The field is set for the Ontario men's curling championship. All that's left is for fans to buy tickets.
Sales are "a little slower" than organizers would like, ticket chair Dick Julian said yesterday from Woodstock, where the TSC Tankard begins Feb. 2 at the Woodstock District Community Complex.
"The economy has had a little bit of an effect," he said. "Hopefully, it'll pick up this week.
"I don't think we're very far behind where they were last year in Waterloo, if we're behind at all. It's pretty hard to discourage curlers from having a good time."
With three-time defending champion Glenn Howard of Coldwater, 2004 champion Mike Harris of Toronto Donalda, 2003 champion Bryan Cochrane of Ottawa Rideau and 2000 champ Peter Corner of Brampton all coming, there's no shortage of curling pedigree.
Peter Steski of Sarnia, who won last weekend's West Challenge Round at Owen Sound Grey Granite, and Jake Higgs, a Strathroy resident curling out of Harriston, carry the local hopes. East Challenge Round winner Joe Frans of Oshawa, Rick Thurston of Dundas Granite, Rob Lobel of Whitby and Chris Gardner of Arnprior round out the field.
As for tickets, a full-week package goes for $99, a Monday-Thursday package (eight draws) is $45, the championship weekend package (Friday-Sunday) goes for $65 and individual draw tickets are $10 (Monday-Thursday), $12 (Friday- Saturday) and $18 (Sunday).
They're available at Golf Curl and More at Huron and Dundas streets in Woodstock, at the WDCC, on the web at www.tsctankard2009.com or by phoning 519-539-4454.
Tournament of Hearts
Jenn Hanna of Ottawa, the 2005 Ontario champion and national runner-up, and Chrissy Cadoring emerged from the Scotties Tournament of Hearts Challenge Round in Bradford to advance to the Ontario Hearts starting Monday and running through Feb. 1 at Oakville.
They'll join the four regional qualifiers -- Julie Hasting and Alison Goring of Thornhill Bayview, defending provincial champion Sherry Middaugh of Coldwater and Julie Reddick of Brant -- and four Northern Ontario rinks. Those are 2006 and 2007 champion Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay Fort William, Tracy Horgan of Sudbury Idlewylde, Ashley Miharija of Thunder Bay Port Arthur and Dawn Schwar of Sudbury.
The champion heads to the national Tournament of Hearts Feb. 21-March 1 in Victoria.
Around the house
Matthew Dickson's St. Thomas rink qualified for the Ontario bantam (16-and-under) championship Feb. 5-7 in Oshawa by winning the B side of regionals last weekend in Listowel . . . The Zone 16 masters (60-and-over) men's and women's playdowns are this weekend in Forest.