#7: Roar of the Rings Men's Preview (Nov. 30) - We cannot have a countdown without discussing one of the most anticipated events in 2017 right? The #ROTR2017 men's field in Ottawa was one of the strongest fields we have seen in the history of the sport. Many argued this field was stronger than fields we have seen at past world championship and grand slam events. Defending Olympic champ Brad Jacobs and defending Brier/World champ Brad Gushue were contenders along with three-time Brier and two-time World champ Kevin Koe. Mike McEwen was a strong contender heading into the event, proven with his run to the final. And dark horse contenders from the pre-trials, John Morris and Brendan Bottcher, were teams looking to make surprise runs of their own. This post was also special because we added a new member to the #TwineTime family: Jason Gunnlaugson. #Gunner joined the blog to help preview the stacked field....before getting on a plane and traveling to Ottawa himself as the fifth man for Team Bottcher. In the end, the predictions were a tie as both #Gunner and I nailed the Final 3 and predicted McEwen reaching the final...but we also both thought Gushue would be the last man standing. Props to Kevin Koe for navigating the field and winning the #TeamCanada jacket (someone did predict him to him though...more on that below).
#6: Road to the Roar Preview (Nov. 7) - Ah yes, the Road to the Roar preview....of course this would make the list. The final opportunity for 14 men's and women's teams to claim the final 4 spots in Ottawa for the Roar of the Rings. What a crazy event this turned out to be in Summerside, with tiebreakers galore and curling going on well past the midnight hour. This was one of the hardest events to predict with parity playing out across the field and shown with the amount of TB games needed just to sort out the playoff teams. In the end, #TwineTime failed miserably at the predictions going 0-for at the event. But what fun was had in sitting down to write this blog post.
#5: Week 19 Power Rankings (Dec. 13) - The final #PowerRankings post of 2017 also happened to be the most popular...and for valid reasons. This post featured the finalization of the 2018 Winter Olympic men's and women's fields in PyeongChang, South Korea. The summary of the Roar of the Rings results naming Team Canada's representatives as well as the results of the final Olympic Qualification Event in Pilsen, Czech Republic were hot topics of discussion. In the post we celebrate the successes of Team Koe and Team Homan but also the Phoenix-like rising of Denmark curling and the harsh disappointment for the home nation Czech Republic. Congratulations to Team Homan and Team Koe who wrap up 2017 standing tall on top of the #PowerRankings mountain...for now anyways. Remember we still have an upcoming #gsoc event in January, provincial playdowns and, of course, the Winter Olympics! The rankings mountain is a tricky one to navigate and one slip could see you tumble from the top to the bottom. I would like to add here that I am happy to see a #PowerRankings blog post make the Top 7 list. This season I tried a different approach with the rankings, added in some new features and dedicated an entire post just to the rankings themselves to kick off the week after a weekend of curling action. I was not sure if people would enjoy the new idea/format but the hits seem to say it is...well...a hit! Thank you loyal readers!
#4: The #TourChallenge Rock Star (Sept. 15) - Without question this is my personal favourite post of 2017. In this very special blog post, #TwineTime hit up the #TourChallenge event in my hometown of Regina, SK to kick off the curling season. But the #gsoc action was not the main attraction for this post. This post focused on the VERY special guest who joined me in Regina, my brother Nick!! Nick is a VIP in my life but, with the help of Sportsnet, he was also treated as a VIP at the event. With a media credentials pass around his neck, he was welcomed into the curling family by athletes, sponsors and spectators. This post chronicles his experience attending his first live curling event and the opportunity he had to meet many of the athletes. Special thank you goes out to those athletes who stopped to take time out of their own #gsoc experience to talk with Nick and take some pictures. Having just returned home from spending time with him over the holidays, he still talks about the event and meeting the players (and reconnecting with former teacher and Olympic champion Joan McCusker!!). Trust this rock heads and stoners, expect to see Nick make an appearance at the Brier in Regina this March!!
#3: Roar of the Rings Women's Preview (Dec. 2) - I must admit I was a bit surprised to see this post find the podium for 2017....but in retrospect I really shouldn't be. The Roar of the Rings was, arguably, the biggest event on the curling calendar in 2017. The women's field was a tight race with defending Olympic champion Jennifer Jones and defending Scotties/World champion Rachel Homan highlighting the field. But there were also numerous #TeamUpset contenders with Casey Scheidegger, Chelsea Carey and Krista McCarville. For this blog post, #TwineTime also brought in one of the most popular members of the #TwineTime family to help preview the field: #PolarPower herself Kerry Galusha! In the end, Galusha nailed the predictions (including the ad-hoc men's predictions) and once again proved to be a winner both on the ice and off.
#2: Sport Development Takes Centre Stage (May 8) - The #TwineTime blog made a special trip to Lethbridge near the end of last season to take in the opening weekend of the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship. With mixed doubles being added to the Winter Olympic roster in 2018, this was the perfect opportunity to highlight the discipline and learn more about the action on the ice. This event was also the final chance for nations to earn qualification points and a spot in the inaugural 8-team event in PyeongChang. But the true highlight of this blog post was the #growthesport angle. The mixed doubles discipline applied towards the sports development model took centre stage in this post, discussing how non-traditional curling nations like Latvia, England, Brazil, Spain, New Zealand, Poland, Slovakia and many others are finding mixed doubles to be the key to growing the sport back home. The post also dives into the struggles many of the developing curling nations face in trying to not only recruit more people to play the sport but also the lack of funding and available rink/ice space available. This post was truly special and one of my personal all-time favs!
#1 Top #TwineTime Blog Post of 2017: #BetweenTheSheets with Catlin Schneider (Jan. 10) - The #TwineTime blog kicked off 2017 with a player profile of former Team Meachem/Casey vice now Team Cotter second Catlin Schneider....and it was a post for the record books. As we bid adieu to 2017, Schneider, or #Litterbox as some refer to him as, has the all-time record for most blog post hits quickly approaching 1500!! This was a fun interview as we discussed Schneider being a multi-sport athlete during his University of Regina days, his controversial comment on the future of the tick shot and his deep family connection to the sport of curling. Of course after this interview Schneider would go on to win his first Saskatchewan title, compete in his first Brier and be named the 1st team All-Star at vice. #TwineTime was there first folks and saw the potential and future success of this young Regina stud years ago. Welcome to the fam Catlin and congratulations on being the top blog post of not only 2017 but also in the history of this blog....for now.....
That's a wrap on another calendar year for the #TwineTime blog. 2017 was a historic year for the little blog that could with record page views and continued increase of subscribers and readers. Thank you to all the rock heads and stoners out there who continue to support the blog, engage in the conversation and, most importantly, continue to help #growthesport across the globe.
Also, special mention to the newest members of the #TwineTime family added during the 2017 year: Catlin Schneider, Nadine Chyz, Brad Chyz, Ryan Sherrard, J.D. Lind, Danielle Inglis, Daniela Jentsch, Jason Gunnlaugson and Casey Scheidegger. Welcome to the family and thank you for taking time to sit down and chat with me this past year. I wish you all the best in 2018 and beyond.
Now everyone put the curling stones to the side boards tonight and go out and celebrate. Have fun. Be safe. And ring in 2018 with joy, excitement and love. Happy New Year everyone!