Shaking of the cobwebs and getting out the Pledge to dust off this blog just in time for the first leg of the Olympic playdown process. Today, in Kitchener, the awkwardly named Road to the Roar begins with 24 teams vying for the final spots in the Capital One Roar of the Rings.
Not sure who came up with the Road to the Roar tagline but it's only slightly better than the Pre-trials, which is what this event seems to be called by most folks I talk to.
So the basics: 12 men's teams for two spots, 12 women's teams for two spots. The men’s field includes reigning Brier winners Brad Jacobs from the Soo, who admitted in his home town paper that the rink is coming in perhaps a big fatigued
from all the bench presses from a busy schedule.
“We've played a lot of great teams. We've won a couple events this year, (but) we've slipped as of late. And honestly, I think we can chalk it up to fatigue lately,” Jacobs said earlier this week.Jacobs has been to five World Curling Tour events so far this season. He won the first two, finished third at the next one and was forced to settle for fifth place in the most recent events.He said the past two tournaments were a wake-up call.“We qualified for the playoffs in both of the tournaments and then lost. It was definitely a hard pill to swallow,” said the Sault skip.
I still find it a bit strange that the reigning Brier champs aren't already through to the final stage (as do the reigning Brier champs).
There are six other teams from Ontario (including the North) in the men’s side. Also sliding into the Aud this week is a much happier John Morris and his new rink from Vernon/Kelowna/Calgary, B.C./Alta. I suspect there will be no shirt ripping this week.
On the women’s side there is a whole bunch of Alberta teams set for a run at the two available spots. A half a dozen call Alberta home including the 2010 silver medalist Cheryl Bernard.
Laura Crocker, a transplanted Ontarian now calling Edmonton home, told Norm Cowley of the Edmonton Journal that it’s been a long wait to get to the big show.
“It feels like it’s taken forever to come, but at the same time, it’s like, ‘Wo, it’s happened so fast this year already,’ ” said Laura Crocker, 22, a two-time Canadian Interuniversity Sport champion who is the No. 2 seed at the pre-trials after ranking eighth in the Canadian Team Ranking System last season.“We’re definitely really excited to get there,” she said.“We feel really prepared, so you just want to get out and play. The longer you wait, I don’t know how to explain it, we just want to play.”
Crocker also got some ink in the Guelph Mercury, where she was lauded as a former Laurier Golden Hawk and then subjected to a bunch of bad cooking metaphors.
Crocker will have to prepare a top-two finish in Kitchener to even qualify for the Olympic trials in Winnipeg from Dec. 1-8. A half-baked effort won't cut it, she admits.
Play gets u