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Ontario Curling Tour | CurlingZone
 Category Archives: Ontario Curling Tour

Ontario Curling Tour

Are we setting up clubs to fail? – Gerry Geurts, CurlingZone/Ontario Curling Tour

Another year and another long list of complaining on the Ontario Curling forums about ice conditions at the playdowns which saw Glenn Howard getting knocked out of contention, losing 2 at Regions and then going 0-2 at the Challenge Round to miss the provincials for the first time since the 2003 boycott year.

While getting into whether Howard “deserved better” is for another blog, my concerns are more about playable ice conditions and that curling clubs and icemakers are being put up to an impossible standard as their facilities and the icemaker’s processes are not set up for 12-14 ends of competitive ice.

When you consider that teams get 7 minutes of practice time to learn the ice, you’ll see them throw up and back, twice or more, putting at least 2 ends of play onto the ice before the game even starts. Add in a possible extra end and curling clubs are facing the burden of trying to make ice conditions that need to hold up for DOUBLE the normal club play when you factor in the increased sweeping prowess of these great young teams.

Because of this, we’ve seen problems at clubs that cause randomized conditions that don’t allow the club and icemakers to fully showcase their abilities. The icemakers are forced to tinker and experiment with their tempatures to try and hold up to the conditions and that can often sacrifice curl and speed that these players desire.

Reports out of Gravenhurst was that the icemaker was in consultation with the OCA Ice Team and trying to get more curl on his ice, thus he raised the temperature to get a little more swing, but this also pushes the limit of how long the ice will hold up and in the Region 3 playdowns the reports were that the teams had to deal with a lot of picks.These picks will happen because the ice is softer/warmer and will wear down faster leaving flat spots with no pebble left on the ice, causing the rocks to “pick”.

At the Challenge Round on the weekend, conditions in Bradford were reported to be 3-3.5 feet of curl and teams were looking forward to the opportunity to play on better ice. The end result though was that it seems the icemaker turned his temperature down to allow the ice to withstand the punishment of 12-14 ends of curling, with the result being less curl and disappointed teams.

This is certainly no fault of the ice crews as they’re doing the best they can and reaching out for help. The problem is that we’re expecting them to work miracles with an event format they will rarely see in their club.

The solution: 2 up and 2 back in practice, limit the time to 7 minutes but don’t make it a rush to throw as many stones. Another practice that should be implemented is requiring teams to throw their draw to button, which has been tested in Ontario Curling Tour events and is now used in the Grand Slams as well.

Go to 8 ends for Zone and Regional play and then when you get to Provincials we go back to 10 ends. It will make for better conditions to play on for the preliminary levels of the game, and give the curlers the consistency they desire.

While 4 feet of curl and 25 second ice is great to have at all levels, I believe that all curlers really want is to be able to confidently draw the button in the Final end of their curling game.


It is with much enthusiasm that the organizing committee and the board of directors of the Buckingham Curling Club announce today the 5th edition of the Challenge Château Cartier de Gatineau which will be held from October 23th to 27th 2013 at the centre sportif Robert Rochon (Masson-Angers sector of Gatineau) as well as the Buckingham Curling Club and the Thurso Curling Club.

This tournament is part of the 2013-2014 World Curling Tour » (WCT) and is considered as one of the most important competitions held in Eastern Canada.

For this 5th edition, there are 32 elite men’s teams, 16 women’s elite teams and 20 open class teams registered for a total of 68 teams coming from 8 Canadian provinces and from Sweden. All these teams will play for a record total purse of more than $65,000.

Highlighting some of the most notable men’s elite teams:

  • The 2013 Canadian Champions and currently ranked # 2 team on the WCT, the team skipped by Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste-Marie;
  • The 2012 defending Challenge Champions, the team skipped by Mark Dacey from Halifax;
  • The gold medalist from the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Brad Gushue;
  • The 2013 Quebec Champions skipped by Gatineau’s Jean-Michel Ménard.

Highlighting some of the most notable women’s elite teams :

  • The 2013 Canadian Champions and currently ranked # 1 team on the WCT, the team skipped by de Rachel Homan of Ottawa;
  • The 2012 defending Challenge Champions, the team skipped by Julie Reddick of Toronto;
  • The team skipped by Cissi Ostlund from Sweden, a member of the 2011 world championship team;
  • The 2013 Quebec Champions skipped by Allison Ross from Montreal.

The director of the Challenge, Mr. Dany Beaulieu would like to highlight that there are 8 teams (6 men’s and 2 women’s) registered in the Gatineau tournament that are currently part of the upcoming Olympic selection process for Canada.

The elite teams will take the ice at the Centre sportif Robert-Rochon starting at 8:30 Thursday October 24th . The tournament goes until Sunday October 27th when the Finals will be played at 15:30.

The Open Class games will get under way Wednesday October 23rd at 18:45 at the Centre sportif Robert-Rochon. Most of the remaining games will be held at the Buckingham and Thurso Curling Clubs except for the semi finals and finals which will be held at the Centre sportif Robert-Rochon on October 27th starting at noon .

The “On the Rocks” lounge, located on the 2nd floor of the centre sportif Robert Rochon, will allow spectators to comfortably view the many games. The daily admission fee will be 5$ for spectators.

Buckingham Curling Club’s president, Mr. Alain Deschâtelets, reminded the importance of the many partners, sponsors, collaborators and volunteers that will make this major event successful and which will have significant economic benefits for Gatineau and all of the National Capital region. Mr. Deschâtelets highlighted the contribution of the City of Gatineau, Curling Québec, TC Média and the title sponsor of the event, Le Château Cartier now referred to as Double Tree by Hilton Gatineau-Ottawa.

Representing our title sponsor, Double Tree by Hilton Gatineau-Ottawa, Mr. Pierre Charette is proud to once again be partnering with the most prestigious curling tournament in our region. Mr. Charette also mentioned the great work done by Mr. Dany Beaulieu and his organizing committee to ensure the success of this event and outlined the efforts of the Buckingham Curling Club’s board of directors for showcasing the sport of curling in our region.

Request for information:                

Dany Beaulieu
Director, 2013 Challenge Château Cartier de Gatineau
(819) 213-7027

Alain Deschatelets
Buckingham Curling Club President
(819) 986-2284

Web Site :


We’ll be streaming on Youtube all weekend from the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard, with games archived soon after they complete.  The event wraps up on Sunday with the playoffs at 9am (Quarterfinals), 12:30pm (Semfinals) and Finals at 4pm ET.

Be sure to check out our schedule link below for the latest update on game times:


Eastern Time (ET)
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