2007-08 Season Launch

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The curling season is underway.

In fact, this was first declared by the Scots – who have the divine right to make such a declaration, we say – back on September 3, but it really hit home on Sunday, as the results of the first major cash tournament of the year came in.

Item number one on both the World Curling Tour Europe and the Asham World Curling Tour was Switzerland’s Baden Masters, and 2006 Olympic winner Brad Gushue is the champion (photo by Urs Raeber). The new Gushues defeated recent Ford World runner-up Andy Kapp of Germany in the final, 5-4 in an extra end (the ninth), while Switzerland’s Andi Schwaller and Bernard Werthemann both lost in the semis. Big names also made the quarterfinals, in the person(s) of Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud and Scotland’s David Murdoch.

“Because we didn’t have any ice going into the event we didn’t know what to expect,” Gushue told The Curling News. “We’re excited to get off to a such a good start.”

A big announcement occurred in Atlantic Canada just moments ago, as the World Curling Federation made it official: the 2009 Ford World Men’s Championship will be hosted in Moncton, New Brunswick, April 4-12 of that year.

It will mark the 51st world men’s titleshoot, and follows Moncton’s legacy of hosting grand events, for the world (1980 Silver Broom) for Canada (1985 Brier) and for those who love money (1990 Moncton 100)... and 50th anniversary celebrations should be in full swing, as recently proposed by curling legend Doug Maxwell shortly before his death. The same Doug Maxwell who, incidentally, was the major architect of the Moncton 100, amongst his many, many sporting accomplishments.

We’ll have a full report on Maxwell’s recent memorial service, including thoughts from some of the many curling heavyweights who journeyed to the service, in the first print edition of The Curling News, coming out in late October. We invite you to subscribe, naturally.

And to anyone who dares think the 09 Worlds might not be a spectacular event, you are forgetting the mayor of Moncton is former CCA President Lorne Mitton. And that the current WCF President, Les Harrison, lives about 10 minutes away from the arena. And that the current CCA Vice-President is also a New Brunswicker.

Clearly, New Brunswick is well on its way to becoming the new epicentre of curling power. What’s next... will a prominent curling internet wizard, for example, relocate to some beachfront property near Fredericton? Could happen, but who knows. We’re just speculating.

Elsewhere, the curling news has been piling up ...

• Here’s a closer look at Niagara Falls native Greg Stremlaw, the new CCA CEO ...

• Is British Columbia’s Salmon Valley CC in trouble?

• Two members of the USA Senior Women’s team recently engaged in a new business startup – their own bank ...

• Curling has returned to Salt Lake City, as the Wasatch Curling Club’s Friday league – and Learn To Curl sessions – will wrap up soon, after September 21. Location is the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns ...

• Sounds like Midland, Minnesota will be getting a new curling club... while the Green Bay CC in Wisconsin is celebrating its 50th anniversary ...

• Remember the 2002 Worlds in Bismark, North Dakota? Their local media has gone bonkers over their one-in-three chance to host the 2009 U.S. Nationals, which will also serve as the U.S. Olympic Trials for 2010. Read all about it here, and here, and here ...

• Still with the U.S. – holy smokes! – they say that Hibbing will host the U.S. men’s and women’s national shootout. The men’s champs will head just down the highway to Grand Forks, North Dakota for the 2008 World Men’s ...

• Recent Canadian Brier competitor Jon Solberg is headed to Whitehorse to lead that city’s curling club, which will also host another WCT event in November ...

• First a brand new curling facility (as profiled in The Curling News); and now the gift of ancient stones in Swift Current, Saskatchewan ...