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After spending several years curling out of Alberta, Saskatchewan native Pat Simmons will play out of Manitoba next season as he will take over for Jason Gunnlaugson with the 2016 Canadian Junior Champions who play out of Winnipeg. Colton Lott, Kyle Doering and Robbie Gordon will join up with their 4th skip in three seasons, playing with Dunstone in 2015/16 season, last season with Gunnlaugson in Men’s play and Braden Calvert for Manitoba Junior playdowns where they lost the provincial final to JT Ryan.

The team currently holds a spot in the Road to the Roar Olympic Pre-Trials being held in November 2017 in Summerside, PEI and by maintaining 3 of their original 4 from this season’s lineup will be eligible to claim that spot when it is officially offered at the end of the season.

 
 

The Switzerland Mixed Doubles National Championship just concluded in Biel Switzerland with Martin Rios and Jenny Perret winning a best of three final over Michelle and Reto Gribi to advance to the World Championships.

What has recently come to light is accusations of cheating during the draw 3 game on Friday between Rios/Perret and Jaggi/Freiberger after video has surfaced from their game showing what appears to be a purposely redirected stone by Martin Rios on a missed shot that helps make the shot.

The game had gone into an extra end with the teams tied at 6 with Jaggi/Freiberger holding the hammer and last shot. On Rios/Perret’s last shot, they needed a short runback to remove a stone from the button or the game would be over with the win going to Jaggi/Freiberger. The shot appeared to be tight for line, but at the last minute the rock moved outward and was made.

The last shot for Freiberger was not hard, just needing to promote his own onto their opponent’s stone, but as karma would have it, a pick caused their last stone to over-curl and miss giving Perret/Rios the steal and “possibly stolen” win.

Watch the game here, skip ahead to 1:44:00 to watch the last two shots:
Swiss Mixed Doubles: Perret/Rios vs Jaggi/Freiberger

The classic foot wedge… often used in golf to improve your lie but in curling, it would take some crafty work to improve a shot without being noticed. Accusations of cheating have been made in the past but to consider using it when you know the games are being streamed and recorded is surpring.

A close-up full speed look at the shot:

A look at it with the shot paused at key spots:

Lines drawn to show to path of the delivered stone:

You have to wonder if there was any intent in what appears to be a touch, but after it happened you can’t excuse the team not saying something about it. As the videos above show, it seems to be very likely that the rock was on a path to nose hit the stone and ended up being redirected by the sweeper’s foot as he flipped around the back of the stone.

Had this shot been missed the game would have been over and Jaggi/Freiberger would have had the extra-end win. It’s understandable that neither Jaggi or Freiberger would have protested too much at the time of the shot, they were unsure they saw what they saw and left with a very makeable shot for the win, they kept their focus on the game and threw a good stone for the win. Unfortunately, the curling gods were not on their side that day and we’re left with this mess to sort out.

The event was a 7 team round robin with 3 teams considered favourites to compete for the title, the finalists Rios/Perret and Gribi/Gribi who both went 5-1 in the Round Robin and Michele Jaggi/Mario Freiberger who went 4-2 and were awarded the Bronze medal.

You can see in the video that Jaggi/Freiberger knew something may have happened and were asking their opponents about what happened. Teams checked the video after the game but until they saw it a day later on a full-screen computer was it much more obvious that something untoward may have happened.

Swiss curling players and fans are understandably upset:

Reportedly an investigation is underway to determine whether any sanctions or changes in the results should happen.

 

 

 
 

With the rise of Asian curling, it’s clear that something needs to change in how teams qualify for the World Curling Championships.

China, Japan and Korea are all medal contenders when they attend the Worlds, but in any given year only two are eligible to qualify. With Europe receiving eight berths, the Americas getting two berths leaving the Pacific-Asia region with only two berths with these three countries putting together elite calibre programs.

Last year it was China who missed both the Men’s and Women’s Worlds and now this year on the women’s side it will be the 2016 Silver Medalists Japan who will miss when Satsuki Fujisawa lost in the Semifinals to China at the Pacific-Asia Championships earlier this month. On the men’s side, Korea’s Soo Hyuk Kim loss in the semifinals will also mean Korea misses the Worlds.

It’s time for a change to make it possible for all three countries to qualify for Worlds. It’s truly a shame that Satsuki Fujisawa (or other Japanese teams) will not be at the Women’s Worlds this year to try and improve upon their runner-up finish. Outside the top 3 in Europe, the rest of the field ranks well behind the top teams from China, Japan and Korea on the Order of Merit World Rankings.

Rankings:

Eve Muirhead (Scotland) – 5th Ranked on Order of Merit
Anna Hasselborg (Sweden) – 7th
Binia Feltscher (Switzerland) – 16th
Victorya Moiseeva (Russia) – 124th

Those are the elite teams and had Anna Sidorova qualified for Russia she would have made it four strong medal contenders, though the young Victorya Moiseeva team looks like they just need more experience to be in the same position.  Outside this group, there is little hope for medalling at the World Championships

Daniela Jentsch (Germany) – 55th
Anna Kubeskova (Czech Republic) – 72nd
Lene Nielsen (Denmark) – 79th

They are teams who if they put it all together could challenge for medals at Worlds but history suggests they’re a long shot most years. The young Czech team has had a great season and are looking good at Europeans this year. All these teams along with the top 3 are pretty much a lock to qualify for the World Championships while the 3rd ranked team in Asia will miss out. Truly a shame.

With seven guaranteed spots for the A Group in Europe and 1 more spot to be played for between the B Group winner and 8th place team in the A Division, this means that one of Italy (Federica Apolonio), Finland (Anne Malmi) and Norway (Kristin Skaslien) will be playing for a World Championship berth.

EunJung Kim (Korea) – 10th
Satsuki Fujisawa (Japan) – 20th
Ayumi Ogasawara (Japan) – 24th
Bingyu Wang (China) – 29th
Un-Chi Gim (Korea) – 39th
Chiaki Matsumura (Japan) – 52nd

All better than the 4TH seed in Europe this year. It’s a problem with the current system. Something needs to be done for competitive equality.

On the men’s side, change needs to be considered as well as the Asian teams rank highly on the Order of Merit with Soo Hyuk Kim (Korea) ranking 28th, Yusuke Morozumi (Japan) 33rd and Rui Liu (China) 44th. All belong at the World Championships over the 6-8th ranked teams in Europe with Finland’s Aku Kauste ranking 6th in the A Division at 47th overall.

While you don’t want to take anything away from Europe as the sheer number of countries that playdown for the Worlds dwarfs anywhere else, there is a solution that could make everyone happy.

Currently, the 8th place teams in the A Division plays a best of 3 against the B Division Champion to earn their country a berth to the World Championships. This playoff should be expanded to include the 7th place team in the A Division, along with the 3rd place team in Asia and have them play off for two berths into the World Championships. A four-team Double Knockout playoff  would take the same number of draws as the current Best-of-Three series used at the European Championships currently.

This gives Europe 8 berths to play for while offering the Pacific-Asia region to chance to play for three berths. With the growth of the game exploding in Asia and the competitive proficiency of the teams, it is where the game needs to go.

 

 

 
 

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In this episode the girls discuss the results of the Tour Challenge in Cranbrook BC, Colleen Jones’ induction to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, coaching styles, and “Morning Classes” at the Brier! Enjoy!

Enjoy!

Have a Listen:

 
 

In this episode, the girls discuss the results of last weekend’s slam in Okotoks, the women of curling calendar, and an interview with Allison Flaxey. With Alli, the girls discuss her first ever Slam win and play a game of “pick or pan” – topics ranging from white belts to Bachelorette Canada.

Enjoy!

Have a Listen:

 
 

Interview with The Hoff, otherwise known as Ryan Giddens, 3rd-year curler turned 5th player with Team Adam Casey from PEI at the 2016 Brier, deemed too elite to now play in the club championship playdowns.

Enjoy!

Have a Listen:

 
 

Two Girls and a Game includes Mike Harris in their first guest interview.

Topics include Olympic experiences, coaching Team Brewster, his choice for Mixed Doubles and thoughts on curlers

Enjoy!

Have a Listen:

 
 

Two Girls and a Game are back with their first podcast episode of the 2016/17 curling season.

Topics include:

– Is the off season too short,
– Fun things the curlers did over the summer
– Changes to Scotties/Brier formats
– Sweeping updates
– Results from first 3 tour events
– How much working out is too much?

Enjoy!

Have a Listen:

 
 

2 Girls and a Game – A Curling Podcast

Our show reflects our insights and observations about our favourite game, the athletes and their stories during the biggest competitions. The Girls cover the Champions Cup, special skips, the World Mixed Doubles and Season ending awards!

Have a Listen:

 
 
 
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