Le Gruyère European Curling Championships 2008

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Lots of stuff going on this week – but first, Euro 2008.

And no, not the summer footyfest.

The scene: one year ago in Füssen, Germany. In the “Party Zone”.

The question sounded innocent enough: How does it feel to win a spot into the A-division of next December’s Le Gruyère European Championships, and a chance to compete in the 2009 Worlds?

The tall, handsome fellow leaned against the bar and gestured with his hands. “It’s weird,” he said.

He shrugged.

“We are Spain. We are not even supposed to be here with the big boys.”

Antonio de Mollideno skips the Spanish national men’s team that will already make history when they take to the ice tomorrow at this Le Gruyère Euro shootout in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden.

Mollinedo’s foursome managed to finish second among the myriad of B-pool teams at last year’s Euros and qualified for this year's A-division, in which the top seven squads will qualify their country for the 2009 Ford Worlds in Moncton. In the TCN photo (above) taken in Füssen by Urs Raeber, Mollinedo (right) leads his grinning squad on their “victory” march down the ice.

And hey... who is that waving the Spanish flag and sign in the background? Anyone?

As this multi-featured Spanish spotlight continues in the December issue of The Curling News, it becomes quite obvious to the reader that Spain might have a better chance of qualifying for Moncton than Brazil.

The Brazilians must beat the United States in a best-of-three “challenge” showdown next month. The Spaniards just need to string some wins together to finish in the top seven in O’vik.

O’vik is a critical championship for another reason – it marks that beginning of the “last chance” for European teams to make it to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

European curling fans are in for a viewing bonanza, as all-sports channel Eurosport is covering 10 matches in High-Definition, and a total of 24 games online via the new Eurosport Player.

Moreover, the Eurosport Player – a subscription service – is available to European (only) curling fans at 25 per cent off the regular rates, for either a monthly or yearly (ending April 30, 2009) subscription.

Subscribers in selected countries need only input their nation’s special code to get the discounted access – click here to see the list of countries and their respective access codes.

Games are also available through STV in Sweden and the Swedish curling webstreamer Curlingkanalen. Rumour also has it that CurlTV is picking up the Curlingkanalen games – although we hadn’t seen anything yet on their website.

The usual brigade of Canadian TV crew members are in Sweden, producing all the feeds for World Curling Television (WCTV). There are also a few Canadian coaches accompanying the more than 51 teams representing 29 countries.

Lots of world news pickup of ECC 08, from Spain to Ingerlund as well as in France, Scotland and Germany. As for hosts Sweden, this news site asks if viewers will watch the games: as of very early Friday morning, 35 per cent said yes and 60 per cent said no (another five per cent “don’t know”). Meanwhile, this event preview story also asked the same poll question, but this one has the Jas at 76 per cent and the Nejs at 24 per cent.

Finally, we all know who is there representing Sweden’s women, but who makes up the “other” Swedish team?

And there’s more. There is always more, here at The Curling News Blog ...

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• Also on The National website is a reprint of a story that first appeared in the March/April 1971 edition of Canadian Curling News. The bizarre goings on at the Fuddle-Duddle Brier first appeared a year ago in our paper, now called The Curling News, and the mayhem is not to be missed ...

• Dallas, Texas just loves their curling-promo stories, while WDIO-TV Duluth has both text and video located here and Mankato, Minn. has got KEYC-TV all fired up ...

• Still in America, the Grand National Curling Club has started a men’s curling tour in the eastern United States. Here’s a link (PDF download), and do watch for a special celebration of those GNCC crazies in the upcoming January print issue of TCN ...

• DID YOU KNOW: that the 2008 Tim Hortons Brier in Winnipeg raked in almost $450,000, good for seventh place in the career Brier attendance ...

• Sault Ste. Marie’s local blat is calling for local investment in the 2010 Scotties ...

• Only 14 Winnipeg teams have entered the city’s Scotties TOH playdowns. Yikes ...

• The Dominion is back – again – as a sponsor of yet another national championship, the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) shootout, which heads to Montreal in 2009 ...

• And speaking of The Dominion, 26 Manitoba curling clubs are into the Dominion Club Championship (so far) ...

• Here’s a story of a local fill-in team at the big Brooks Tour event last month ...

• A curling safety head band? Why not?

• OK, wait a minute, the Swift Current Broncos would like to clarify that they are indeed OK with the 2010 Ford Worlds coming to “their” arena ...

• Cool T-shirt alert: click here and go to “Collections”, re. the second image ...

• Tickets are now on sale of the B.C. men’s provincial at Golden Ears ...

• And finally, a big Way To Go the Yorkton CC in Saskatchewan: they turned 100 years old yesterday ...