Five Up, Five Down
I am a little late to the party, but here are 10 quick thoughts about this past weekend's 2013 Capital One Road to the Roar held this past weekend in beautiful Kitchener.
One: Congrats to both Brad Jacobs and John Morris on the men's side.
Seeing Jacobs and his team advance to the Olympic trials was no major surprise, considering the team just won a Brier.
I didn't know what to expect from Morris and his rink, but they advanced to the trials Dec. 1-8 in Winnipeg. The team will be a darkhorse heading into Winnipeg, but they will be dangerous.
Two: Congrats to Val Sweeting and Renee Sonneberg for advancing.
Sweeting eliminated the last two Canadian Olympic reps, Shannon
Kleibrink and Cheryl Bernard of Calgary, along the way to Sunday's final.
Sweeting will have one of the best front ends at the trials.
Sonnenberg looked dominant at times in Kitchener. She has won two provincial titles, but just hasn't been able to breakthrough. Maybe her time is now.
Three: Even though I have not been there is person, the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium looks like it's an excellent curling facility. I am making that observation just on seeing the venue on television.
The arena is older, but well taken care of. It has steep seats and while it is a good size, it's still fairly intimate and that's what curling needs.
The last Scotties was held in Kitchener in 2003.
The last Brier held in Kitchener was held in 1986. It would be a great host again. A lot of curling tradition in Kitchener, plus John Morris can lead the pub crawl every night.
Four: Just take a look at the men's draw at the Trials: Stoughton, Morris, Howard, Martin, Jacobs, Epping, Koe and McEwen. Other than arguably Gushue, you have eight of the top teams from the past decade or so.
Stoughton, Howard and Martin are among the best ever, and the rest of the field is stellar.
Five: Just a thought, if a team wins a Brier or Scotties in the two or three years leading up to the Olympics, shouldn't that give them a free pass to the Olympic trials?
One: Not to treat the Road to the Roar lightly, as any curling is better than no curling, it's still a long ways to the Olympic trials. It was an exciting weekend, but the four teams advancing still have a long grind in front of them.
Two: I heard a lot of complaints about the rocks and the ice in Kitchener. There was a lot of swing in the ice.
Three: Looking at the women's field in Kitchener, it's kind of surprising not to see Kelly Scott or Cheryl Bernard advance.
Scott has participated in the last two trials and is consistently one of the best rinks in Canada. Bernard came out of nowhere to win in 2010. She came close, but just couldn't get lightning in the bottle for a second time.
Four: We've all done it.
Sweeting vice Joanne Courtney slipped and fell on her stomach while delivering a rock during a key matchup. Luckily she didn't injure herself or do much damage as the rock sailed out before it hit anything.
Five: Off to Winnipeg. In December.