Shark Curling

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So, the coach of the NHL San Jose Sharks wanted to take his squad curling, declaring the other ice game to be “Canada’s national sport, the Briar (sic) being more important than the Stanley Cup”.

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Well, Ron Wilsondid just that, with goaltender Evgeni Nabokov (photo) apparently participating with enthusiasm, but on the most obviously talentless foursome.

There's even a match report on the Sharks' website, which was reported in Spain, of all places.

• On the club curling front, there's some crazy-bad news out there. Fort Frances in northern Ontario is in trouble, and the curling club is asking the town for a $72,000 tax bill write-off; Dryden's Eagles Landing Golf & Curling Club has closed their curling operation, with the private owners claiming the 200-strong membership (they need 500) isn't enough to keep eight-sheeter going; and Summerside, PEI's Silver Fox club is in a complete and total uproar. A major developer plans to bring a large shopping centre project to the town, and all are on board except the Silver Fox, which would lose between 25 and 100 parking spots. Check out the increasingly public ugliness here, and here, and here.

On the plus side, the Misty Isles CC in B.C. is once again up and running thanks to donated time and equipment. Can we have some more "plus" stories, please?

• Nancy Leeis leaving CBC Sports for the world of IOC broadcasting, and her last known deal seems to be the signing of the Grand Slam of Curling. Her legacy is opined upon by Chris Zelkovich and William Houston, with surely many more to come. Meanwhile, Houston says various industry Canucks are up in arms over an American being hired to steer the TV production of Vancouver 2010 ...

• Today's Conman column in the Edmonton Sun tells of Cathy King’s recent Swiss effort, her world memories, and Alberta's femmethoughts on their revamped 2007 playdown system ...

• Jim Bender of the Winnipeg Sun throws the spotlight on the troops serving under the resurgent Kerry Burtnyk ...

• The Winnipeg Free Press (subscription only) recently reported that everyone in the online curling world had a cashpiel result wrong: turns out two-time defending Manitoba junior champion Calleen Neufeld actually won the final of the Agricore United Curling Classic in Beausejour last weekend. So why did the MCT, CurlingZone and even the Free Press initially announce opponent Darcy Robertson as the 6-5 winner (Neufeld actually won by a 7-6 count)?

Event chairman Doug May eventually took the blame telling the Freep how he faxed in the score from the ninth end to both radio station CJOB and the MCT website, setting in motion a rather wrong chain of events. D'oh!

Neufeld took the snafu over her first-ever women's title in stride, telling the Freep: "It's too bad the result went out wrong. But we still got the ($1,500 winner's) cheque, so that's good."

• Did you know the European Mixed Championships are underway right now in Claut, Italy? Well, now you do ...

• Here's a media peek at the Scranton CC in Pennsylvania...

• RONA, an official Canadian Olympic partner, is busily crossing that country and unveiling the names of 100 athletes who will be supported under their “Growing with Our Athletes” program, but so far there’s not a curling name among them...

• CurlingZone has a nifty poll question up asking “Which marks the furthest event to which you are travelling to watch live curling?” ...

• BLOGBITES: for those curlers who regularly suffer the pain of playing on hockey ice, here’s some moaning and groaning from the other side of fence: hockey players who are appalled to see curling rings painted on their ice ... Team Bender has snapped back at critics of 2005 Manitoba champ Randy Dutiaume ... here's one fellow's loooong explanation of a curling experience in Wake Forest, North Carolina ... and the new CurlDuluth blog is just weirding us out ...

• And finally, another timewaster: if you can get though Biathalon and Ski Jumping, “Nordic Chill” will reward you with a non-sliding, five-rock exhibition of curling... where a single bounce along the side boards is apparently quite legal...!