It was not exactly a rib-tickler.
In fact, Garry Van Den Berghe is apparently in a lot of pain these days. The second for two-time Brier champion Jeff Stoughton suffered a broken rib while practising at Asham Arena (formerly known as the Valour Road Curling Club) recently and could be out of action for as long as three weeks.
"It's very, very sore," Jon Mead, Stoughton's third, said from Brandon where the Charleswood squad was playing in the Wheat City Classic. "He could be possibly be back as soon as Thanksgiving. But it's more likely he'll be back for (a World Curling Tour event in Alberta two weeks later).
"It's too bad because he had gotten himself into really good condition, getting ready for the (Olympic) trials (in December). But Garry should be back in plenty of time for the trials."
Van Den Berghe fell over a board between sheets while sliding backwards watching a shot.
Stoughton had already picked up Don Harvey as his fifth man and Harvey replaced Van Den Berghe at second in Brandon.
With Harvey, Stoughton won $11,000 in Brandon, defeating Steven Laycock of Saskatchewan in the final. Laycock earned $7,000.
On the women's side, Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones played her first event with former Olympian Georgina Wheatcroft replacing Cathy Gauthier at lead. Jones lost the final to Barb Spencer of Wiinnipeg, who took home $4,000.
BURTNYK BACK ON ICE: Kerry Burtnyk will come out of retirement to take one last kick at the curling cat next month. Burtnyk will replace David Nedohin, who throws last brick for Alberta's reigning world champion Randy Ferbey, at a WCT event in Basel, Switzerland.
"I got a call from Randy a month or so ago to ask me to play because David's wife (Heather) is due to have her baby at that time," Burtnyk said. "So if I play one event this year, this trip overseas will be it. The best part about it is we will spend two days in Rome beforehand."
And it is gratis.
"That's why it's hard to say no," said Burtnyk, who retired after last season. "Plus it's a chance to play with those guys. I told them I will be a little rusty."
Ferbey will likely call the game with Burtnyk throwing the last brick and sweeping.
"I'll try to fake it a little bit," Burtnyk joked. "But they told me not to worry about it."
Burtnyk, who does plan to practise beforehand, added that he has turned down a number of offers to play with different Manitoba teams this season.
BITERS: Cathy Gauthier has agreed to replace Marilyn Bodogh for Sportsnet's broadcast of the $60,000 Battle of the Sexes Skins Game between Alberta's Randy Ferbey and Manitoba's Jennifer Jones in Brandon next Sunday. Bodogh is celebrating her 50th birthday in Greece ... The date for the Grand Slam's BDO Classic in Winnipeg has been moved to Jan. 5-8, 2006, due to a conflict at the MTS Centre, confirmed Jon Mead, one of the event's organizers ... Georgina Wheatcroft is declaring Manitoba residency status as of Oct. 1, making her eligible to play for Jones when she attempts to defend her Canadian championship at the 2006 Scott Tournament of Hearts in London, Ont.