Roar of the Rings

Roar of the Rings

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 2 of 7

Winnipeg 2013 |P3 THE of WOODSTOCK CURLING ROCK FANS WHO ATTENDED WOODSTOCK WERE TREATED TO ONE OF THE MOST MEMORABLE EVENTS IN MUSIC HISTORY. THE SAME MIGHT BE SAID FOR A DIFFERENT KIND OF ROCK EXPERIENCE TAKING PLACE IN WINNIPEG NEXT MONTH. BY JUDY OWEN THE FREE PRESS A t least, that's according to longtime curler and fan Kent Simmons, who didn't think twice about picking up tickets for himself and his wife Liz to watch the Dec. 1-8 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings at MTS Centre. "To me, this is the Woodstock of curling," Simmons said. "The teams that are going to be here in Winnipeg are the best curlers in the world. Lots of people say the European teams Manitoba Blue Cross is a proud sponsor of the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings. Whether it's health, dental or travel, her r d ® at ca see what BLUE can do for you! have become very good and the Asian teams have gotten very good, too, but without a doubt the Canadian teams are the best in the world. "They're here on your doorstep so you cannot not go." It's hard to argue with Simmons' praise of the eight men's and eight women's teams competing at Roar of the Rings, the trials competition to select our country's representatives at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, next year. The star-studded field includes four Manitoba teams skipped by two-time world and three-time Brier champion Jeff Stoughton, world and fourtime Scotties champ Jennifer Jones, three-time provincial finalist Mike McEwen and two-time Manitoba finalist Chelsea Carey. Joining the locals in the 18-draw event are elite rinks skipped by 2010 Olympic gold medallist Kevin Martin, four-time Brier and fourtime world champion Glenn Howard, defending Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion Rachel Homan and Sherry Middaugh, who's making her fourth trip to the trials. It's that mix of local favourites, veterans and up-and-comers that has Roar of the Rings events manager Rob Dewhirst optimistic the attendance record of 175,852 set at Edmonton's 2009 Roar of the Rings could be broken. "There's already four Winnipeg-based teams in this event so that gives us a very good chance to get those kind of numbers in the building, and I'm sure those people will want to see those curlers chasing toward the championship and winning the right to represent Canada," he said. The event even has special zones in the MTS Centre where supporters of the four local rinks can buy tickets and show their allegiance by wearing the teams' colours – white for Jones and Stoughton, olive green for McEwen and violet for Carey. Dewhirst, who's managed the 2001 Roar of the Rings, five Briers, one Scotties and a women's world championship, expects ticket sales will climb as the eight-day event draws closer and the action begins. "More and more we're seeing people be part of the walk-up that joins this sport," he said. "They're making their decisions about what they're doing a lot closer to the wire than what we're used to." This is the second time Manitoba has hosted the trials. The first was 1997 in Brandon, where Saskatchewan's Sandra Schmirler and Ontario's Mike Harris earned the trip to the 1998 Olympics in Japan. The late Schmirler won gold and Harris took home the silver. Winnipeg has hosted five Briers, the last one in 2008 at the MTS Centre when Martin went undefeated. Attendance for that nine-day competition was 165,075. Holding this year's trials at the 15,004seat arena and fan events in nearby Winnipeg Convention Centre is a plus, Dewhirst said, noting Edmonton's Rexall Place venue wasn't a downtown location. The infamous Patch at the convention centre is the party site where fans can tip back a few brews and enjoy daily concerts. Dewhirst expects those fans will include visitors from across Canada. Simmons knows the fun major curling events can be. The University of Winnipeg biology instructor and his wife co-ordinated a 2000 trip to Scotland with attending the men's and women's world championships in Glasgow. They also went to the 2002 worlds in Bismarck, N.D., and Briers that have been held in Winnipeg. But there is a downside to watching the cream of the crop, said Simmons, who's curled for about 25 years and plays third and skip twice a week out of the Rossmere and Victoria curling clubs. "I know that my skip (Ed Chamaziuk) that I play with on Tuesday nights, he's going to be watching this (trials), too," Simmons said, chuckling. "And the next week when we get to our club curling, he's going to call these shots that he saw these pros make and he's going to want me to make the same shot. And I'm sorry, Eddie, that I am not Jeff Stoughton and that is not going to happen. "That's really the only other downside — is you are inspired by how well they perform to try the same things and I'm sorry we're just not at that level." ❚

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of Roar of the Rings - Roar of the Rings