Friday, 29 September 2017

#Curling S1718 W4

#BetweenTheSheets: U-S-Agghhhh
USA Olympic trials debacle raising questions and concerns

The Olympics.  The dream of every kid who has picked up a stick or raquet or club or broom or ball and the goal for athletes around the world today.  Regardless of sport and/or discipline, if your sport is a recognized Olympic sport your goal is to one day suit up in your nations colors and flag and compete on the grandest sports stage of all and represent your country.

But as some teams around the international curling stage are discovering, earning an Olympics spot is not quite as black and white as one would think.

The recent legal debate between USA Curling and Team Todd Birr has sparked a variety of differing opinions and emotions on how national curling governing bodies are deciding who earns the right to compete for an Olympic spot....or if they are allowed to compete at all.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

#PowerRankings W4

#BetweenTheSheets: Week 4 Power Rankings
The kids are alright folks!

Photo Courtesy: Blue Monday Volume 1
Well we have all been focused on the Olympic season and the #TeamCanada vs. #TeamWorld rivalry becoming the theme of the season.....we may have overlooked another team for the season.  No, not even #TeamUpset!

How about #TeamMovingOnUp!  Week 4 had some high profile "elite" teams competing on the ice across the country but the biggest wins of the weekend came from recent past and current junior contenders making a name for themselves on the men's and women's tour.  The sport is evolving and evolving quick as these once junior-contenders (and in once case still a junior contender) are sweeping through the house at a rapid speed.

From a pure #growthesport perspective, is this not what we want to see happen?  While it is great to cheer on our favourite grand slam teams and see them succeed, we also want to know the future is bright and the next generation is ready to take the broom by the handle and continue to sweep the sport forward with success.  After seeing the results of this past weekend, I think it is safe to say (and I mean this in a very respectful way considering how old I am and how young these teams are), "The kids are alright!"

Who are the #IceWarmers for Week 4 and which teams fall under the #BambiBumble this week?  Did we see changes to the #PowerRankings?  Let's settle in the hack and find out....

Friday, 22 September 2017

#Curling S1718W3

#BetweenTheSheets: A Change Will Do You Good!
Curling to undergo major enhancements heading into next season and beyond

Who knew Slovenia would be the centre of the curling world?  Well, last week all eyes in the sport were drawn to the lakeside town of just over 6,000 people in northwestern Slovenia for the World Curling Federation's Annual General Assembly.

The 56 member associations of the WCF gathered and had an action-packed agenda discussing some important decisions for the future of the sport and vote on proposed changes....and potentially welcome a few new member associations into the fold.  A change can do you good curling world and changes they are a coming!  Cue the Sheryl Crow music in the background now.

Let's take a look at the decisions, changes and votes conducted in the historical mediaeval Slovenian town last weekend.

Monday, 18 September 2017

#PowerRankings W3

#BetweenTheSheets: Week 3 Power Rankings
Big events in Cornwall and Edmonton cause some movement

Ah the week following a grand slam never really know what to expect.  As mentioned in last week's prediction blog, some teams use momentum built from a strong grand slam and continue their success while others have the grand slam hangover syndrome and falter when back on the ice with little to no time in between games/events.

Week 2 on tour certainly produced a little bit of both.  We also welcomed to the ice a few teams making their season debut's....with strong results!  The season is officially in the mix of things as teams now have some competitive games under their sliders and either have some improvements to make or are currently building strong momentum heading into the all-important Fall portion of the season.

Who reached #IceWarmers status this week and who took the #BambiBumble slide down the ice?  Time to find out as we settle in the hack for the Week 3 Power Rankings.

Friday, 15 September 2017

#Curling S1718W2

#BetweenTheSheets: The Tour Challenge Rock Star
#TwineTime Bro steals the spotlight in Regina

The #TwineTime blog is always feeling very fortunate, humbled and thankful for the opportunities provided from organizations like Curling Canada, Sportsnet, World Curling Federation and Grand Slam of Curling.  I know my role at events.  I stay in the background.  I try to linger more around the concourse level of arenas to talk to fans and feel the environment as best as possible.  I try to make sure if I do request an interview with an athlete after a game, it is after the rest of the media have had their chance.  And I try to be as respectful with their time as possible.  When one is provided an opportunity to be part of something bigger than oneself, you soak in the moment, enjoy the ride and say thank you.

But this past week in my hometown of Regina a slightly different side of the #TwineTime blog came through.  I watched games from the stands and in a regular seat.  I did not venture backstage after games and talk to players and conduct interviews.  I did not even try to hide behind the bigger scenes.  Nope, at the #TourChallenge I made my presence known.  And for a great reason....

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

#PowerRankings W2

#BetweenTheSheets: Week 2 Power Rankings
Tour Challenge winners move up, some big names slide down

When you kick off the season with a huge grand slam event you never truly know what you are going to get.  Will the regular big names from last season continue to power their way to the top of the standings?  Will a few surprise teams emerge and knock off the "big boys"?  And which teams will take a Bambi on ice stumble in their first event of the year?

The #TourChallenge in Regina certainly provided answers to all those questions and more as the opening slam of the season rocked the house next to the new iconic Mosaic Stadium in #yqr.  We had a few #TeamUpset results.  We saw history made on both Tier I and Tier II women's sides of the draw.  And we saw a few big name teams fail to live up to expectations early on.

As we head into Week 2, here are the Ice Warmer teams, the teams with replicating Bambi on ice and the updated #PowerRankings:

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

#TourChallenge Preview

#BetweenTheSheets: It's Grand Slam Time Baby!
The Tour Challenge takes over the Queen City

Can you believe we are in the first week of September and already preparing for a curling grand slam event?  The season is barely a week old and in less than a week we will celebrate the first #gsoc champion of the 2017/18 season.  Crazy right?

Perhaps this is the perfect tone to the season though.  We already know the Golden Season is going to be magical and exciting and dramatic and intriguing....and a plethora of other descriptive words.  Why not slide right out of the hack with the largest grand slam event in the calendar?  Let's bring together 60 of the top teams across the globe to one city, one venue and let them kick off the season with an epic grand slam battle!  It may be tough for some of the teams as many have not even had a competitive game of curling under their sliders this season....but from a fan perspective, sure bring it on!

Ok I know the argument here.  There may be a risk we don't see each team competing at their absolute best given this could be the first event of the season for them.  But come on, these are competitive athletes and many are still in the running for an Olympic berth.  If you doubt their intensity just because it is the opening event of the season, you are being foolish!  I think it will be the opposite.  I think the teams will come out more fired up, more intense and more ready to play a slam this early in the season because it is the Olympic year rather than say next year if this event took place at the same time.  Be ready for some fine ass curling rock heads and stoners!

Monday, 4 September 2017

#PowerRankings W1

#BetweenTheSheets: YOUR Results Are In.....
The 2017/18 Power Rankings are HERE!

The Golden Season of curling has finally left the hack and started sliding down the house.  If this is a long-term game consider this opening weekend of the season the slider warm up part to the game.  This is going to be a long season and teams need to be ready to peak at the right time, gather momentum as the season rolls on and, should the train fall off the track at all, correct the little things as early as possible.

The fun part of the season for fans is to keep an eye on the teams looking to make their mark on PyeongChang.  As we often see in college football and professional sports leagues like the NHL and NFL, weekly #PowerRankings help track those teams on the rise and those trending the opposite way.  This season #TwineTime wants to bring that excitement to the Golden Season of Curling.

Now sure I could have kicked off the season with the same rankings we ended last season with but what fun would that be?  Curling is a sport where the fans feel part of the action on the ice and really are the heart and pulse propelling the sport forward.  Therefore, it only made sense to allow the fans to vote for which teams they believed were deserving of a Top 5 ranking.  After weeks of the #fanvote, the Results. Are. In.

Friday, 1 September 2017

#Curling S1718W1

#BetweenTheSheets: Here. We. Go.
The Olympic season is ready to slide out of the hack

The season preview blog has been said and done.  The warm-ups, training and practice ice times have been completed.  The talk of what your team is going to do to prepare and how your team is going to make this "Your" season has been said, quoted and discussed.  Now.....It's time!

The Golden Season is now here and it's time for teams to not only talk the talk but walk the walk....or slide the slide?  Is that a saying or a thing in curling?  No?  Ok never mind.  You get what I am saying here.  Curling athletes and fans have been waiting for this season since the conclusion of the 2013/14 season....otherwise known as the end of the last Olympic cycle.  And judging by the votes on the #TwineTime homepage (just to your right on the sidebar ----->) fans are overwhelmingly in agreement PyeongChang is on the top of our curling minds this year.

But before we try to start a time warp and jump ahead to February 2018, let's remember we have a full season of curling still on tap and ready to rock out house week in and week out.