Mike McEwen was back to his winning ways this weekend at the Stu Sells Toronto Tankard, but not without some controversy.
McEwen and his Winnipeg-based rink of B.J. Neufeld, Matt Wozniak, and Denni Neufeld have been vocal about how effective their IcePad brushes were last season, but with the release of a competing brush from BalancePlus, the question has now become if they’re too effective. Some people are claiming that sweepers can essentially “steer” a rock and put it where they want.
A players meeting was held to discuss the new equipment, and whether or not it had a place in the future of the game.
With all the controversy around brushes, it seemed almost secondary that McEwen knocked off Glenn Howard (Penetanguishene, Ont.) in the final, winning $15,000 and 60.327 points on the Canadian Team Ranking System. His win helped him keep ahead of Calgary’s Kevin Koe, who also won this weekend (more on that later). McEwen and Koe, now second and third in the CTRS respectively, still trail Brad Gushue (St. John’s) whose new brushing practices helped kick off the whole broom debate at the Grand Slam in Paradise, N.L.
Howard, meanwhile, took home $10,000 and 47.400 CTRS points, a result that pushes him up the rankings to sixth place, and back into the Top 10 in the World Curling Tour Order of Merit after losing a large percentage of his points for re-jigging his lineup following last season.
Brad Jacobs (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.) and Mark Kean (Innerkip, Ont.) reached the semis, each earning $5,500 and 36.627 CTRS points.
As previously mentioned, Kevin Koe won Edmonton’s Direct Horizontal Drilling Fall Classic and took home $12,000 and 48.891 CTRS points for beating the local favourites skipped by Brendan Bottcher ($9,000 and 38.414 points). Bottcher’s results have allowed him to keep pace in the CTRS race, where he currently sits in seventh place, just ahead of Saskatoon’s Steve Laycock who finished in Edmonton with a semifinal loss.
In Calgary, the top women’s teams were playing in the Curler’s Corner Autumn Gold Curling Classic. The field featured all of the top CTRS teams, and the championship was taken by the current Number One, Rachel Homan (Ottawa).
Homan has won three events this year, and was runner-up in a fourth. The Calgary victory earned Homan (with Emma Miskew, Joanne Courtney and Lisa Weagle) another 61.983 points, which extends her CTRS lead to more than 100 points over Edmonton’s Kelsey Rocque and Calgary’s Chelsea Carey (who lost to Homan in the final). Homan also took home $14,000, while Carey finished with a $10,000 payday.