Curlers shared tears, laughs

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:32 AM ET

The season started with local curlers up in arms over increased CCA card fees and, according to an Internet report, is ending with the financial picture of the Canadian Curling Association rather cloudy.

Meanwhile, the Manitoba scene was touched too often with tragedy the past season and here is our look back at 2006-07:

TRAGEDIES

First, Brandon's Neil Andrews was diagnosed with a rare and incurable disease, which took him away from the game that he loved in February ... Competitive curler Heather Mowat suffered long-term injuries as the result of a single-vehicular accident in Brandon last fall and is still recovering in Winnipeg ... Junior men's competitive curler Kyle Flett died as the result of a single snowmobile accident just before Christmas. Our thoughts and prayers continue go out to the families of each.

TOUCHING MOMENTS

Tributes for Andrews at the senior men's provincial championship ... The emotional reactions to Kyle Flett's death, including his sister, Kerri ... Brandon's Liza Park dedicating the women's provincials to Mowat and her sister, Tammy, being named the all-star lead.

HIGHLIGHTS

Jennifer Jones won the Canada Cup and the spot in the Olympic trials qualifying tourney that went with it, the Players' Championship and the CTRS standings. The only thing she couldn't capture was the Canadian crown. So, we still can't figure out why she wasn't awarded a direct berth into the 2009 trials. Big deal, you say? It would have been worth $144,000 in Olympic funding to her team ... Jeff Stoughton won a record sixth Manitoba men's title with two new players ... Morris posted a net profit of $51,000 after hosting its first women's provincial championship ... Transplanted Manitobans Kelly Scott and Sasha Carter won the world crown.

LOWLIGHTS

The controversial split between Jones and lead Dana Allerton on the eve of the women's provincials ... Calleen Neufeld's disappointment at losing the national final at her last junior women's appearance ... A knee injury forcing Vic Peters off the ice ... Poor attendance at the Brier in Hamilton ... and the break-up of the Colleen Jones team.

BEST STORIES

Kerry Burtnyk made a successful comeback with a new team after a one-year hiatus and is sure to be awarded the CTRS exemption into next year's men's provincials ... Jon Mead will return from a one-year hiatus, even if it is to play for an enemy team (Ontario's Wayne Middaugh) ... CBC saved the Grand Slam, rather ironic after its deal with the CCA had caused so much controversy ... Members of the Thistle Curling Club, which had burned down last summer, bought the Valour Road club from Arnold Asham, saving the entrepreneur gobs of cash ... Curling reporter Bill Graveland related his frightening tour of news duty in Afghanistan .... and the 2008 Brier was finally awarded to Winnipeg.

CURLING BOOK CURSE

Although both the Globe's Bob Weeks (Russ Howard) and Sun Media's Terry Jones (Randy Ferbey) penned curling tomes worth reading, both Howard and Ferbey failed to make it to the Brier ... Although Newfoundland's Brad Gushue did make it to the Brier after two books were written about him, he finished the year with only two-fifths of the team that helped him win Olympic gold.

NO SHOW

Finally, I have been berated to no end for failing to include this quote in my Scotties impression. In a casual conversation, one of the curlers was told her team was to be congratulated for not showing the tops of their panties when sitting in the hack. "That's because we're not wearing any," she responded. She was kidding. We think.


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