As another calender year is set to turn the page, the curling season builds toward some major events in 2012. The month of January has many exciting events for curling fans to look forward to after another successful year of curling.
The 2011 curling season brought us the trial of the five rock rule at the Canadian Open, the second grand slam of the event of the year, to try and create more scoring and excitement in games. The scoring went up but the jury is still out on whether the new rule will be implemented into more events in the future.
Before that experiment, the first two teams into the 2013 Canadian Olympic curling trials were declared at the Canada Cup of Curling. Kevin Martin topped Glenn Howard and continues to have Howard’s number in head to head battles. Martin will have the opportunity to play for another Olympic trip in 2014. On the women’s side it was Jennifer Jones getting the first spot when she beat fellow Winnipegger Chelsea Carey in the final. The 2013 trials will be held in Winnipeg.
With those events behind us, the focus is on January events which include the beginning of provincial playdowns in Canada and national playdowns all over the world. For provincial updates in Canada follow curling.ca.
Before some of the men’s teams get into the provincial championships, the third grand slam of the year hits Dawson Creek, BC beginning January 25th. Mike McEwen and his team will try to win their second straight slam after winning the Canadian Open in December.
The Grand Slam event will have some European teams taking part as they extend their stay in Canada after playing for the Continental Cup in Langley. In a tremendous field, Team World will look to make up for an embarrassing loss last year. The team features the recently crowned European Champions from Scotland skipped by Eve Muirhead. Joining Muirhead will be the team they beat at the Europeans in Sweden’s Anette Norberg along with China’s Bingyu Wang. On the men’s side, European silver medallist Niklas Edin will join Scotland’s Tom Brewster and European champion Thomas Ulsrud of Norway.
The team from North America tasked with trying to win in back to back years will be led by World Champion Jeff Stoughton, joined by the team he beat to win last season’s Brier, Glenn Howard and from the States will be Pete Fenson. On the women’s side of things it will be a Saskatchewan duo representing Canada in Canadian Champion Amber Holland and Stefanie Lawton. Joining them from south of the 49th will be Patti Lank. North America holds a 4-3 record over the World all time.
As we say goodbye to another great year of curling in 2011, 2012 is sure to have more memorable moments in the roaring game. January’s busy schedule will help to welcome in the new year, as we watch the rocks fly in 2012.