World’s Top Curlers Coming to Saskatoon

Blades fans came out in big numbers for the team’s playoff run. (Photo by Darren Steinke)

It’s been quite a while since we have had a big-time curling event in our city. The last was the Tim Hortons Brier in 2012.

This week the Humpty’s Champions Cup is being played here. It’s the final event on the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling calendar for this season. There are 15 of the best women’s teams and 15 of the best men’s teams in the world competing. It wouldn’t be too big a stretch to say galaxy. 

On the women’s side, you have Rachel Homan and Jennifer Jones for starters. 

On the men’s side, how do Kevin Koe and Brad Gushue treat you? 

There are outstanding teams from Asian countries and others from Europe. There are two teams from our neck of the woods: Robyn Silvernagle of North Battleford and Kirk Muyres from here in the big city. Both have been impressive this season. 

And all of this is in our backyard at beautiful Merlis Belsher Place. The arena, which seats approximately 2,700 people, is a perfect size for events other than the Brier and the Olympic trials. 

Curling is great on television, but there is something about seeing these folks live. They are worth the price of admission.

Last week, we tweeted our story about the headliners at the SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival. And Lyle Lovett, one of the mainstage performers, “liked” it. That’s pretty cool in the world of tweeting.

It is sounding like Rob Norris is going to take on Charlie Clark for the mayor’s job next fall. Mayor Clark isn’t invincible, but it will be tough to rattle his chains. He has a strong base, given he has the local NDP machine backing him. 

Norris would have to make inroads in Ward 6, where Clark owns the vote — or take a big bite out of the mayor’s total elsewhere. It would help Norris if a left winger joined the fray. Don Atchison lost to Clark by 3,000 votes in 2016. Some feel he lost the election when a solid third candidate, Kelley Moore, stumbled down the stretch. 

Many feel this council has been as inept as any we have had in modern times. It has been wishy-washy and certainly hasn’t moved ahead with many major projects. There seems to be a fixation on the landfill, transit and bike lanes. 

The departures of many of the top people at city hall have also been a concern. Typically in civic politics members of the administration stay put. Changes seemed political and/or personal.

It will be interesting to see how the 2020 election plays out. 

Tiger Woods’ victory at the Masters was one of the greatest fashion comeback stories of all time. Look for people to start wearing mock turtlenecks.

Nicknames can get started in the simplest of ways.

I recall reading a StarPhoenix story from the city men’s curling playdowns back when 32 teams emerged from 200 at the club level. A curler named Reg was referred to as Bob in the story. He became Bob or Bobby for as long as I knew him. He didn’t like it, but the damage was done.

This came to mind when I was listening to John Gormley’s radio show during a work break last week. He was interviewing a person who may or may not have been an expert on the Alberta election. My ears perked up when I heard her call him Roy — as in Roy Gormley. 

She said it at least three more times. John inserted his name into the conversation, clearly hoping she would take the cue. I was out of my car before hearing the rest of the interview, so I don’t know how it ended.

But this I know: Roy Gormley has a nice ring to it.

Congratulations to the Saskatoon Blades on their great season. I was at one of the games in the Prince Albert series and it brought back memories of days of yore when the team played in the downtown arena. The noise level and fan engagement were great then and were fantastic during the series with P.A. 

Kirby Dach is a great young player. I can’t remember a Blade with hands like his in decades. And Nolan Maier is following the long line of great Blades goaltenders.

Both players will be back next year, so get out and watch them.