Did you know October is the unofficial curling month on the curling calendar? It is true.
There are more World Curling Tour events taking place in the month of October than any other month of the year. You want to see A curling event on any given weekend in the month? How about MANY curling events every weekend?
This is the month where teams are officially in the full swing of the season. Sliders have been warmed. Rocks have been thrown. September (and August now) really feel like the build-up months to how hectic and busy October is.
Welcome to ROCK-tober!
For many teams we have only seen them compete at a handful of events up to this point of the season. Yes there are a few who have competed in 4 or 5 events but they are the outliers. For the most part the average number of events played hovers between 2 and 3 for the average team on tour.
#ROCKtober is a different mindset. For many teams they are not only competing in 2 or 3 events THIS month alone but that means back-to-back(-to-back) weekends on the road. Teams are traveling across the country. Teams are traveling around the world. Teams are trying to really build their momentum towards the big events later in the season, like a national championship or continental championship or a world championship.
When we look at the #wct schedule, #ROCKtober will see 26 men's events and 19 women's events. This includes our first #gsoc major of the season: The Masters.
In comparison September saw 13 men's events and 13 women's events. ROCKtober doubles the (men's) action and increases the fun.
Even next month in November (personally my favourite month of the year), there will be 23 men's events and 14 women's events, with those numbers including the #gsoc Tour Challenger Tier I and Tier II as individual events. Technically they could be lumped together as one event because, well they kind of are. But I keep them separate because they are two events with two different fields.
October is credited with the most tour events. November is credited for perhaps bigger international events as the #PACC and #ECC events do take place in November. So we give November a bit of credit as a high-profile curling month.
But you don't get to play in those big events and win those big events without playing a full schedule in ROCKtober of course. If you have continental championship aspirations, you better be hitting the competitive ice in the month leading up to the championship. Hence the importance of ROCKtober.
It is almost a cosmic laugh with the month ending on the spookiest night of all: Halloween. The ghoulish "holiday" brings out the Fright Night mentality in people. But will it be the ultimate scare for some teams who struggle to find success in ROCKtober?
Keep on eye on all the results this month. Which teams will suffer the ROCKtober trick and which will enjoy the ROCKtober treat? As we say in the blog, #StayTuned!
The action left the hack on the opening weekend of the month with a full slate of events, including many #Tour1000 events. And it continues on the upcoming holiday (in Canada) weekend with a combined 12 tour events scheduled. Yes 12 in one weekend rock heads.
Hope you are ready for so much curling action it gets your rocks spinning?!
Bring on #ROCKtober!
Take a boomerang slide back into the hack as we summarize the results from this past weekend. Which teams are trending up in this week's #INturn and which are trending down in the #OUTturn?
- The #UiseongCurlingCup wrapped up in South Korea mid-week. Defending Manitoba champs Team McEwen took great strides in getting their season back on track with an undefeated run to the title, knocking off Olympic champs Team Shuster in the final. Team McDonald (l. Shuster in SF) took home the bronze after defeating home nation fav Team S. Kim (l. McEwen in SF) in the 3rd place match. The US women would go one win better when Team Roth defeated home favourites Team E. Kim to snag the title after knocking off current world champion Team Tirinzoni in the SF. For Roth, she becomes the first female team to win multiple titles this season. Tirinzoni would rebound to defeat South Korea's Team M. Kim (l. E. Kim in SF) to claim the bronze medal.
- At the #StuSellsTO event, Team Jacobs took home the title after defeating Team Koe Monday afternoon. For Jacobs this is their second straight #Tour1000 final and first #wct title of the season. On the women's side of the competition Team Brunton would #DefendTheIce when she defeated Team Auld in the championship final. This final was a rematch of last year's championship final as well.
- The #SwissCup final gave the home nation fans in Basel something to cheer for when Switzerland's Team De Cruz FINALLY reached the championship final AND won the event, going 7-0 on the weekend. De Cruz knocked off Scotland's Team Paterson in the final. After near miss SF losses in the past, De Cruz broke through for a championship win on home nation ice (as predicted by #TwineTime btw).
- The #PrestigeCurlingClassic in Vernon saw provincial rival finals on the women's and men's side of the draw. For the women, Team Rocque continued their historic climb up the rankings this season knocking off defending Alberta/Canadian champ Team Carey in the final. For the men, an all-B.C. finale saw defending world junior champs Team Tardi defeat current B.C. champ Team Cotter to claim the title. Did the wins cement Team Rocque and Team Tardi as early provincial favourites?
- In Aland, Finland at the #PafMasters, Sweden's Team Wrana would #DefendTheIce when they reclaimed their title from a season ago. The champs defeated Switzerland's Team Schori in the final. Wrana's victory in the final would be revenge for the RR defeat earlier in the event. For Schori, they entered the final undefeated but would come up just short of the title.
- The #AvonairCashSpiel in Edmonton saw two new Alberta rinks claim titles this weekend. For the men, Calgary's Team Harty knocked off U of A's own Team Jacques in the final. The women's final saw Lacombe's Team Sherrer defeat Calgary's Team Stubbs to win the championship.
- In St. Paul, MN Team Ruohonen continued to make a case as a leading contender for the US Championships, claiming their second title of the season. Ruohonen defeated former US champ Todd Birr and company to win the Lets Cure #LupusCashSpiel. Team Farrell claimed the women's title after defeating Team Rhyme in the final. Both Ruohonen and Farrell went undefeated en route to claiming the titles.
- At the #MCTClassic in Winnipeg, Team Tanner Horgan won their first title of the season to follow-up the runner-up appearance a few weeks ago at the Mother Club event. Horgan defeated Team Chambers in the final. Horgan has now qualified in all 4 events entered this season, including back-to-back final appearances. The new dark horse contender in the Buffalo Hunt?
- #ScottishPride on full display this season! While Scottish teams may not have claimed titles this weekend their presence was certainly felt. In Basel, 4 Scottish teams reached the playoff bracket and it was a possibility of seeing an all-Scottish Final Four. Paterson would reach the final, #TeamUpset flag bearer Team Bryce would reach the SF while Team Mouat and Team Muirhead would make the QF round. Not to be out done across the pond, #NextGen contender Team Whyte reached the QF in Toronto after qualifying out of the A-side, including victories over finalist Koe and past champ Team Gushue. The Scottish championship and upcoming Euro qualifying (more on that below) are looking VERY interesting right now! And we cannot forget Maggie Wilson and her team reaching the SF in Finland.
- #Labelleprovince showed up over the weekend in Toronto. Leading as a combined #NextGen and #TeamUpset ambassador, Team St-Georges surprised a few teams when they qualified for the playoffs. Although defeated in the QF, this is a huge slide in the right direction for the young Quebec squad. Perhaps a preview to a future Scotties appearance this season? And speaking of provincial champions, former Quebec men's champ Team Fournier also reached the QF round after qualifying out of the B-side. If you want to see good fan engagement follow Team Fournier on facebook, also known as #FeedTheHorses,
- #TeamUpset and #NextGen seemed to be a nice combination this weekend a few times. Outside of the aforementioned Whyte and St-Georges, how about the QF appearance by defending world junior champ Russia's Team Rumiantceva at the Paf Masters? Another familiar world junior name, Selina Witschonke, would go one round better leading her team to a SF result. Witschonke was an alternate on the 2019 world junior bronze medal squad. And what about the other QF? Finland's Team Virtaala made their #wct debut on home ice and qualified for the playoff round.
- Time for the #QRollCall. In addition to those already mentioned, these are the teams who qualified this past weekend. Reaching the SF: Team Galusha, Team Dropkin, Team Gushue (Stu Sells), Team Edin (Swiss Cup), Team Kovaleva, Team Jentsch, Team Richard, Team Wenzek (Prestige), Team Kitchens, Team Dudt, Team Dunnam, Team Maerki (Lupus Cash), Team Stiksma, Team Pierce, Team Appelman, Team Sluchinski (Avonair) and Team Wiebe, Team Olseon (MCT). Reaching the QF: Team K. Jones, Team Duncan, Team Murphy, Team Brandwood, Team Epping, Team Muyres (Stu Sells), Team Schwaller (Swiss Cup), Team Wark, Team Brown, Team Tolley (Prestige), Team Brundidge, Team Nicko (Lupus Cash), Team Hilker, Team Berlando, Team Steuber, Team Marks, Team Sturmay, Team Vavrek, Team Pahl, Team Webb (Avonair) and Team Gauthier, Team Ryan, Team Dennis Bohn, Team Riley Smith (MCT). There were also Playoff qualifiers Team Scoffin and Team van Amsterdam (Avonair).
- While some #NextGen athletes exceeded this weekend, other faltered. Defending Scottish champion and former world junior silver medalist Sophie Jackson struggled in Aland, going 2-4 and missing the playoffs. Jackson suffered losses to eventual playoff qualifiers and fellow #NextGen competitors Witschonke and Rumiantseva. Defending Canadian champion Team Sturmay under-performed in Edmonton, picking up 2 wins and failing to qualify. 2019 Canadian junior silver medalist Team Daniels would fare even worse, failing to pick up a win in Vernon. Daniels was outscored 27 to 11 in 4 games, including losses to provincial rivals Team Thompson and Team Slattery.
- What happened to Manitoba's Ty Dilello? After only picking up 1 win and failing to qualify at the Mother Club a few weeks back, Dilello entered play this weekend looking for a better result. The team actually a slide in the opposite direction failing to collect a single W. Dilello was one of the good stories coming out of Manitoba last season, looking to be a future threat. This season is a huge step back on their progress thus far.
- #INturn one week, #OUTturn the next. What is going on with Japan's Team Morozumi? Two weeks ago Morozumi collected a tour title. This weekend they collect only 2 wins in Vernon and fail to make the playoffs. The biggest key to success is the common word used when discussing the Power Rankings: consistency, consistency, consistency. Where is it for Morozumi?
With all the big points earned this weekend from #Tour1000, #Tour500 and #Tour250 events, did the ranking mountain survive or did we experience a minor volcano eruption? Which teams survived the Top 5 and which took a tumble?
Here are the updated Power Rankings.
- Team Homan - 8300 (LW: 1)
- Team Einarson - 5690 (2)
- Team Hasselborg - 5640 (3)
- Team Tirinzoni - 5555 (4)
- Team Carey - 4242 (HM)
This was an interesting week on the women's side of the mountain. The Autumn Gold and Stockholm events, both #Tour1000, from 2018 were removed from the point allocation. Autumn Gold happens this upcoming weekend while the Stockholm event has been removed from the calendar completely (unfortunately). Removing points from those two events really knocked a few teams down, namely champions Einarson (Autumn Gold) and Hasselborg (Stockholm).
The Top 4 do remain unchanged; however, the gap between #1 and #2 increased while the gap from #2 to #4 closed in. A mere 140 points separate #2 Einarson and #4 Tirinzoni. But look at that gap Homan has built on top. Yikes!
We welcome a new addition to the Top 5 this week, current Canadian champ Team Carey. Carey's finals run in Vernon was enough to move her above rival Team J. Jones. Plus her defeat of Team Kovaleva in the SF kept the Russian's from defending their title, thus losing ranking points and staying in the HM category at #7.
The big mover is USA's Team Roth right now. Their championship win in South Korea, on the heels of the US Open of Curling win, have bolstered them up the mountain. They now sit #16. Other big movers include Germany's Team Jentsch (up to #17) and Vernon champ Team Rocque (up to #18).
- Team Bottcher - 7313 (1)
- Team Koe - 7275 (2)
- Team Mouat - 5560 (3)
- Team De Cruz - 5540 (HM)
- Team Paterson - 5382 (HM)
After weeks upon weeks upon weeks of little to no action on the men's mountain we finally see some movement!
Welcome Team De Cruz and Team Paterson to the NEW Top 5! Team De Cruz's run to winning on home ice made them the big winners this week, rising from #6 to #4. And Team Paterson's run to the final also gave them an equally nice bump from #7 to #5. Take note as well of how the gap is closing between #3 Mouat and the new Top 5 members. In fact just over 800 points separates #3 Mouat from #7 Edin!
Team Epping, QF in Toronto, and Team Edin, unable to #DefendTheIce in Basel, both drop down the rankings. Epping falls one to #6 while Edin tumbles to #7 from #4.
As for the apex of the mountain, Bottcher JUST holds on. If Koe had won the title in Toronto he would have moved to the coveted #1 ranking. The finals loss retains the top spot for Bottcher...for now. Look how close these two rivals are though. They are basically in a dead-heat now.
And speaking of Toronto, Team Jacobs victory moves them to a season-high ranking of #8. Jacobs has been in the Top 10 all season, swapping between #9 and #10. But the big title win bumps them finally past "the other Brad". And Team Muirhead, who reached the QF in Basel at their first event of the season, holds on to their Top 10 spot but just over 100 points ahead of #11 Team Matsumura from Japan.
Oh that Scottish European Playdown for the 2019 European Curling Championship spot just got VERY interesting. #3 Mouat. #5 Paterson. # 10 Muirhead. They will fight it out this weekend to see who will represent Scotland in Helsinborg, Sweden this November! Visit the Scottish Curling page HERE to stay up to date on all the action.
Worth noting a bit further down the rankings, Team USA's top teams are in a basic deadlock right now. Team Dropkin, after a SF run in Toronto, along with Team Shuster, finalists in South Korea, and Team Ruohonen, picking up another title in St. Paul this weekend, are sitting tied for #21 and #23 respectfully. Dropkin and Shuster are deadlocked at 1355 points while Ruohonen is gaining ground at 1325. The blog will be keeping a closer eye on this #StarsAndStripes race.
What say you curling fans? Surprised by the movements on the mountain this weekend? Did you favourites move up or take a tumble down? Share your thoughts with other curling fans.
Welcome to Thanksgiving Weekend in Canada rock heads! While us Canadians enjoy turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and pie (oh the pies), we can also enjoy a full weekend of hits, guards, draws and runbacks.
The women have 4 #wct events this upcoming weekend, highlighted by the always popular Autumn Gold in Calgary. The Autumn Gold is a #Tour1000 event too so lots of points available. But there are also 2 #Tour500 events and a #Tour250 event.
The men? You can be thankful for a full curling spread this holiday weekend. Are you ready for eight events? EIGHT events! Yowzers....
PLUS we have our first world championship event of the season hitting the ice this weekend. The World Mixed Curling Championship get underway this Saturday. 40 nations will begin the hunt for world championship glory in Aberdeen, Scotland. And you know the blog will have a preview for you later in the week!
And check out the #TwineTime twitter page this weekend as the blog will have LIVE coverage from the Calgary Curling Club and the #AutumnGoldClassic. Some live pics, scores and who knows what else. Maybe a few #AskACurler post-match interviews?
HERE. Mental health impacts all of us, in one way or another. Be an ally. Be supportive. And never feel like you are in this alone! #MIAW19
Enjoy your week....