Don Landry

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Don Landry is a blogger for Yahoo Canada Sports.

  • Five lessons the 2015 Pan Am Games have taught us

    (Ezra Shaw - Getty Images)(Ezra Shaw - Getty Images)

    1) Geese like to play chicken.

    The water skiing competition had to be stopped for a time simply because the Canada Geese that were sunning themselves on the course near Ontario Place would not get out of the way. Well, they did get out of the way whenever someone like Chile's Felipe Miranda (pictured above) was roaring past them. But only just as they were roaring past them. Geese are more bold now, more cocky. It's like they know their protected status means we can't do a thing to them. Soon they'll be tossing empty beer cans on our lawns and giving us the feather as they fly by.

    2) Oh Kanye-da. Mr. Kardashian is a trifle polarizing.

    Hoo, boy. What makes a Canadian angry? Bank service charges. Igloo jokes. An empty tray where chocolate glazed Timbits are supposed to be. And an American headlining the closing ceremonies at the Pan Am Games, apparently. How many petitions against Kanye West's appearance did we end up with? I think we even had new petitions springing up, decrying the

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  • Team Mike McEwen adds a veteran presence: Jon Mead climbs aboard

    Jon Mead delivers a stone at the 2014 National, in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)Jon Mead delivers a stone at the 2014 National, in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)

    Hot on the heels of Craig Savill's announcement that he would be curling for a Nova Scotia team this season, comes the revelation that Savill's 2014-15 teammate with Glenn Howard's foursome, Jon Mead, has landed a casual role with a new team of his own.

    And it's no small potatoes.

    Mead will return to curling in his home province of Manitoba, as a member of last season's juggernaut (mostly) Team Mike McEwen.

    "Mentor, manager, coach, fifth man, all wrapped up into one,” McEwen told Curling Canada's Al Cameron, describing Mead's part-time role with the rink, which ran up an unconscious record of 73 wins and 11 losses last season, winning most everything in sight, except for their long sought-after berth in a Brier.

    Mead, the six-time Manitoba champion (and two-time Brier, one-time World Champ) heads back to his provincial roots after spending last season with Team Howard. However,  when Howard decided to invite his son, Scott, as well as Wayne Middaugh to join he and Rich Hart for the

    Read More »from Team Mike McEwen adds a veteran presence: Jon Mead climbs aboard
  • Craig Savill (L) laughs it up with E.J. Harnden at The National in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, in 2014. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)Craig Savill (L) laughs it up with E.J. Harnden at The National in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, in 2014. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)

    A formidable men's curling force is brewing in Nova Scotia, with a little help from Ontario.

    The province - which missed The Brier for the first time ever in 2014 - has a new team forming; one that aims to get the Bluenosers back in the Brier battle, in time for one of its players to realize a lifelong dream of playing for a men's national championship in his hometown.

    That player is Ottawa's Craig Savill, who, up until the end of this past season, was a long-time member of the Glenn Howard Four, playing lead on the perennial Ontario championship team for ten seasons, before being informed he was being let go as the year drew to a close.

    Savill announced, today, that he is joining forces with 2004 Brier champion skip Mark Dacey, four-time Brier skip Shawn Adams and Andrew Gibson, lead for Dacey at three different Briers. They aim to get those navy and white provincial jerseys back on Brier ice, in Ottawa, in 2016.

    It's a line-up that bolsters the fortunes for all four men and Nova

    Read More »from Nova Scotia's Brier hopes bolstered; Craig Savill heads east to join Mark Dacey, Shawn Adams and Andrew Gibson
  • Curling Canada shakes up Brier, Scotties formats again

    2015, Calgary Ab, Tim Hortons Brier, Team Canada skip John Morris, lead Nolan Thiessen, Curling Canada/michael burns photo2015, Calgary Ab, Tim Hortons Brier, Team Canada skip John Morris, lead Nolan Thiessen, Curling Canada/michael burns photo

    Relegation is being relegated. Residency rules are changing.

    In a couple of rather large announcements coming at the conclusion of their annual summit (held this year in Collingwood, Ontario), Curling Canada says it is making changes to the way The Scotties and Brier will be contested in the future, beginning in 2018.

    It means the widely panned relegation system (what Curling Canada refers to as "pre-qualifying"), introduced this past season, will be punted in favour of a field that includes teams from all 14 member associations (all the provinces and territories, including two teams from Ontario).

    As well, each of the competing teams will be allowed to have one player from outside their province or territory on the roster, which might be Curling Canada's way with dealing with a problem that had been plaguing the sport for some years, now, by merely allowing it to happen under new rules.

    First, the removal of pre-qualifying:

    This will mean no mini-tournament before The Scotties and

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  • Kalynn Park and Charley Thomas compete for Canada at the 2015 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship. (Curling Canada)Kalynn Park and Charley Thomas compete for Canada at the 2015 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship. (Curling Canada)

    At first blush, adding a new curling event to the Olympics would seem to be something that would have Canadians automatically adding another medal to the nation's potential haul.

    Look, again, though.

    The announcement that mixed doubles curling is being included in the 2018 games in South Korea, does not necessarily mean the world's great curling powerhouse will easily nab a shiny bauble at Pyeongchang.

    The International Olympic Committee has green-lighted mixed doubles curling along with new events in three other disciplines - A "big air" event in snowboarding, a mass start event in speed skating and a team event in skiing.

    With Canada's dominance in Olympic curling over the last three games (double gold in 2014, gold and silver in 2010 and gold and bronze in 2006) it would be only natural to assume that the same kind of success should easily extend to a new curling event.

    However, the history of mixed doubles curling - a game where one man and one woman form a complete team and where

    Read More »from Mixed doubles curling added to the Olympics. Will Canada now take the game seriously?
  • Canadian women's soccer team captain Christine Sinclair, left, and goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc show off their bronze medals from the London Olympics upon arrival from London at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., on August 13, 2012. Veteran Canadian goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc says she will retire from international soccer after the Women's World Cup. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl DyckCanadian women's soccer team captain Christine Sinclair, left, and goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc show off their bronze medals from the London Olympics upon arrival from London at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., on August 13, 2012. Veteran Canadian goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc says she will retire from international soccer after the Women's World Cup. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
    Look. Whatever works.

    That's the conclusion I think we can all come to upon hearing that the Canadian National Women's Soccer team uses Celine Dion's version of "The Power Of Love" as their inspirational post-game song after every match.

    Must admit, though, when I was tasked with writing a column on this topic, I was a little more jazzed up, originally. That's because the email I received from our esteemed leader, Steve McAllister, merely mentioned the title of the song. I immediately thought: "Alright, I love that song!"

    In fact, "Power Of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News is one of my very favourite songs of the 1980's. It ain't that "Power Of Love," though. Too bad. Had a great idea for a video where that song is playing, a DeLorean races up to Commonwealth Stadium, in Edmonton, and out piles the entire women's team, set for business. Maybe eve a cameo from Michael J. Fox at the end. Or Crispin Glover, I don't know.

    Ah well.

    In answering one of "Twenty Questions" put to her by

    Read More »from Canadian Women's Soccer Team gets a little inspiration from Celine Dion
  • 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

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  • 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

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