Un autre virus! Pas de poutine!
Mike Fournier is a columnist for The Curling News and also blogs – impressively – at In The House. He is in Montreal for Quebec’s first hosting of the Canadian women’s curling championship in decades, and we have republished his most recent blogpost below...
MONTREAL – Why are all the teams the same colour as Saskatchewan’s jackets?
So far, the big story at the STOH has been the flu, or food poisoning, or the plague, or whatever has been passed around more than a cold sore at the Brier Patch.
Here is a pic of me at the event, at left – Day 4.
Definitely the worst job this week: Hotel Cleaning Lady at the Westin! Almost every sheet has a fifth player on the ice, and Saskatchewan and BC are competing with only three players. The Quebec second just left her game after the fifth end, looking a lovely shade of Saskatchewan green. The players are in full sanitizing mode – no more shaking hands or sharing lip gloss in the locker room.
I actually saw someone Purell her rock before throwing.
As for the actual curling, Rachel Homan seems to be back to her juggernaut form from last year, tearing through the competition only slightly less violently than the flu. Val Sweeting has looked good as well. If Saskatchewan can manage to keep finding three or four people healthy enough to curl, they are looking good for a playoff spot as well.
Feel good story of the week is definitely the Sarah Koltun team from the Territories, who have quickly become the crowd favourites (apart from Quebec of course). They are all younger than my sliding broom, and cuter than an internet cat video. You have to cheer for them.
There will be an interesting battle at the bottom as teams fight to avoid finishing last or second-last, as these provinces will have to face RELEGATION. This means that they will have to return home and tell all of their peers that as a result of their bad week, next year’s provincial champion will have to play a pre-STOH playdown in order to get into the tournament. Not an enviable position. I am hoping Quebec can pull a few wins out in the next few games to avoid that pressure at the end of the week!
So how is Montreal doing so far as a host?
Well, hit and miss. The site is awesome, the ice is awesome, the crowds have been okay. The HeartStop Lounge has been fun. And we have fans in Morph suits.
However, the concessions stands have been a bit shaky. I am sitting in the only arena in Quebec where I can’t buy a hot dog or a poutine. I was unaware that you could call yourself a Quebec arena if you don’t sell poutine. The local rink in the park sells poutine. The churches sell poutine. How can the Quebec STOH not have poutine available in the stands?
And did I mention we can’t buy beer in the arena? Really. I believe I have never watched a live curling game without alcohol. It is a strange experience. I saw Dan Gregoire walking around the crowd looking lost. I barely recognized him without a beer in his hands.
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