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.