Classic offers shot at larger events

JOE PAVIA -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:25 AM ET

The RCMP need not apologize.

Starting tomorrow The RCMP Curling Club hosts the Mac Ice Classic with a dynamic field of teams from Ontario and Quebec competing for $28,000.

Leading the rinks is last year's winner Team Bryan Cochrane (they won this season's first Ottawa Valley Curling Tour 'spiel).

Guy Hemmings (with an all-local supporting cast - Don Westphal, Steve Allen and Louis Biron), Pierre Charette and some strong Ottawa teams such as Willie Jeffries, Jeff McCrady and Howard Rajala want to claim the $8,000 first place prize.

Out of town challengers include Robbie Gordon (who represented Northern Ontario at the 2006 Brier), Oakville's John Base (with former Middaugh player Phil Loevenmark; former Mike Harris player Collin Mitchell and former John Morris team mate Paul Moffatt), last year's Kia Cup challenger John Epping and Guelph's fiery shooter Greg Balsdon.

The Mac Ice Classic is now a part of the Asham World Curling Tour that allows qualifying teams to gain points to enter larger events.

There is now more incentive to do well.

Play continues all weekend with the finals on Monday afternoon. Admission is free. Call 613 749-7086 for information.

SUMMER LEFT OVERS: The sixteen sheet Avonlea Curling Club in Toronto closed its doors for good in August ... Jeff Stoughton got out of paying the $1,000 fine he incurred at last year's Brier ... Money did flow to the organizing committee's coffers however. The Regina Brier profit is $1.1 million ... The Ontario Curling Association announced that the Kia Cup (the men's provincial championship) is no more. With one year left in its sponsorship deal, Kia Motors pulled out but was replaced by London, Ont.-based TSC Stores "The Incredible Country Hardware Store." "Curling has a unique Canadian identity and community appeal," said Greg Hicks, Chief Operating Officer of TSC Stores. "Becoming title sponsor of the Ontario Men's Championship is a great fit for us." Teams will play for the TSC Stores Tankard. The twenty-six company owned stores will soon be augmented by a new store in Smiths Falls later this month ... The Ottawa Valley Curling Association's new President is Janet Levere from Winchester.

OUT OF TOWN GLORY: Two local men did well at the Don Bartlett Classic in Gander on the weekend. Pierre Charette and Glenn Howard (with Ottawa's Craig Savill at second) made the qualifying round each taking $5,000. The now out of retirement Kerry Burtnyk from Manitoba defeated Kevin Martin by one to win the $20,000 first place prize. Team China finished 2-3.

THE SAVIOUR OF THE GRAND SLAM: As was reported in the Sun last week, CBC has signed a long-term deal to televise the four big money Grand Slam events until 2014. When Rogers SportsNet pulled out in August (citing a too old viewer demographic), the Slam seemed dead on the ice. The CBC stepped in to ensure they had a curling property after they lose curling in 2008, including the 2010 Vancouver Olympic curling. Hope the Grand Slam folks know that CBC has already applied to the CRTC to revise the rule governing the amount of hours they can televise sports on Country Canada.

FIFTY GREAT REASONS: The City View Curling Club celebrated its 50th anniversary on Sunday. Besides President David Oikle, twenty past Presidents from as far away as Hamilton and Barrie, joined John Baird, Jim Watson and former Nepean Mayor Mary Pitt in toasting the club.

THIS WEEK IN CURLING: Team Hanna defends their Triple Alliance Autumn Gold win from last year in Calgary and skip Jenn Hanna shows off her September wedding photos. Gatineau's Jean-Michel Menard plays in the Swiss Cup in Basel.


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