November 1, 2011
Still talkin' about The Shot
By GEORGE KARRYS, Special to QMI Agency
TORONTO - It was The Shot that hardcore curling fans still talk about.
And they talk because there's no video to watch. Anywhere.
Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen was down and nearly out of the Players’ Championship in Grande Prairie, Alta., last April. Edmonton’s Rob Schlender led by two points and was also counting one as he waited for McEwen’s final shot of the match. McEwen needed to score two points just to tie the game and force an extra end.
This was a C-qualifying match, the last chance into the playoff round, and there was a heck of a lot at stake.
All McEwen had was a “Hail Mary” takeout off a stone that was almost out of play touching the wall, and his shooter needed to ricochet perfectly enough to remove the Schlender stone and stick around for the second point.
To make matters worse, the time clocks were screaming and McEwen had no time to spare.
“I got in the hack, cleaned the rock as quick as I could, I asked the boys how much time I had, they said five seconds left,” said McEwen at the time.
“I honestly didn’t even have time to think. I just fired out of the hack, wobbled a little, got her back on line.”
Sure enough, McEwen made the shot perfectly — bing, bang, kaboom — and his teammates erupted in a spasm of yells, leaps and hugs.
I don’t think I’ve ever made a crazier shot to win a game, ever,” said McEwen. “It was like a buzzer-beater in basketball from the other end, just overhand it and see what happens.”
McEwen’s team leads this fall’s World Curling Tour men’s money list with a whopping $66,000 earned in just four events, which has prompted rivals to call him “McWin”. But he still thinks about The Shot.
“If we lined that up 20 times I don’t know if I’d even hit the stone I was aiming for once,” he said. “We should recreate it and try it a few times, and film it for our website.
“Steve Gould (of team Jeff Stoughton) was watching that morning and he was going crazy. He said we were doing The Worm on the ice.”
That single 44-pound granite stone was worth a cool $32,000 to Team McEwen.
“Seven thousand to qualify (for playoffs) and then $25,000 for runner-up in the Capital One Cup,” McEwen recalled. “We don’t make that, we get nothing.”
Lo and behold, some grainy still images have emerged of The Shot, courtesy of a battered, first-generation iPhone. While professional curling photogs were focused on another sheet of ice, and the CBC Sports TV guys were downing hot chocolate, it was left to yours truly — The Curling Guy — to move into position and wait to see what just might happen. Just in case.
“You’ve got photos?” asked McEwen. “That’s awesome. We’ve been hoping someone got something, even if we could use it to set up the rocks to try it again.”
McEwen’s Marauders are now off to Sault Ste. Marie for the first Capital One Grand Slam of the season, the World Cup, which runs Nov. 2-6 at the Essar Centre. Eighteen of the sport’s top dogs are there including Stoughton, Kevin Martin, Kevin Koe and Glenn Howard, with approximately $25,000 going to the winner.
Randy Ferbey will be there, too. The Ferb is reunited with last-rock tosser Dave Nedohin and together they are tied for second in WCT winnings with arch-rival Martin, whom they defeated in the semifinals last weekend in Brooks, Alta.
CBC will televise weekend playoff action on their main channel and online at cbcsports.ca, including the Nov. 6 championship final (1:00 p.m. ET). CBC’s Bold channel also gets a game: the semifinals on Saturday night, Nov. 5.
The 2011 European championships will be held in December in Moscow, and various countries are now qualifying or declaring their champions.
Scotland saw Eve Muirhead win eight straight matches to wear the blue and white, while David Murdoch had to win two sudden-death matches over 2011 world finalist Tom Brewster to punch his ticket.
Switzerland is in quite a bit of upheaval. Not only did two-time Olympic silver medallist Mirjam Ott lose out to ex-teammate Binia Feltscher-Beeli, but Sven Michel is the newfangled name that will lead the Swiss men into Russia. Michel tore up the first half of the Euro tour after scoring gold at the World Mixed Doubles championship last April.
In Sweden, former world champion skip Peja (Not Peter) Lindholm is the new national team boss, and he has hand-picked teams skipped by Niklas Edin (no surprise) and Margaretha Sigfridsson (big surprise) to don the yellow and blue. Sigfridsson has played well this fall, but didn’t two-time Olympic champion Anette Norberg just win another world women’s title a few months ago?
WORLD CURLING TOUR MONEY LIST
(MEN as of Nov. 1)
1. Mike McEwen, Winnipeg $66,000
WORLD CURLING TOUR MONEY LIST
(WOMEN as of Nov. 1)
1. Cathy Overton-Clapham, Winnipeg $24,450