Archive for: ‘August 2018’

And the winners are…..

24/08/2018 Posted by admin

The Bronze medal game is in the books at the 2010 Ford World Men’s Curling Championships. Sweden won with a tenth end draw for the victory and this team’s first medal at the world championships. Congratulations to them for this accomplishment. Norway is also to be congratulated for a tremendous comeback from early in the round robin to make the playoffs. They continue also to bring color and attention to the game both with their attire and personalities alike. And the winners are … I think curling in general on this one – eight great personalities to continue to carry the game forward internationally.

The gold medal game is about to begin – another great crowd and a little extra pride in the atmosphere to say the least. The building reminds me of the World Junior Hockey atmosphere last new year’s eve in Saskatoon. A great first end – a great last rock by Scotland’s Tom Brewster and a nice pressure tap by Canada’s Jeff Stoughton facing five.

More nice shots converted in the second end and a blank for Scotland. Canada looks sharp and Scotland has played them shot for shot thus far.

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The third end saw Canada become aggressive and throw a second center guard following a Scotland miss. A bit of an exchange of power through the first number of rocks followed by a Jon Mead freeze sliding a rock width too deep set the stage for another great shot (triple) by Scottish third Greg Drummond. A deuce for Scotland and a nice confidence building open draw for the memory bank – those are nice to have early in a game.

More pressure by Scotland in the 4th end – Canada forced to play the more difficult shots all end and making most of them, just not perfectly. Same holds true for Canada’s last – steal of one and a 3-1 lead after four ends.

The fifth end and some nice freezes/taps. Tom’s last freeze attempt just failed to curl leaving Jeff a bumper weight nose hit for three – perfectly executed and called followed by a huge spine-tingling eruption. Despite the turn-around in five, Tom Brewster has to be happy with his teams first half performance – they are right there.

Fifth end break, and speaking of fifth’s Kelly Knapp just delivered my cheeseburger and drink – read my mind on the orange pop like a good fifth man should.

The sixth end, my burger was unreal, and Scotland scored one.

A shift in momentum clear as the seventh end takes shape, but instead of pressing and possibly getting forced, Canada recognized the importance of hammer on the even ends this late in the game and decided with Jon Mead to clean the guards and take a blank and hammer into the eighth end of a 4-4 tie. I’m not always too bright but this eighth end may be a big one.

A huge double and roll by Steve Gould on his second shot and a split house with enough half shots by Scotland resulting in an easy dream deuce for Canada. Up two with two to play.

Playing by the scoreboard by Canada and good rock management by Scotland leaving the hit for two – but a tick and roll out and opportunity missed. Canada 6, Scotland 5 coming home.

Two ticks from Steve, and a host of peels including Jeff’s first and the new 2010 World Champions Team Canada.

A great game to see live. Tom Brewster played with that trademark intensity and passion that makes him so entertaining to watch. His young players were up to the task – I somehow don’t think we’ve seen the last from this team.

What can you say about Team Canada – Jon and Steve spent two hours yesterday at the Callie CC participating in the Parkinson’s bonspiel because a random person asked if the would in the patch the night before. They took the entire week in, enjoyed themselves, and that came across with their on ice game as the week went along.

Trapped in the patch again – it’s been a long patch year, so what’s one more night?

 

Congrats to all the volunteers – this has been a great event to be a part of.

 

International Flavor

24/08/2018 Posted by admin

Hi Saskatchewan. I thought I’d tell you a little true story with a little international flavor to get us all pumped up for the big game tonight involving Canada and Scotland. The year was 2005 – the squad – Ben Hebert (pre-fame), Chris Haichert, Jeff Sharp and myself. Chris had just started firefighters college in Brandon however, so one Steve Laycock (then lead for Brad Heidt) was joining us to play lead for the weekend. We were on our way to Port Hawkesbury NS and the grand slam event their. This particular event was interesting because it featured the top eight Canadian teams and the top eight international teams at the time. Ben and I land in Halifax and begin the ride when a call comes in from Jeff saying they are stuck in Saskatoon – heavy snow. We are scheduled to play our first game against Scotland’s Tom Brewster soon after we arrive. So we basically have the car ride to round up a team. Ahh – Russ Howard – coaching the Swiss team – could this be a possibility? No – this was a new gig; he didn’t want to run off and curl when he was there to coach ( understandable). Ralph Stoekli’s team from Switzerland did have a fifth present, and Russ pointed out that this would be an option. Sign him up, one down – one to go. A few calls later and Ben reached John Morris, also on route. “Any ideas Johnny” asked Ben – “Well, their is one”, was the reply. Perfect – team fielded.

Perfect team – fielded : Lead – ‘the pearl’ Earle Morris ( John’s Dad – he called the game)
Second – Patrick Hurlimann – 1998 Olympic gold medalist
Third – Ben Hebert (pre-fame)
Skip – Pat Simmons

Ok, so we’re thinking – let’s keep it close, maybe pull out a close game late as everyone gets comfortable.
The pearl had other thoughts – he went top four foot and tight guard like it was his job and called a masterpiece for a multiple point steal in the first end. Then Hurlimann got in on the mix, throwing rockets making the double peel look easy. Ben and I were just along for the ride. The end result – a 4 end shut-out – a masterpiece by arguably the greatest team I’ve been a part of.
Much to our dismay, the weather was clearing back home and the boys arrived for game two the next day – we lost.
In the end – 7 of 8 Canadian teams qualified for the playoffs with the lone absence the John Morris team. We played beside Morris as he played against Kevin Martin in an A qualifier earlier in the event. Playing the last end, Morris looked to have ‘The Old Bear’ beat. What followed was the greatest shot in curling history in my mind. In a nutshell, John was laying 4 – all around the four-foot, these rocks were tripleIguarded out front. Kevin had one biting the back 12 foot at 2 o’clock. Long story short, the guards came back – one hitting another- hitting another – the last Martin guard then cleared all 4 enemy counters in the house ( one of them grazing, but not removing his back 12 foot biter), and if scoring one for the tie wasn’t good enough, the raised rock hung around in the 12 foot at 10 o’clock. Kevin was the only person on the sheet who even knew what was supposed to happen prior to shooting ( and even this is still debated).

John never recovered and lost a ‘C’ qualifier to Norway’s Pal Trulsen. As for team Simmons, we managed to get to the final, eventually losing to Wayne Middaugh.

Enjoy the Canada vs Scotland game tonight Saskatchewan. 

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Canada Hanging In

24/08/2018 Posted by admin

 Canada again hanging in their game with the US. The combination of not being razor sharp and some good shots by Pete Fenson keeping the game close after 6 ends. In the 7th end, USA was lying 2 buried on the button and decided to play a hit on Canada’s 3rd shot, only to crash on the guard and completely open up the end allowing Canada to blank the pivotal 7th end.
In another pivotal 7th end, France hit and rolled out on an open hit for 4, killing one of their own in the process, counting 2 when the smoke cleared. Remember this end if Norway can find away to claw back and win this game.
Korea on the board with help from a big 5 ender in the 4, a good comeback win after getting down 4-1 after 3 ends to start the game.
Ninth end – tied up at 3’s and the US has last rock. Canada throws the center guard, then Fenson walks out to play the tick shot. It’s made perfectly rolling off center while pushing the yellow Canadian rock into the rings. Canada proceeded to throw another center guard- followed by a called hit of the Canadian rock in the house – which happens to roll out. I don’t understand and can’t believe this call – the tick is great if your up in the game and scoring one is a good option, but Canada’s entire end plan is to force one this end. The follow up call by the US on the lead’s second stone to hit the rock in the 12 foot was just as bad, roll out or no roll out, leaving a center and corner guard for Canada to play around. An unbelievable mistake by one of the more experienced teams here – the end result a Canadian steal of one (all my opinion of course).

France hangs on to win a close contest – a tough loss for Norway who couldn’t build momentum after an afternoon win. And another ugly Canadian win – hey any team who has won one of these has admittedly won a few games like this through the week. This was my first real good look at the ice – looked a little straighter with one turn for sure and possibly a little tracky with different weights also across the sheet as their were some uncharacteristic draws misplaced by both teams. Another great crowd tonight – way to go Regina!!     

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Monday at the World’s

24/08/2018 Posted by admin

 When taking part in these week-long round robin events such as the Brier or similarly the World Championships, Monday seems like the make it or break it day more often than not.  This may be for a couple of reasons – first and most importantly the contenders have had a couple of days to hone the skills and become accustom to the conditions, so Monday is generally when the good teams start playing even better.  Suddenly the freezes are perfect, hit and rolls are becoming easier, and the confidence in throwing that hackish type weight which makes so many shots easier to handle is finally there.  Also, the excitement of the opening weekend is winding down, and with this sometimes a drop-off in the crowd sizes during the day and possibly the adrenaline levels also.  As a result, Monday usually starts to show which teams are prepared the best in terms of rest, nutrition, hydration, and overall mental toughness.  This is the time of the week that those good routines your team has worked to develop throughout the year need to take over allowing the team to ride on autopilot for awhile and hopefully save some of  those energy stores for the important weekend ahead.   

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We will check back following the next couple of draws today- lets watch for a little separation starting to develop in the field, both in record and confidence more importantly.  Those teams exiting Monday with confidence will likely have no worries about the record. 

Specific teams to watch :  Norway – have been inconsistent and uncharacteristically shaky looking at best- today may be the most meaningful for them as they play a Swedish team next that is hitting their stride. 

USA – has had a difficult starting schedule but needs to hang in there- they may not be able to let this game against Germany slip by with Canada upcoming tonight. 

France – they had a close game vs Sweden, and beat Denmark, Korea, and Cze Republic.  This results in a good early record, but they need to leave Monday on a high note with the meat of the order still ahead.  Tonight, it’s Norway and a great opportunity to build some momentum against a good team that has had it’s struggles thus far. 

My Tournament Picks

24/08/2018 Posted by admin

Alright- here’s my best educated guess at how the week in Regina is going to shape-up at the men’s Ford World Championships.

PLAYOFFS 

    CANADA        

The class of the Brier field in March – Steve Gould looks as hungry to win a world championship as the day he started curling;  the team is getting great “Reid’s” from their second position;  a playdown rejuvenated Jon Mead has been near perfect after a few year hiatus playing with Wayne Middaugh  –  throw in the home cooking and great fan support awaiting them and theior you have it, Jeff Stoughton and team Canada the favourites.  

    SWEDEN

This team has a lot going for it.  They are all young and improving at a rapid rate due to a serious work ethic unmatched by most teams.  These guys can play all the shots well, and despite admitting to playing on straighter ice at home, have gotten a lot of Canadian arena experience over the past couple of seasons.  Skip Niklas Edin has the savvy and mental make-up to lead this team to the promise land – sooner than later. 

    NORWAY 

Thomas Ulsrud and team Norway had a brilliant season last year finishing second at both the Olympics and World Championships, playing very consistently along the way.  Despite a small drop-off in consistency this year, this team is very experienced and dangerous to play.  If the skipper finds that draw weight touch that he usually possesses early in the week, they will be close. 

    USA 

A few weeks earlier I subbed in a spiel with Kevin Koe in Morris Manitoba – a spiel in which team USA attended.  After the opening night, a number of my team-mates had wallets full of American money following a late night poker game.  They proceeded to go 2 and 3 and lose out of the event prior to reaching a”C” qualifying game.  Not the greatest lead-up to a World Championship, so why 4th you ask?  Well, this will be the next best thing to a home world’s for them, and Pistol Pete brings loads of experience and that “water of a ducks back” kind of attitude that will allow him to forget about this lead-up spiel and any small short-comings throughout the week.  Combine that with a great showing at this year’s Continental Cup as part of team North America, and 4th may not be out of the question – albeit they may have to win a tiebreaker to get there.

JUST SHY 

 

GERMANY

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This will be the 13th appearance for German skip Andy Kapp who has placed anywhere from 2nd (1997, 2007) to 10th (1990).  Though I have not had the pleasure of playing this team, from watching I would make the comment that at times they look brilliant,  and other times far less than brilliant without a moments notice.  They will have to show good consistency this week if they want to be in the playoff hunt and must win the games they will be favoured in.  Can a skip who has reached this event as often as Andy without winning find the mental fortitude to get the job done on the 13th try?  Would make for quite a story. 

  

SCOTLAND

Nice to see one of the best curlers in Scotland for many years get to a much deserved World Championship.  What Tom Brewster lacks in World Championship experience, he makes up with Grand Slam and overall tour experience.  The same however cannot be said of his young team-mates.  One thing is for certain – this team will fight for every inch and play with as much or more passion than anyone in the field.  If they can harness all this energy positively, they may be eyeing final weekend play.  A good start may be the key here.

STILL BUILDING 

SWITZERLAND

 

I must apologize as I don’t know much personally about this Swiss team.  I do however know that Switzerland has a number of good teams / players and that due to the extensive nature of the playdown system, the team representing this country has had to play well over an extended time.  Previous experience is present on this squad, and I do expect they will compete, but fall short. 

  

CHINA 

 

We played this team from China as soon as a couple of weeks ago.  They are a different foursome than the team that has represented China the past number of seasons-even a different team that competed in the Pacific Rim Championships giving the country of China it’s berth into these current World’s.  A lot of similarities between this team and last remain.  They all have impeccable delivery mechanics but they also take a foot extra ice, slide eight inches tight, and crank.  If the ice is really moving, look for China to hit the most guards of any team this week, but look really good in doing so. 

  

 KOREA 

The Koreans, like many international teams, get to Canada now and again to train and compete in certain bonspiels.  We played them a couple of years ago and I remember thinking that when the strategy caught up to the mechanics, they were going to win some games.  Assuming further positive steps have been taken, I’ll give this team 3 or 4 wins, but they will have to play well to reach this mark. 

  

FRANCE 

  

French skip Thomas Dufour is gaining experience at the world level.  They are under-funded and probably see “Canadian” ice conditions as little as any of the teams in the field, yet continue to qualify as a country for the World Championships.  Expect the France – Korea game to be a battle with the winner having the better sub .500 record. 

  

PATCH TIME   

      CZECH REPUBLIC 

  

This will be Jiri Snitil’s 3rd World Championship appearance.  This team’s victory    was qualifying for this week.  A combined 5 and 17 over the other two World’s will hold true this year as well – chalk it up to a good week of experience. 

   

DENMARK 

  

 O.K – how about a comparison Saskatchewan people can relate to here.  Picture this – Randy Bryden wins the Sk provincial men’s championship.  Meanwhile, father Gary Bryden and team-mates decide its time to retire to the beautiful B.C, and end up remarkably winning the B.C provincial men’s championship.  Three weeks later at the Brier, both teams are feeding off each other and enjoying the experience.  Randy has a great week as team Sk, goes 10-1 and defeats Glenn Howard in the 1-2 game.  Gary and team go through Martin in a tiebreaker, and Stoughton in the 3-4 game before dismissing Howard in the semi-final in 7 ends setting up a dream final.  Randy is very excited; it’s a hard fought final – and just when it appears destiny is to take it’s due course in the extra end, Gary makes a board weight angle runback double leaving Sk no shot.  They proceed to shake hands and Gary asks if Randy could get time off to watch him at the World’s.   

  

Come on, who beats their son out of a birth to the World Curling Championships?  Gary wouldn’t do this, would he?  I see son Rasmus Stjerne is listed as coach – I’m cheering for him to break the world record for consumption at the patch, all on his father’s dime…

Pre Event Warm Up

10/08/2018 Posted by admin

On Tuesday evening, a mutual warm-up event was scheduled at the Callie Curling Club. We ( Pat Simmons, Braeden Moskowy, Brennen Jones, Matt Lang) were on our way to Victoria to play in the World Curling Tour’s Victoria Curling Classic. They ( Team Sweden) had arrived on Monday in Regina and had a small, local tour event upcoming. Niklas Edin ( Skip) had emailed me about getting some practice games and times for the week leading up to their World Championships – a great idea.

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The game itself was probably an entertaining one to watch – some pretty good shots being made on both sides. Niklas made a tricky nose hit for one facing three in the first end. After a nice Swedish hit and roll in the 2nd behind staggered centre guards, we managed a runback and a blank. The teams exchanged deuces in the third and fourth ends – Sweden leading 3-2 at the break. In the 5th end, they had us in heat all end, and on my last we tried a thin tick of our 2nd shot rock to the button. All went well, but when the smoke cleared, they still had a bigger piece of the button covered and stole one. Sweden 4, gracious hosts 2. Single points were exchanged in ends 6 and 7 setting the stage for an exciting last end. Facing three spread around the house, Niklas made a very good freeze to shot stone back eight-foot, leaving only a couple inches separation. Now here’s the dilemma – hit one third to two thirds and we get two, tie game and everyone’s happy. Hit less than a third – we win – they appreciate the game but it leaves an uncomfortable annoyed feeling with Sweden. We iced for the thin pick to win, but I went down the ice telling myself it was great to be a little tight, even preferred for the tie. Who said curling isn’t a mental game – I slide a foot tight and knowing a nose hit or further over-curl was not an option, fed that in-turn back like a fisherman setting his hook – we slivered their shot rock across the eight foot too thinly to remove it and gave up a steal. Serves me right for trying to be the nice guy.

Overall, a fun game against a good bunch – Niklas played very well and the shots they missed were as a result of the ice being fairly straight – that shouldn’t be a problem come weekend time. They seemed very prepared and business-like – ready for the week ahead.

Check back tomorrow for where I believe Team Sweden and the rest of the field will finish at the end of this year’s Ford World Championships.

Depth perception

10/08/2018 Posted by admin

This past week the team has made some significant progress.  Air Shows can either be performed over the land or over the water. Toronto would be an example for a water show because of the lack of open real estate. We began flying over the water, which in itself doesn’t sound like that big of a deal.  When flying over the land you can see roads, trees and cars beneath you. Water is deceiving because it’s difficult to judge depth and rates of movement when there aren’t any significant features to catch your eye and no, waves don’t cut it.  When in close formation I’m focused on maintaining formation integrity and we all trust Snowbird 1 to guide us around.  Trust is a major factor for the Snowbirds. It’s built over time and not taken lightly.  When we began our training last fall all the manoeuvres were flown well above 1000ft above the ground.  As we’re progressing, we’ve slowly lowered those altitudes to air show heights. Currently we’re at 300ft when flying above the ground and 500ft over the water (300ft is the target). Being lower is  visually more appealing to the crowds, but isn`t done at the expense of safety.  Each pilot has always been given the option to keep the team at a higher altitude until they’re comfortable to move lower.  With a little over a week to go in our deployment, I have no doubt we’ll be ready to hit the road with something Canadians will be proud of.  This doesn’t mean we won’t stop trying to improve, because there is always something that can be done better. 

SB 6  

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RCAF 600 Wing

10/08/2018 Posted by admin

The week has passed but not without some interesting happenings. On Wednesday night several of us were invited to the Royal Canadian Air Force Veterans’ Association 600 (Regina) Wing dinner held at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) of Regina. It was a great opportunity to chat with many of our distinguished Veterans. It was both an honour and a privilege for having been invited to this dinner. Any time I’ve had a chance to spend time with these special individuals, I walk away with a deeper respect for what they have done for our Country. Thanks

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The weather plays a key role during our training season and as most of you witnessed we had a taste of spring followed by some reminders that winter still has a grip on us. On Thursday the temperature had warmed up substantially from the day before. Great, except that when this happens the frost starts coming out on the runways and parking ramps. Our aircraft don’t come equipped with winter tires on them, so we had to wait a while for Mother Nature to sort out the issue. By the time we got going it was nearly noon and there was still a full day of flying and debriefing to wrap up before heading home. An option could have been to delay until Friday except that Friday’s forecast had predicted that the March lion would still be here. Thursday ended up a lot like harvest time in the Prairies in that you need to make hay while the sun shines.

I mentioned in my last Blog that tryouts for 2012 are in full swing. In order for us to evaluate the new guys the team members are either flying with the candidates or flying on their wing. For those who don’t know, in CT-114 the seating is configured to be side-by-side for both pilots. Essentially both sides are identical with only slight differences. My normal position as number 6 has me flying on the right side of the formation. What this means is that I sit in the left seat. This is so I don’t have to look across the cockpit to see the lead aircraft. The best way I can describe it is that it’s similar to driving your car and looking left. You’re able to get closer to something on your left than your right side, unless you drive one of those British cars. On Thursday I happened to pair up with Oreo (Capt Parker). Normally we’re both left seaters, so we had a quick chat and decided I would fly from the right. I believed it would be good training, since next year I would be training one of the new guys to fly from that spot. Up until this point I’d flown 63 trips flying looking left and for this mission I’d need to look right. Doesn’t seem like a big deal until I took to the runway for the formation take off. It was a moment I felt like I was trying to stickhandle with a left handed stick versus a right handed one. It took me a few minutes to sort myself out, but after that things settled down. That mission reminded me that it’s important that from time to time we need to have a look at things whilewearing someone else’s shoes or should I say from their cockpit.

Snowbird 6 out.

Smoke Now

10/08/2018 Posted by admin

Hello everyone and thanks for joining me at From the Cockpit. First off, I’d like to thank Global Regina for allowing me this opportunity to represent the Canadian Forces Snowbirds to my fellow Canadians through their website. The intention behind this blog is to serve as a continuation of Global Reginas “Becoming Snowbird 6”. While the team is developing here in Moose Jaw you can expect to read a summary of the weeks training. This will include any significant milestones the team has made and any personal objective I’ve reached. Then when the team progresses into the 2011 show season, I’d like to share where I’ve been, where I’m going and any stories that would give you an insight to some of my experience as Snowbird 6.

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As far as this week goes, today was the first time that we’ve flown a 9 plane formation trip in nearly a week. What I find challenging is that it doesn’t take long for the “rust” to set in. Especially at this stage in our training it’s important to have consistent training days. We’re slowly putting together all the different formations into one complete show. Flying multiple sequences doesn’t happen in a few flights. Just to give a little perspective we’re on trip 62 of 100. We take about an hour to brief because when we step to the jets it’s essential that there aren’t any doubts about what training will happen. Once we’re airborne, there is no pause button for us to stop everything.

This week is also noteworthy since the team is conducting tryouts for the 2012 season. What many don’t know is that prospective team members are selected by their peers. It was this time last year that I went through this process. It seems like a long time ago but I vividly remember that it was one of the most stressful times in my life. That being said, over the next week or so we’ll know who’s going to be a Snowbird starting 2012.

Until next time.

Snowbird 6 out

Is it summer yet?

10/08/2018 Posted by admin

I didn’t visit Kelowna before I moved out here. The only interaction I had with anything Okanagan-related before my big cross-country move was this tourism video my friend and I found online:

 

 

One could say my jaw dropped while I was watching this video. A gorgeous looking lake! A boardwalk! Wineries! Golfing! Ski hills! Let’s just say my friend was very jealous when the video ended. And me? I was beside myself that I would be moving to such a beautiful city.

And Kelowna has not disappointed. I have had an amazing time here these last few months. Compared to Toronto, the air is a little cleaner, the landscapes are more appealing and the winters aren’t as harsh. 

But everyone is telling me…just wait until summer. I moved here right as summer wrapped up so I didn’t get to indulge in an Okanagan summer. You could say my expectations are high with all the things people have told me about the months of May to August. 

As February trickled into March and March gave way to April, I got more and more eager. And the weather seemed to be cooperating…until recently. A few weeks ago, the sun was out and I thought for sure summer was starting. But it was like Mother Nature wanted to psych me out and keep me on my toes! It’s still a little chilly outside. And weren’t the temperatures just below zero the other day? Where is summer? Or more specifically, when will it arrive?

So tell me, are you ready for summer? And what suggestions do you have for me as I get ready to experience my first-ever summer in the Okanagan?

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