Don Landry

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Don Landry is a blogger for Yahoo Canada Sports.

  • Curling's broom brouhaha: Manufacturer fights back

    Mke McEwen at the 2014 Canadian Open. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)Mke McEwen at the 2014 Canadian Open. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)

    Looks like the controversy over broom heads is not going away quietly. It might even be getting messier.

    While a large group of elite level players and teams released a statement proclaiming they would no longer use broom heads with "directional fabric" on them, seems Hardline Curling - manufacturer of the IcePad broom head - was crafting their own release, which it has now posted on its website.

    Hardline's lengthy statement, undersigned by its president Archie Manavian, claims the company is being unfairly singled out and that it is, in essence, the victim of some corporate skulduggery.

    From Hardline's statement:

    "Hardline Curling believes that all of this trumped-up controversy has been engineered by a small group of players, acting on behalf of their equipment supplier in order to stop the loss of its market share to Hardline. This is nothing other than corporate bullying."

    While the Hardline statement didn't mention a company by name, it is hard to imagine that the finger is not

    Read More »from Curling's broom brouhaha: Manufacturer fights back
  • Twenty-two of curling's top teams sign off on broom armistice

    Team Canada skip Pat Simmons, left, and lead Nolan Thiessen celebrate defeating Northern Ontario to win the gold medal game at the Brier in Calgary on Sunday, March 8, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntoshTeam Canada skip Pat Simmons, left, and lead Nolan Thiessen celebrate defeating Northern Ontario to win the gold medal game at the Brier in Calgary on Sunday, March 8, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

    The pressure to remove the latest broom heads from the world of curling has been increased even more.

    22 elite level teams have signed off on a lengthy, thoughtful and detailed statement written by Team Canada lead Nolan Thiessen, a statement that appears on the Team Canada website.

    The statement takes dead aim at what's been called "directional fabric" or "directional technology," a leap in broom head effectiveness so great, it has allowed curlers to control rocks in unprecedented ways, including slowing them down, and curling them more.

    It is an impressive, heavyweight list of backers including reigning Olympic champions Brad Jacobs and Jennifer Jones and reigning men's world champion Niklas Edin. The list also includes Val Sweeting and Rachel Homan, who had discussed their positions on the matter with Yahoo Sports previously. Well-known names such as Eve Muirhead, Thomas Ulsrud, Binia Feltscher, David Murdoch, Mike McEwen and Brad Gushue have also ratified the agreement.

    In his

    Read More »from Twenty-two of curling's top teams sign off on broom armistice
  • Homan, Sweeting weigh in on curling's raging broom debate

    Rachel Homan (L) and Val Sweeting at the 2015 Players Championship, in Toronto. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet photos)Rachel Homan (L) and Val Sweeting at the 2015 Players Championship, in Toronto. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet photos)

    It might be that the latest in curling broom technology is about to be reined in, as more and more elite players speak up on the matter. While no official announcements have been made, some leadership is coming from the women's side of Canadian curling, with two of the game's best skips asserting their feelings about regulation.

    For now, it may be a self-imposed regulation.

    “I think we’re all in agreement that we’re not going to be using it (the latest broom head technology) against each other and we all have an understanding moving forward that we need to stay with what we’ve been using in the past,” said two-time national champion Rachel Homan.

    “We’ve spoken with a few teams on tour and we’re all in agreement. It’s not where we want to take the sport," she added, speaking about relatively new broom heads that have been developed and deployed at a much higher level this season. Fitted with what is being called "directional material," these heads are exponentially increasing the

    Read More »from Homan, Sweeting weigh in on curling's raging broom debate
  • The ice surface at the 2015 Brier, in Calgary. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)The ice surface at the 2015 Brier, in Calgary. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)

    The question of how much of an advantage a curler's broom should give them is being intensely debated this week. It is an issue that is at the forefront in the world of Canadian curling, so much so that a large group of people including elite players and organizers were invited to take part in a conference call on Tuesday night.

    However, that call didn't happen.

    Why, isn't completely clear, although technical glitches were being blamed. That might well be. However, it may also be true that the increasing temperature of the dialogue between some players is the reason.

    Curling's discussion over just what should be done in the wake of a new wave of super brooms changing the game in incredible ways is continuing. Although there seems to be a fair consensus that regulation is needed, something is holding up that advancement at the current time.

    As mentioned in my previous story on the broom issue, things came to a bit of a head over this past weekend, at a competition in Toronto.

    Read More »from Coming to a head: Emotional debate as curlers look for a broom technology solution
  • Marc Kennedy (L) and Ben Hebert lean on their brooms at The National, in 2014. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)Marc Kennedy (L) and Ben Hebert lean on their brooms at The National, in 2014. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)

    Curling's advancing broom technologies, unbridled for the most part over the game's history, almost certainly need to be leashed in the near future.

    That's the general feeling permeating the game's corridors after a great leap forward in brush ingenuity; an ingenuity that has led to what one noted curler referred to as an ability to guide the rock "with a joystick." It's all come to a head this season - in fact it really boiled over this past weekend - as a group of world class curlers held a meeting during a Toronto bonspiel to see what could be done to even the competitive balance and slow the arms race.

    Players, officials and manufacturers are all contemplating the question: How far is too far? We may have already reached that point.

    “There’s a broom head to the point where me sweeping, is more effective than Ben Hebert and Marc Kennedy sweeping together,” said Team Howard vice Wayne Middaugh. Middaugh hadn't actually used it yet, but he was going on reports from his teammates,

    Read More »from Curling's broom boom leads to player meeting in Toronto; Are regulations coming?
  • Swedish skip Niklas Edin is shooting for the top. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)Swedish skip Niklas Edin is shooting for the top. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)

    If you see Niklas Edin as the rabbit in men's curling to begin the 2015-16 season, he doesn't agree with your assessment. Edin's 2015 World Champions might well be the team with the target on it as the season's first Grand Slam event gets underway in Paradise, Newfoundland & Labrador. The way the 30-year-old skip sees it, that world crown only means he's keeping up with a couple of Canadian powerhouse teams.

    “We need to (go up) a couple of notches in the world rankings and really try to compete against McEwen and Jacobs,” Edin says during a break in action at last weekend's Stu Sells Tankard, in Oakville, Ontario. The reigning world champ might have that trophy on his mantle, but he and his teammates are looking to jump from number three in the world rankings to number one and those two rinks from Manitoba and Northern Ontario are in the way.

    “We’ve gotta make sure that we get enough points to stay high in the world rankings and make all the slams,” Edin says, standing outside the

    Read More »from Grand Slam of Curling: Team Edin looking for more as the Tour Challenge gets underway
  • 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

    Read More »from Curling Canada shakes up Brier, Scotties formats again

Pagination

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