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Poor turnout at Brier has curlers looking forward to Edmonton
3,591 attended yesterday

Vicki Hall
CanWest News Service

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

HAMILTON - In honour of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit to the Tim Hortons Brier, Jeff Stoughton tried to be politically correct yesterday after dispatching New Brunswick's Paul Dobson 10-5.

Tried, but failed. Actually, the Manitoba skip bubbled over with frustration after four days of playing before miserable crowds at Copps Coliseum.

An announced gathering of 3,591 took in the proceedings during yesterday's morning draw of the Canadian men's curling championship.

"It's really disappointing," Stoughton said. "The Brier is supposed to be the ultimate.

"I mean, TV coverage is one thing. But come on. These are the best players out here. You've got a great field. You've got Olympic gold medallists, world champions, Brier champions. You really couldn't ask for much better curling out here."

Warren Hansen, director of the Canadian Curling Association, said he never expected a sellout crowd for the nine-day event in Hamilton. Still, the rows of empty seats are not an encouraging sign for the future of the sport in the Golden Horseshoe.

"When we go east of Manitoba with any of our events, we struggle to get people in the stands," Hansen said. "So it's not a surprise to us. We certainly hoped to have more than we have at the moment, but that's life."

"It's a bit disappointing," said Glenn Howard, of Coldwater, Ont. "I'd like to see the place jammed.

One Howard hypothesis is that curling fans are saving their money to attend the Ford World Men's Curling Championships, set for March 31 to April 8 in Edmonton.

"Maybe there are a lot of people who want to go to the Brier but can't afford to do both," Howard said. "Edmonton is going to be huge."
 
I don't think curling is as engrained in the Canadian sports psyche as much in central Canada, particularly the larger urban centres.
 
I went on Sunday, it was a good draw. I'm not surprised that the crowds at the morning draws during the week are sparse, and the evening draws seem to be full or near full. This weekend for the finals it will be a sellout, I would be shocked if the organizers expected it to play out any other way.
 
Curling is not about cheerleaders!

It's about how Brad Gushue's ass looks when he's bent over!

Seriously, ask any of the 10,000 women (and, you know, some of the guys) who were there on the 11th....

up-and-cheering-in-the-9th-end 42
 
Along with cheerleaders maybe curling needs a new slogan like: "get your rocks off."
 

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