Don Landry

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Don Landry is a blogger for Yahoo Canada Sports.

  • Quebec skip Félix Asselin curls in a sling after suffering a ping-pong injury. (Curling Canada)Quebec skip Félix Asselin curls in a sling after suffering a ping-pong injury. (Curling Canada)

    Wait. What? Say that again?

    That might just be, of all the headlines I've ever written, my all-time favourite.

    In what will surely be one of the more memorable stories of the 2016 Canadian Junior Curling Championships, Quebec skip Félix Asselin led his team to an 10-9 win over New Brunswick on Thursday afternoon at the Stratford Rotary Complex in Stratford, Ontario.

    He did it a few hours after injuring himself - badly - in a ping-pong mishap.

    According to the story on Curling Canada's website, Asselin dislocated his shoulder while playing ping-pong at the team's hotel, on Wednesday night. That was either one really heavy ping-pong ball that hit him or one hell of a wicked smash he was attempting.

    “I’ve been playing (table tennis) every single day since we got here, and I was playing like I usually do,” Asselin told Curling Canada's Al Cameron. “Somehow it just happened. I went for a forehand and somehow it popped out.”

    According to Cameron's story, the 21-year-old Asselin wore a sling

    Read More »from Junior curler dislocates shoulder playing ping-pong. Curls in a sling, rallies from 6-1 deficit to win
  • Nova Scotia junior skip throws a smooth stone, plays a mean piano

    Nova Scotia junior skip Mary Fay keeps her eyes on a shot during the 2016 Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Stratford, Ontario. (Curling Canada)Nova Scotia junior skip Mary Fay keeps her eyes on a shot during the 2016 Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Stratford, Ontario. (Curling Canada)

    A lot of people say a lot of nice things about 17-year-old Nova Scotia skip Mary Fay.

    "She could be a Rhodes Scholar someday," said one observer this week at the Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Stratford, Ontario. "She's like a concert-level pianist," said another. "She could probably win the Nova Scotia Women's Championship right now," said someone else. "Well, she's the next one," said yet another, referring to Fay's obvious curling talents and bright future in the sport.

    A straight 'A' student and a level 9 Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) pianist, Fay is trying to skip her home province to its first national junior championship since Jill Mouzar did it in 2004. So far, so good. Heading into Thursday night's draw, Fay and her teammates found themselves tied for top spot (with British Columbia) with a record of 7 and 1, with Fay being outshot by the opposing skip, percentage-wise, just once in those eight games.

    Regardless of this week's outcome, Fay will then head to

    Read More »from Nova Scotia junior skip throws a smooth stone, plays a mean piano
  • Members of the Nunavut Junior Men's curling team pose behind the scoreboard after their first ever win at a national championship. (L to R): Qamaniq Siksik, Tyson Komaksiutiksak, Javen Komaksiutiksak, Ryan Aggark and coach Sean Turriff. (Al Cameron/Curling Canada)Members of the Nunavut Junior Men's curling team pose behind the scoreboard after their first ever win at a national championship. (L to R): Qamaniq Siksik, Tyson Komaksiutiksak, Javen Komaksiutiksak, Ryan Aggark and coach Sean Turriff. (Al Cameron/Curling Canada)

    Well there's no stopping them now.

    On Tuesday night at the Canadian Junior Curling Championships, the women's team from Nunavut ended the territory's combined (both men and women) losing streak at 64 games, scoring Nunavut's first ever victory at the tournament. Less than 24 hours after that, the junior men's team, skipped by 20-year-old Qamaniq (pronounced COM-uh-nick) Siksik, got their maiden victory, scoring a nervous 9-6 decision over Northwest Territories.

    “It... It’s... It’s the best," said an obviously happy and relieved Siksik, overcome by the removal of a heavy weight from his shoulders. "I don’t know. I don’t know what to say.”

    Siksik had played with the team in 2013 and 2014 and had suffered through six straight losses at this year's event, meaning he'd been a part of 24 of the team's 33 straight defeats. This year's losses include a 23-1 decision to Alberta, an 18-1 decision against Nova Scotia and a 33-1 (yes, 33-1) loss to Manitoba in the opening draw.

    On Wednesday

    Read More »from Nunavut junior men's curling team rebounds from lopsided losses, ending 33 game losing streak
  • Junior women's curling team ends Nunavut's 64 game losing streak

    The Nunavut junior women's curling team scored an historic win in Stratford, Ontario. (L to R): Sadie Pinksen, Christianne West, Kaitlin MacDonald, Melicia Elizaga and coach Donald Mattie. (Al Cameron/Curling Canada)The Nunavut junior women's curling team scored an historic win in Stratford, Ontario. (L to R): Sadie Pinksen, Christianne West, Kaitlin MacDonald, Melicia Elizaga and coach Donald Mattie. (Al Cameron/Curling Canada)

    Nights are long this time of year in Nunavut, we all know that.

    But not as long as the losing streak that the territory's junior curling teams had been on. Had being the operative word.

    Since the Arctic territory was first invited to take part in the Canadian Junior Curling Championships, in 2013, both the young men's and young women's teams had failed to score a single victory over any opponent. Nine losses each in that first year, nine losses each in the second. And the third. Add an oh and five start for both again at this year's nationals in Stratford, Ontario. Do the math and you ring up a total of 64 straight losses.

    That streak, however, stopped on Tuesday night, with Nunavut's junior women scoring a decisive 7-3 win over Northwest Territories, in eight ends.

    They didn't celebrate like they won the whole thing, they didn't hoot and holler. They shook hands with the vanquished, hugged a bit and then assembled for a picture near the scoreboard, at the request of a Curling Canada

    Read More »from Junior women's curling team ends Nunavut's 64 game losing streak
  • John Epping (L) delivered a tour de force performance at the Canadian Open. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)John Epping (L) delivered a tour de force performance at the Canadian Open. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)

    Victories at the Grand Slam of Curling's Meridian Canadian Open were fashioned in entirely different ways, on Sunday, in Yorkton, Saskatchewan.

    For Team John Epping, it was a clinical, superb show of force, capped with the shooting wizardry of the skip, who dropped jaws every end. For Team Rachel Homan - the bullet train of women's curling in 2015, it was a scratch and a claw against the opposition as well as themselves.

    EPPING GETS HOT AND STAYS THAT WAY IN DEFEATING BRAD GUSHUE

    While Team Brad Gushue has been the most consistent foursome in the men's game so far this season, Toronto's Team John Epping has been the circuit's hottest rink over the last two or three weeks, capping a perfect week at the Canadian Open with a 7-4, seven end decision over Gushue.

    "I just think that everything's just starting to mesh and it feels very, very comfortable out there and we've been working really hard this season," Epping told Sportsnet's Joan McCusker just after the win.

    Epping, along with

    Read More »from Epping masterful while Homan squeaks out a victory at the Grand Slam of Curling's Canadian Open
  • Craig Savill (L) shares a laugh with E.J. Harnden during a tour event game last season. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)Craig Savill (L) shares a laugh with E.J. Harnden during a tour event game last season. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)
    He is one of the most charismatic players in the sport, so it is no surprise that the curling world is rallying around Craig Savill after the announcement that the 37-year-old is fighting cancer.

    In a story posted by TSN's Bob Weeks, Savill says that he is stepping away from the game as he gets ready for the treatments that will aim to rid him of Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

    With this battle ahead of him, Savill has had to leave his Nova Scotia team, skipped by Shawn Adams. It's a rink he joined just this season, after Savill and longtime skip Glenn Howard parted company last spring, when Howard decided to bring in his son, Scott, to play lead.

    Howard and Savill remain close, of course, after being teammates for a decade and a half, winning eight provincial championships and a couple of world titles together.

    “I was shocked,"

    Read More »from Curling world rallies around Craig Savill in light of his cancer diagnosis
  • Koe, Homan book Olympic Trials berths with Canada Cup wins

    Skip Rachel Homan holds the Canada Cup after her 8-7 win over Val Sweeting. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)Skip Rachel Homan holds the Canada Cup after her 8-7 win over Val Sweeting. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)

    They'll do it a little differently than they did last time.

    For both Rachel Homan and Kevin Koe, a shot at the Olympics is coming, as their victories at the 2015 Canada Cup guarantee them spots in the 2017 Canadian Olympic Curling Trials. Both Homan and Koe had gotten into the 2013 trials through the wringer of accruing points over the long haul. Hopscotching directly into the tournament this time, they can avoid the stress of having to keep hunting for a way into what will, most certainly, be the most important Canadian curling competition of the next two years.

    “I’ve never been so happy to win a tournament in my life," said Homan in her Canada Cup post game media scrum. That tells you how fixated she is on getting an Olympics slot. If that particular carrot was not dangling at the end of the Canada Cup, it'd be just another high-end curling tournament. A very good one to be sure, but still just another curling tournament.

    HOMAN TOPS SWEETING IN EXTRAS

    "An unreal battle by my team to

    Read More »from Koe, Homan book Olympic Trials berths with Canada Cup wins
  • Curler Brad Gushue leaves game after a serious fall, head injury

    Brad Gushue in his postgame interview on CBC. He returned to his game against Steve Laycock after suffering a nasty fall and getting seven stitches. (CBC screen cap)Brad Gushue in his postgame interview on CBC. He returned to his game against Steve Laycock after suffering a nasty fall and getting seven stitches. (CBC screen cap)

    Once in a while at curling clubs everywhere, you will see someone take a nasty fall.

    You see it occasionally at the pro level, too, but rarely do you see anything as scary as the fall 2006 Olympic Champion skip Brad Gushue took during the fourth end of quarter-final action at The Masters, on Saturday.

    As a rock was coming into the house, during Gushue's game against Steve Laycock, Gushue tried to get out of the way of the stones in the house. He slipped and fell face first, hard, to the ice.

    Suffering a cut to his head, Gushue was tended to on the ice and then taken to hospital to receive a few stitches. His availability for the rest for the weekend is in question, should his teammates advance to the semi's or beyond.

    With the nature of the fall, you would expect Gushue will be tested for concussion symptoms.

    In his

    Read More »from Curler Brad Gushue leaves game after a serious fall, head injury
  • 2015, Calgary Ab, Tim Hortons Brier, Team Canada's John Morris, Curling Canada/michael burns photo2015, Calgary Ab, Tim Hortons Brier, Team Canada's John Morris, Curling Canada/michael burns photo

    Forget about directional fabric for a moment, curling fans. Let's consider the power of the moose and what it might mean to one well known team as it gets down to business for the 2015-16 season.

    With the Grand Slam of Curling's second event - The Masters - underway in Truro, Nova Scotia, the Pat Simmons rink is joining the fray, after taking the first few weeks of the season off. After a tune-up event in Vernon, British Columbia, at the beginning of this month, the reigning Brier champions are easing back into a bit of a fuller schedule as part of the fifteen team men's field in Truro.

    We'll see if a successful hunting trip has the team's vice, John Morris, sharpened up and ready to go as he aims to win an eleventh Grand Slam title.

    “I got a moose, so the freezer’s full and now I can solely focus on curling," he says.

    Fresh off some time in the wilderness, Morris is talking about turning his attention to the great indoors for the winter after feeding his great need to be outside.

    Read More »from Grand Slam of Curling: Fresh off a moose hunt, John Morris revitalized and ready for The Masters
  • VIDEO: How curling's newest broom heads can affect a rock

    (Don Landry photo)(Don Landry photo)

     The video does exist!

    Throughout this past week, as curling's controversy over what are being called "directional fabric" broom heads boiled over - and then boiled over again (and then again, for good measure), many curling fans have been clamouring for video evidence that illustrates just what those heads can do to a rock's trajectory.

    Now, manufacturer BalancePlus has released test video that shows just that, although with directional fabric broom heads that took the advancement to a new level.

    (Note: It should be made abundantly clear that the videos below show tests of a broom head that has a much more aggressive nature than the directional fabrics that have been discussed, recently, and that have previously been used on tour. A respected curling insider who has viewed them told me that the directional fabric brooms that have been used on tour are not nearly as effective as what is being shown in the video, though they do affect rocks in the same manner. Just in a much more

    Read More »from VIDEO: How curling's newest broom heads can affect a rock

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