes, not an uncommon practice in the sport of curling.

    READ ABOUT SWEDEN'S WIN, CANADA'S BRONZE HERE.

    Always ready for some fun and entertainment, Ulsrud delivered his final stone in a way that had many curling fans saying: "I've never seen that before."  Have a look at this video from the World Curling Federation's website: 

     (To see an alternate version of the shot, from TSN's website, click here)

    Ulsrud's gesture of good sportsmanship and fun garnered him a lot of love on Twitter:

    Read More »from Like a rolling stone; Thomas Ulsrud's trick shot at The Worlds adds to Norwegian skip's legend (video)
  • Sweden skip Niklas Edin celebrates their victory over Norway in the men's world curling championships gold medal game in Halifax on Sunday, April 5, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew VaughanSweden skip Niklas Edin celebrates their victory over Norway in the men's world curling championships gold medal game in Halifax on Sunday, April 5, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

    It was a blowout. It wasn't a blowout. Then, again, it was.

    In a game that started out as crazy as the 'DoodleArt' pants the Norwegians were wearing, Team Sweden gathered three-enders the way kids grab Easter eggs, on the way to a 9-5 win over Thomas Ulsrud and his defending champion rink from Oslo.

    A steal of three for Sweden in the first, a steal of two for Norway in the third... that's just not what you'd call normal in a world championship men's curling game. That's precisely what happened, however, as the Swedes saw their early advantage evaporate, before scoring three-balls in the fifth and seventh ends to pull away for good.

    When Norway, down 9-4 after seven, was forced to a single in the eighth, you knew the game was essentially over. It ended, officially, when the delightfully entertaining Ulsrud slid out for his last shot in the ninth, dropped his broom, turned the rock on its side and rolled it down the ice, to the delight of the crowd in Halifax. (Click here to see it)

    It

    Read More »from World Men's Curling Championship: Sweden crushes Norway for gold, Canada rebounds for bronze
  •  

    Sweden's Oskar Eriksson (L) and Niklas Edin breezed by Canada and into the World Men's Curling Championship final. (Curling Canada/MichaelBurns photo)Sweden's Oskar Eriksson (L) and Niklas Edin breezed by Canada and into the World Men's Curling Championship final. (Curling Canada/MichaelBurns photo)
    Norway meets Sweden in the title game at the 2015 World Men's Curling Championship, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Sunday (3pm ET, on TSN).

    The Norwegians, skipped by Thomas Ulsrud, will be trying to win their second consecutive world championship, after winning gold in Beijing in 2014. Sweden, now skipped by 2013 world champion Niklas Edin, is comprised of three players that met Ulsrud's team in last year's final, when current third Oskar Eriksson was the skip.

    These are a couple of sizzling teams. Sweden will try to close out the worlds with a ninth straight win, while the Norwegians are are looking for an eleventh straight win at this competition.

    Who's hotter? The numbers will provide some answers. As you'll see, there's some pretty astounding stuff.

    Here is a comparative breakdown of the teams ahead of the championship game:

    Ulsrud led his team to top spot in the round robin portion of the tournament, with a 10 and 1 win/loss record and then beating Canada in the 1 vs 2 game, 7-6, on

    Read More »from 2015 World Men's Curling Championship: Norway vs Sweden tale of the tape
  • Jean-Michel Ménard in action at the 2015 Brier, in Calgary. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)Jean-Michel Ménard in action at the 2015 Brier, in Calgary. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)

    Jean-Michel Ménard has set tongues wagging in the world of Canadian curling, with a little literary strafing run at The Brier.

    Strafing run might be a bit much, actually. His column on changes at the national men's curling championship reads more like a rueful walk down memory lane. However tame his intentions may or may not have been, Ménard's open letter to The Brier is being met with some pretty stern disappointment from the body that runs it - Curling Canada - and it's Chief Executive Officer, Greg Stremlaw.

    "I think an overall reaction to Mr. Menard’s blog would be one of disappointment," wrote Stremlaw, in an e-mail, before proceeding to take on that blog in greater detail.

    In a post on the "In The House" website, the 2006 Brier champ lays out concerns that he, as a player, has over some alterations instituted over the past few years.

    Lamenting the loss of a laundry list of items, Ménard points out that things just ain't the same as they used to be for Brier competitors. Fewer

    Read More »from Jean-Michel Ménard airs concerns over changes in player treatment at The Brier; Curling Canada fires back
  • Could a granite shortage endanger the sport of curling?Could a granite shortage endanger the sport of curling?

    April 1st has become a far-reaching bit of mischief in this modern world of electronic tentacles.

    What used to be the sole domain of radio morning show hosts, newspapers and television news shows is now a game anyone with a laptop and a twitter account can play. Pranking the world might not be exactly what Marshall McLuhan had in mind but, nevertheless, here we are.

    Fans of the game of curling got into the spirit on this day of wool and pulling and covering of eyes and such.

    A ban on the sport by Wisconsin Republicans is one of my favourites from today (although, generally speaking, there are a few juicy headlines I'd like to have seen but did not. You can read them, below).

    A blog page called "The Progressive Midwesterner," penned by Aaron Camp, carried this headline today:

    WISCONSIN REPUBLICANS MOVE TO BAN CURLING IN WISCONSIN

     

    Wait, what?

    In his post, Camp - who describes his views as "very progressive" - lampoons Republicans as wanting to ban curling in the state because “the

    Read More »from Ban curling? Run out of stones? April 1st in the world of the roaring game
  • Glenn Howard, seen shooting at the 2014 Canadian Open, has made the decision to part ways with Jon Mead (L) and Craig Savill (R). (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)Glenn Howard, seen shooting at the 2014 Canadian Open, has made the decision to part ways with Jon Mead (L) and Craig Savill (R). (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)

    Father and son will try, together, to get to the top of the curling world.

    Scott Howard is joining Team Glenn Howard next season as part of a team shake up announced by the skip, today. He'll be the team's new lead, replacing Craig Savill.

    "Obviously, it's been a bit of a dream for myself and my son to play together and I've realized that that's my biggest priority," said Howard. "To finish my career with my son."

    It's not the only move, either. Wayne Middaugh, who semi-retired from the game this season will be back as Howard's vice in 2015-16, while current vice Rich Hart steps into the second position.

    They are moves that leave Howard with mixed emotions. The happiness of taking on the elite teams of the curling world along with his 24 year old son is tempered with the sadness of saying goodbye to friends Savill and Jon Mead. Mead had joined the team this season. Savill, of course, has been throwing lead stones for Howard since 2004, winning 8 provincial championships, two Briers

    Read More »from Glenn Howard shakes up his team; Jon Mead and Craig Savill are out, son Scott and Wayne Middaugh are in

Pagination

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