No Brier word yet

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:13 AM ET

The Manitoba Curling Association looked on last year's inaugural Grand Slam in Winnipeg as a test event for the 2008 Brier.

But everyone involved is still awaiting the official word from the Canadian Curling Association.

"They were very interested to see our ice conditions last year and just how the facility worked," MTS Centre operations manager Kevin Donnelly said yesterday. "It isn't always just about the building but all of the amenities around it like the hotel rooms, the cabaret and pub opportunities. So I think they were satisfied with what they saw.

"We're still crossing our fingers for the '08 Brier. I have had no word that we're any closer but actually, nothing that says we're losing ground in our efforts to get that."

The CCA did award the 2007 Scott Tournament of Hearts to Lethbridge, Alta., so announcing the 2008 Brier site should be next on its list.

RIB-WRAPPED: Garry Van Den Berghe, who suffered a cracked rib a few weeks ago, has returned to playing second for Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton the last two cashspiels. Van Den Berghe plays with his ribs wrapped in a tensor bandage. Stoughton said his second is still very sore and it bothers him the most when he is sweeping.

"But he's a tough guy," Stoughton said.

Van Den Berghe should be ready for the Olympic trials.

Should Stoughton win those trials, by the way, he would be replaced at the Safeway Select by the next highest-ranked eligible Manitoba team on the Canadian Team Ranking System. To be eligible, a team must have three of its original members when it earned those points.

BITER: Stoughton just earned $10,000 on the Manitoba Curling Tour by winning last week's Asham Open. Apparently, his sponsor for the week won $12,000 after a reported $1,000 buy-in. His sponsor? The Randy Ferbey team, which did not even enter.


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