Casino Rama TSN skins preview
aka Should've been Randy Ferby's swan song
My curling bucket list includes heading to Casino Rama and make it a weekend with Mrs. Hurry Hard to check out the The Dominion All Stars Curling Skins Game presented by Pinty's (aka TSN skins game).
Two reasons why I don't:
1. I usually have a bonspiel that weekend
2. I am afraid that I will be trapped in Orillia for six weeks because of a snow storm.
I live about five hours from Casino Rama. One of these days I intend to to make the trek. Maybe I can rent out some sled dogs if I get stuck on Highway 400.
From what I hear, from friends who have gone before, the event is usually sold out and is entertaining because unlike arena venues, Casino Rama is a bit more intimate and cozy, as there is only one sheet and the stands are close to the action.
According to my TSN moles, this event produces strong ratings numbers year-after-year.
Looking to give the made-for-television event a boost, this year fans voted on the teams taking part. Over half a million votes were cast.
I can't argue with the voting, but have to admit that I am a bit disappointed that Randy Ferby did not make the cut.
It would've been the perfect swansong for Ferby, who earlier this year announced his retirement. It would've been perfect for him to play third for his good buddy Kevin Martin. That's what I call reality television.
(As I type this I look up to see a picture of Ferby and Brad Gushue on my wall. The picture features the two of them, side-by-side, smiling and oh yes, it's autographed. The bidding starts at $500. I also have the picture below on my wall. Bidding starts at $3).
Glenn Howard topped the voting at the skip position with 24,284 votes. Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton was second with 23,684 votes, followed by Alberta's Kevin Martin and Kevin Koe in third and fourth, respectively.
As part of the new format, the team rosters will be determined by the skips drafting their teams during a live broadcast tonight (Thursday Jan. 17) on TSN. I hope to live tweet and live blog the draft, which will feature the four skips picking the names to fill out their teams. It will be must-see tv.
Teammates cannot play on the same team, which organizers will hope will lead to some strange teams and match-ups.
I think it will be a bit surreal.
Imagine the scenarios. Imagine if the made up teams play for a couple games and find out that they have good chemistry. Could John Morris end up playing with Howard? Imagine if Morris moves back to his home province and join's Howard's team next season.
Kevin Martin returns from his hernia operation and realizes that his front end would be much better with Carter Rycroft.
Steve Gould and Jeff Stoughton making up and getting back together?
Oh the possibilities. This weekend could change the men's curling landscape forever...or it could just be a fun time.
Here is the voting shake down:
Glenn Howard 24,248
Jeff Stoughton 23,684
Kevin Martin 22,596
Kevin Koe 19,181
John Morris 29,677
Jon Mead 28,436
Pat Simmons 18,010
B.J. Neufeld 13,993
Marc Kennedy 29,482
Carter Rycroft 21,672
Brent Laing 21,032
Reid Carruthers 19,665
Ben Hebert 28,751
Craig Savill 23,815
Steve Gould 20,005
Nolan Thiessen 18,555
No matter what happens in the draft, the last person picked will hear about it for a long, long time. Don't believe me? Ask Phil Kessel.
Games will take place on Saturday, 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and on Sunday at, 1 p.m. on TSN.