Who Am I?

My photo

I like sports....lots of sports...all sports!  Follow my blog as I talk about sports....if you like sports of course

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: Champions Cup Closes Curling Season
Will we see #TeamCanada, #TeamWorld or #TeamUpset claim the final grand slam?

The time has arrived curling fans.  The final event of the 2016/17 curling season is about to slide out of the hack at Calgary's famed Canada Olympic Park (or COP as we call it here in #yyc).  The grand slam of curling takes centre stage as the final tour event with the Humpty's Champions Cup.

Last year marked the debut of this new grand slam event and, if you follow the #TwineTime blog, you will have read my excitement about the addition.  What a perfect way to close a season!  Let's bring back the big tour winners from the year, throw them on the ice of an iconic venue and let's just see who truly is the ultimate Champion of Champions for 2016/17.  How can you not get excited?

Some teams participating this week in Calgary have not thrown a competitive rock in weeks or maybe months.  A few others are just coming from an event in Europe.  And one team has not had a week off in over a month.  The question is which team strategy will prove to be the ultimate best decision?  Do you take some time off to prepare for the final grand slam?  Do you keep playing events hoping to remain in competitive peak performance?  Or do you risk curling fatigue by over-scheduling yourself?  All options have both good and bad possibilities.  And all options can produce a grand slam champion OR an early slam exit.

Friday, 21 April 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: World Mixed Doubles 
Championship Preview
Nations leave it all on the ice for the final stop on the #RoadTo2018
The pressure is mounting.  The competition is fierce.  And, for some, time is slipping away.  39 nations are preparing to take the ice in Lethbridge, Alberta this week for the 2017 World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship.

A world championship title is not the only important thing on the line this week though.  While all 39 tandems will be aiming to take home a world championship, this week also marks the final opportunity for nations to qualify for the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.  This will be the end of the #RoadTo2018, final stop Lethbridge!

Mixed doubles will be making it's Olympic debut in Pyeongchang and each nation would love to lay claim to taking home the first Olympic gold medal in the discipline.  We never know what the future will hold for the sport and/or the discipline itself but we do know there will always be 1...as in the first duo to ever stand atop the Olympic podium.  Great Britain owns this historic feat on the men's side, winning gold at the 1924 Winter Olympics.  Interesting side note, Team GB dominated the competition, beating Sweden 38-7 and France 46-4.  #Yikes  On the women's side, Canada's Sandra Schmirler brought home the first Olympic gold at the 1998 games defeating Denmark in the final.  Which athlete and which nation can be the first in 2018?  Time will tell...but first you have to get there!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

#BetweenTheSheets with Ryan Sherrard
Canadian-born, German curling champ talks junior pressure, German curling and #TheHat

The #TwineTime blog continues to add an international flavour to the family this year rock heads and stoners.  But this time, our newest member is a bit unique.  No, I am talking about his awesome facial reactions in pictures, like the one shown above, but rather the story of why this Canadian is considered an International.

When this blog found out he was going to Edmonton to partake in the 2017 Ford World Men's Curling Championships as a member of #TeamMedia, the curling stones started spinning.  Curlers from all over the world vying for a world title....curlers fighting to earn their nation a spot in the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics....curlers trying to gain some momentum to help #growthesport back home.  The plot lines were thick and abundant.  But I wanted to also seize the opportunity and really bring home something special.

Enter the lead for the German champions: Ryan Sherrard.  I have been a fan of Sherrard's since his Canadian junior championship run.  When this blog noticed him back hitting the ice this season, it was a special moment.  I reached out to him on twitter offering my congrats on returning to the game and wishing him all the best, hoping our paths may actually cross this season.  Well, 8 months later here we were.  Both in Edmonton.  One competing on the ice.  One sitting on media row.  Both getting a first experience in one way or another.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: The Road To Gold
The Players Championship runs gold rings as teams chase gold dreams

How fitting is it to have the curling rings run gold in colour this week for the Players Championship?  Not only is this event the gold standard on the annual Grand Slam of Curling schedule BUT this year there is the added element of chasing the Olympic dream for many of the teams hitting the ice in Toronto.

The Players Championship runs deep with tradition and prestige.  All curling athletes want to be competing in this event and end the week being crowned champion.  But alas only one team can pull off the feat and leave Toronto with a smile on their face.

But prestige and etching your name in the history books is not the only thing in play within the golden rings this week.  We have a few direct-entry berths for the Roar of the Rings in Ottawa, the Canadian Olympic curling trials, on the line.  We also have spots in the season-ended Champions Cup.  What about the Rogers Grand Slam Cup?  Top spot in the race to claim the overall season trophy stills hangs in the balance.  And what about the money?  All that money sitting there right for the taking.  Can do some nice post-Easter chocolate shopping with all the money being handed out this week!

Friday, 7 April 2017

#BetweenTheBoards: Chalk Talk Dominates 
Opening Playoff Round
The Memorial Cup dream still alive for many of the favourites

We started the season with 60 teams across 3 leagues believing in a dream to hoist the Memorial Cup at the end of the season.  When the playoffs came around a few weeks ago, the dreams were dashed for 12 teams leaving us with our 48 playoff teams.  Here we are only a few days later and once again the fat has been trimmed on Memorial Cup hopefuls.

After the opening round of the playoffs, we said goodbye to a whopping 24 teams.  Half of the playoff teams saw their dreams end while another 24 teams enjoyed the celebration of moving on and being that one tiny skate closer to playing for the ultimate prize in junior hockey.

The opening playoff round across the WHL, OHL and QMJHL had some exciting games and a few exciting series going the distance.  But, let's be honest, it was mostly chalk results across the board.  The fun part of playoff hockey is seeing upsets.  Who doesn't enjoy seeing a division champ get knocked out in the opening round?  Ok well maybe their fans don't but for the most part the rest of the league, the opposing players/teams and many fans enjoy seeing a few upsets along the way.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: #GrowTheSport Key Topic Of Discussion
The #FWMCC2017 has gold medals and Olympic spots but sport growth also key factor

Reaching the top of the podium, having a gold medal hang around your neck and being the first team to plant your lips against the new Ford World Men's Curling Championship trophy is the dream for 12 nations competing in Edmonton this week.  Only 1 will be able to check off this dream though come next Sunday.

A second dream is in play as well for the nations on the ice, Olympic dreams!  The aspirations of each team competing having the chance to finalize direct qualification for their national association to reach the 2018 Winter Olympics field in Pyeongchang, South Korea is in the back of the minds of many athletes on the ice.  Only 7 nations will earn direct qualification though, with hosts South Korea occupying an automatic spot as hosts (for the complete breakdown on the qualification process check out the #TwineTime #FWMCC2017 preview blog HERE).  For those who do not check off this dream, they will have a last chance qualifier event in December 2017 to continue chasing this dream.

But a world championship and secured Olympic spot are not the only dreams at play this week.  For a few of the nations competing in "The Last Hurrah" at Northlands Coliseum, the push will be there for a strong result to help #growthesport back home.  The #growthesport element has been a key topic of discussion within the #TwineTime blog for a few seasons now and the topic remains a key factor for many nations around the world.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: Team Canada vs. Team World vs. 
Team Upset
The Ford World Men's Curling Championships slide into Edmonton

Welcome everyone to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  Welcome everyone to Northlands Coliseum.  Welcome everyone to the 2017 Ford World Men's Curling Championships!  How's that for an early 1990's WWF-throwback introduction?

Ok retro wrestling moments aside, the excitement on the world curling stage is at its annual plateau right now.  The World Women's Curling Championships just wrapped up in Beijing and here we are ready to get going on the path to crowning our world men's champion.  How can you not get excited?

This is a huge world championship event.  Not only do we have the added pressure on every team competing to try and bring home a gold medal but this is the final opportunity for nations to earn qualification points for the 2018 Winter Olympics.  For some teams the path is pretty set in stone and only a formality.  For some, there will be work needed over the next week to secure a spot.  And for others, their backs are firmly up against the wall and it will take a STRONG result (perhaps a championship win) to move on the positive side of the red cut line.  But more on that in a moment.

Friday, 24 March 2017

#BetweenTheBoards: The Road To Memorial Cup 2018
The CHL begins the playoff round as teams fight for a spot in Windsor

60 teams.  3 leagues.  1 goal!  The dream of hundreds of junior hockey players is elevated to the next level this weekend when the CHL Playoffs hit the ice across Canada and the US.  The 60 teams that start the season in the Western Hockey League (WHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) have already started the first round of eliminations.  The regular season wrapped up a week ago and we have said goodbye to the dreams of 12 teams across the league.

Bring on 48 teams now.  Still 3 leagues.  Still 1 major goal....The Memorial Cup.  Last year the London Knights from the OHL hoisted the trophy in Red Deer and will look to repeat as champions, something that has not been done since the 2009/2010 champion Windsor Spitfires.  The OHL also has a slight advantage this season with those same Spitfires serving as Memorial Cup hosts.  Although hosting rights does not also equate to an advantage, right WHL (see last season) or QMJHL (2015)?  Both the past two seasons have seen the host league fail to have either of the two teams competing reach the championship final.  In fact the last host league, and host team, to win the Memorial Cup was the Shawinigan Caataractes in 2012.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: Switzerland Chasing History!
The World Women's Curling Championships hit the ice in Beijing, China
After a season of #TeamUpset story lines, nail-biting finishes and great shot after shot, the women's world curling season has reached the peak of the mountain.  The 2017 World Women's Curling Championships are underway in Beijing, China.  In the 38-year history of this event, 2017 will mark the first-time the world women's championship will take place in China.  The location selection is a smart one though as Beijing will also host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

But before we get to the 2022 Winter Olympics, we still have the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea to focus on.  And the focus will be heavy during this entire week for many of the athletes competing.  The 2017 event will be the final opportunity for nations to gain qualification points for the 2018 Winter Olympics.  For some nations, an Olympic spot is all but assured while others will find themselves knowing every single win will matter.  And, for a small select few, not competing this week could take them from an Olympic spot down to a qualification tournament spot.  Because the Olympics are such a huge event, let's take a quick look at the qualification standings.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: The GSOC vs. CTRS Debate
Call for change to the Elite(-ist) slam?

Is this not the best time to be a curling fan sports fans?  The sport is gearing up towards the 2018 Olympics, one year away now.  We have upcoming world championships for men, women and mixed doubles.  AND fans were just treated to back-to-back Canadian championship finals that brought the house down in St. Catharines and St. John's.

The Scotties and Brier saw very similar results in the championship finals.  Both had outstanding shots and terrific drama.  Both had a home province team looking to take home the Team Canada jackets in front of their close family and friends and fans.  Both had tremendous TV numbers for TSN.  AND both got sports fans, not just curling fans, hitting up social media and water cooler's the next day talking about the excitement resonating from high-energy finals.  As a fan of the sport and the #growthesport movement, what more could you want?

But let's not wear the rose-coloured glasses and praise the sport as being the best of the best with no concerning issues.  Celebrate success, yes!  Become complacent in thinking all is well, not yet!

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

#BetweenTheBaselines: World Baseball Classic Preview
Special guest Matt Dunstone breaks down the action in the dirt

Time to dust off those cleats, break out the glove and start hitting the batting cages sports fans, baseball season is right around the corner.  Ok, for most of us living in Canada we look outside our office windows and still see an abundance of snow and feel the crisp cold temperatures when we sprint to our cars in the morning but there is a warm summer glow peaking out from around those clouds, I promise!

MLB spring training has begun in Florida and many of the top players are starting to get in the swing of things, literally.  But the upcoming MLB season is not the only excitement hitting the diamond right now.  The World Baseball Classic (WBC) has also drawn attention from around the world as 16 of the best baseball nations hit the dugout and try to lay claim to the #WBC title.

Now #TwineTime fans, if you have followed this blog since inception you are well aware baseball is not my best sport.  I know enough to get by but I would never declare myself to be an expert or very knowledgeable.  Given the importance of this event, and the fact it only takes place every four years, I thought it would be best to reach out to the #TwineTime family and invite a very special, very intelligent and HUGE baseball fan to join me for the #WBC2017 preview: Matt Dunstone!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: Brier Preview with Brad Chyz
Can "The Goo" wow the home crowd with a win or should he "Beware the Ides of March"?
The curling calendar rolls over into a new month and with the welcoming of March means the excitement of the Tim Hortons Brier!  The Mile One Centre in St. John's, NF is going to be rocking all week and curling fans are in for a treat.

This field is considered one of the best, most competitive fields in Brier history.  And why not?  We have past Brier winners.  We have former world champions.  We have Olympic champions.  We have Canadian and World junior champions.  And we even have some exciting new rookies stepping onto the ice.  The home province should have lots to celebrate and cheer for of course with Brad Gushue back in the game and looking more thirsty and hungry for a Brier title than ever before.  But it will not be easy...for him or anyone to claim the 2017 title.  We will see some favourites for sure.  But could we see a few dark horse or #TeamUpset provinces/territories shock the world and make a push for Brier glory?

When #TwineTime put together a Scotties preview a few weeks ago, the field was just too impressive to handle on my own.  So I brought in a guest to help preview the action and welcome a new member to the #TwineTime family, Nadine Chyz.  With the Brier field stacked with top athletic talent, we have a similar scenario where this is too big a field for little old me to handle solo.  Since Nadine did such an outstanding job, including defeating me with her picks, I decided to keep it in the Chyz family and invite Brad Chyz to join me for the #Brier2017 preview.

It is worth noting here #TwineTime fans, this preview interview was conducted prior to the start of play.  However, due to the fact there are so many Brier pools up and running this year (which I love by the way), I thought it best to keep these predictions a secret until after play started.  Not to brag or anything but I did win two Brier pools last year and Brad and I have combined to form a Super Brier Pool team for one entry this year as well.  If you aren't entered into any Brier pools, what are you thinking?  These are awesome and certainly add an extra level of excitement to the action on the ice all week.  I believe I am in 5 #Brier2017 pools this year.  Ok I may be going a bit over the top now....somebody might need to give a #TwineTime intervention by next season.

Friday, 3 March 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: World Wheelchair Curling Championships Preview
The top wheelchair curling nations take the ice in PyeongChang, South Korea
The world championship curling season continues to roll along folks.  It was only a few weeks ago we crowned our newest world junior champions, congrats once again to the Sweden women and Korea men.  This week world curling action returns to PyeongChang and the Gangneung Curling Centre, the host venue for the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The venue test event being closely watched by curling fans around the world this week will be the World Wheelchair Curling Championship.  This year's championship event will be the final opportunity for nations to earn enough points to qualify their country a spot at the 2018 Paralympic Games.  The 2015, 2016 and 2017 world championships will help determine the 11 nations to qualify for the paralympic tournament, with host nation South Korea receiving an automatic berth.

Some of you may not be too familiar with wheelchair curling and the world championship event.  The #TwineTime blog is always here to help #growthesport but also help grow the knowledge for ALL disciplines of curling, not just the media darling men and women on tour and grand slam events.  We have some incredible athletes competing in wheelchair curling who are very deserving of your curling fandom rock heads and stoners.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: Scotties Red Marker Time
The midterm grades are in....who is passing and who has work to do?

The opening long weekend of the 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts is in the books...and what a weekend.  We saw a few upsets.  We saw some tears.  We saw some great shots.  We saw some bad misses.  We saw the provincial and territorial pride shine.  And we said goodbye to the R-word (relegation that is!).

As is the case every year with the Scotties, we see some highlights and lowlights from the opening few days of action.  I am confident all of you did the same throughout the long weekend, I put some more butt grooves in my couch and anxiously watched each rock thrown down the ice in St. Catharines.  There have certainly been many storylines coming out of the weekend and with #MovingDay arriving quickly on Wednesday, it is time for the annual tradition of midterm report cards.  The Big Red marker rolled out from under the couch, cracked its lid and starting handing out the grades.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: Scotties Preview with Nadine Chyz
Will #TeamUpset show it's face in St. Catharines?

Valentine's Day is over curling friends...time to put down the cinnamon hearts for a different type of heart.  The Scotties Tournament of Hearts I mean of course!

It is that time of the curling season to watch the best women's curling teams from across our great country compete for the coveted title of Team Canada and the right to wear the red maple leaf at the upcoming Women's World Curling Championships in Beijing, China.  We have a very eclectic field hitting the house in St. Catharines, Ontario this week, ranging from past Canadian champions to Olympic representatives to all-out rookie teams.  Will the favourites survive and run the table?  Will #TeamUpset continue to shock the curling world once again?

The Scotties is a very special event and, as such, deserves more special attention than this one blogger can provide on his own.  It is for this special reason it gives me great pleasure and honour to welcome the newest member of the #TwineTime family, Nadine Chyz, to help with the #STOH2017 preview.

Let's not hesitate my curling friends.  Settle into the hack and let's get this preview rolling from my house to yours!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: World Juniors Hit The House 
In South Korea
The 2018 Olympic venue plays host to the 2017 World Junior Curling Championships
The #Roadto2018 is now officially underway curling fans.  The venue for the Olympic curling event will see it's first competitive curling rocks slide down the ice when the 2017 World Junior Curling Championships get underway in Korea this week.

The Gangneung Curling Centre in Gangneung, Korea will serve as the test event for the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics curling competition.  As was the case back in 2013 in Sochi, Russia, the top world junior curling teams will be the first to hit the ice on an Olympic venue.  How cool of a moment and memory is that for a junior player?  You know you are sliding out of the same hack that will see some of curling's top stars in a year's time.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: #TeamUpset Taking 
Provincial Playdowns?
Can the favourites survive or are we in store for more surprises this season?

Well my #curling friends, I have missed you I must admit.  It has been almost a month since we have connected.  While I took a much needed vacation to the Land of OZ for three weeks, the curling rocks continued to run, spin and freeze their way all over the house.  The beaches, hot sun (boy did I burn!), Great Barrier Reef and Australian Open experience was #BucketList worthy without a doubt but it is time to get back in the hack and put some points on the curling scoreboard.

Much has occurred during my little blogging hiatus.  We crowned new grand slam champions at The Canadian Open.  A few high profile #wct events took place around the world.  Canadian junior curling champions were crowned.  The Winter Universiade handed out curling medals.  The Brier field started to take shape.  AND the Scotties field was completed (more on that later though).

As is custom with the #TwineTime blog, and with much respect to Manitoba's own Jason Gunnlaugson, let's take a quick #GunnerRunback at what has happened over the past month of curling action:

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

#BetweenTheSheets With Catlin Schneider
A multi-sport athlete, Hawaii living, the "Purrrr-fect" nickname and...banning the tick shot?

The curling blood runs deep in the Schneider family.  From Jamie Schneider winning the Canadian Junior Curling Championship in 1983 to Kim Schneider winning the Scotties Tournament of Hearts (with Amber Holland) in 2011, the Schneider name is one of traditional and associated with winning.  If you enter any curling club, especially within Saskatchewan, everyone knows the Schneider name.  From small humble beginnings in the Kronau area, a community of 250 people (yup that small and I've been there numerous times to know it's true) yet with it's own curling rink, to national prominence whenever you see a curler hit the ice with the name Schneider on the back of the jacket, you know you are in for a good game.

Enter Catlin Schneider.  Big curling shoes to fill when your family has Canadian champions around you.  But no living in the Schneider family shadow for this 25-year old.  Curling athlete?  Check!  But don't think he is resting on family laurels.  How about football stud?  Golfer?   Yup, Catlin has the athlete genes flowing through him.  But don't let the muscles and physique fool you either.  University graduate?  Engineer?  Yup, brains with brawn here folks.  Some would say Catlin is the triple threat of brains, brawn and beauty....and he is ready to take the curling world by storm with his Saskatchewan team.  Curling as a vice with Team Meachem, Catlin enjoyed a breakthrough season last year and the build-up, anticipation...and expectations...for the future are shining brighter than ever before.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

#BetweenTheSheets: Bracketology Comes To Curling!
The rings runneth red at the Canadian Open

Welcome 2017!  I hope all of you curling fans were able to enjoy the holiday season and ring in the New Year...get it, "ring" in the new year?!?  The curling house has rings...see what I did there?  Ok, already starting the new year with a bang!

The calendar barely flipped over into a new year and already we have a grand slam event to get excited about.  The Canadian Open, usually held in December, was moved to January this season.  While it may not give the athletes lots of time to prepare so close to post-NYE celebrations, it sure gives curling fans something to wet our rocks with.  The Canadian Open is the fourth stop on the grand slam of curling calendar and, for the third year in a row, will be hosted by my home province, Saskatchewan.  Go #TeamGreen!!

Before we jump into the first grand slam of 2017, the curling calendar for the new year has already crowned it's first champions.  The US Open (an event which perhaps should be the next grand slam event on the calendar in my opinion) began before the end of 2016 and wrapped up at the beginning of this week.