By Phil Hecken
Other than an occasional ticker mention or possibly a photo from the Brooklyn-Lakeside Curling Club, we don’t cover curling very often on Uni Watch (unless it’s the Olympics and the Norwegian Curling Team is involved). And for good reason — the sport isn’t particularly popular, and the uniforms are pretty staid (at least in ‘tournament’ play): usually some form of team shirt and black pants. That’s certainly the case with the uniforms worn by the teams at the Tim Hortons Brier. Traditions die hard.
For the past week (and ending today), the Canadian men have been participating in the Tim Hortons Brier, the annual Canadian men’s curling championship. According to Wikipedia, “The current event name refers to its main sponsor, the Tim Hortons coffee and doughnut shop chain. ‘Brier’ originally referred to a brand of tobacco sold by the event’s first sponsor, the Macdonald Tobacco Company.” It was the Macdonald Brier until 1979, and since then it’s been sponsored by Labatt (until 2000), then Nokia (2001-04), and by Hortons since then.
It’s a pretty big deal, and The Brier has been held since 1927, with the winner going on to represent Canada at the World Championships of the same year. The Brier is regarded by most curlers as the world’s premier curling championship and many Canadian teams feel it is more of a privilege to win the Brier than the World Championship. Without getting too involved, basically teams are made up of players from Canada’s Provinces and Territories (plus “Team Canada”) compete, with each rink (team) wearing a uniform roughly corresponding to the colors of the flag for that region. As we’ll see, this leads to some very similar uniforms for some of the teams.
A few weeks ago, in a ticker item, I noted that Goldline was named the official uni supplier for Curling Canada, and all the unis in both this Brier and the ladies equivalent, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, plus some other big events like the 2018 Olympics, were manufactured by Goldline. Sadly (but probably due to practicality), the uniforms are all templates, following one pattern that is changed up only by the different colors on it. Most of the skips wear jackets (which are slightly different from the shirts), while the lead, second and vice usually sport just the shirts. All the teams wear black pants.
Some of the players wear caps (and one guy wears a bandana), and the shoes, while usually black, are a mish-mash. There’s not much room for styling here (and that’s the intent — the event is, while certainly about regional pride, about the teams and not the players). Let’s take a look at the unis of the teams involved (click any images below to enlarge):
The red and gold colors pretty much match the main colors of the flag.
You get a good idea of the template and the skip’s jackets here. The jersey is predominately white, with black and purple stripes running up and down the sides. There is a sort of “V” pattern on the shoulders. All skips jackets are in the same colorscheme, with a heart-shaped badge on the left breast. I’m not sure why Yukon wears black & purple.
The Nova Scotia flag resembles that of Scotland, which is where the blue and white comes from — of course, they had to add gray to the unis because to fit the template, three colors are needed.
You’ll note that the team’s skip, Jamie Koe, is holding a strange-looking device. It’s called a stabilizer and it’s used to keep the body parallel to the ice during a delivery. Most curlers use a broom for their shot, but oftentimes guys who are injured will use the stabilizer.
The Saskatchewan colors are pretty much green and gold, but their unis are green, white and black. Why? Well, as you will see, green and gold are taken. Note the skip wears a plain green and white cap.
A couple of interesting uni-tweaks with Quebec: the skip, Jean-Michel Menard, wears regular Converse sneakers, which are simply modified into curling shoes. Also, second Phillip Menard, wears a bandana (to my knowledge, he is the only curler to do so).
More green on these unis, only they use purple as their secondary color. Surprisingly, with as many teams who are wearing green, none of them went with red and green (which would make sense here, if they’re trying to pull in the colors of the flag). You’ll also note the back of the jersey — each team uses a two letter designation for their province/territory. PE in this case is short for Prince Edward Island.
No black in that flag, but there’s a black streak in the uni (which is odd, because Team Canada, below, also has black). Nevertheless, It think this one pairs with the black pants quite well. One of the best looking kits in the field. Something else very cool, the team allowed sub Craig Savill to throw two rocks in Team Ontario’s final game. Savill was forced to take time off from curling due to being diagnosed with cancer, but was allowed to play in the game.
Northern Ontario got the coveted green and gold.
N.L. (as they’re known) went with red, gray and white. Notice the white circles on the bottom of skip Brad Gushue’s left shoe — those are known as “sliders” and they facilitate, well, sliding out of the hack and down the ice (Brad Gushue, unfortunately, will forever be known for one unfortunate faceplant). By the way, how freakin’ cool is the flag of Newfoundland & Labrador???
Another province with a very cool flag, the team went with black and gold for their colors. Also note second Marc LeCocq sporting a black cap.
Manitoba, with “MB” on their backs, wore black and gold. Note the modified broom skip Mike McEwen uses to shoot with. Pretty cool looking, and based on his performance over the years, pretty effective.
The squad went with blue and yellow, and these work very well. Another strong color combo. Note skip Jim Cotter is wearing a custom “BC” cap (that looks like it was sewn by the same guy who makes those “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” jobs — or just about any custom hat embroiderer that you’d find in the mall).
The lads from Alberta also sported an attractive uni featuring blue and gold.
Team Canada (flag; colors: red and white; more)
Canada went with red, white and black, as they do for most international competitions. Why is there a “Team Canada” in a regional tourney, you may ask — the defending Brier champion is allowed to come back to the next year’s tournament as Team Canada (since they are still Canada’s champions, until the end of the current Brier). They were also accorded a special uni privilege — on the fifth day of the tournament (March 7), it was “military day” and Team Canada were allowed to wear special camo tops. They were the only team in the tournament who wore more than one uniform throughout. They wore both gray camo and green camo.
While I can’t say I’m a fan of the camo, it was nice to at least see one different look than the standard template.
I’ve actually caught a few matches this week, as they are on ESPN3/WatchESPN. And these guys are GREAT too — really fun to watch, and one mistake (which are rare, but the do happen) can either turn a close match into a blowout or completely reverse the tide. After watching these guys play, I’m pumped for my penultimate curling of the season at Lakeside (although I will be playing in one Bonspiel with Paul in early April), but it’s just amazing how good they are and how most of us are just (trying) to have some fun.
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Just one colorization today — from old friend Larry Bodnovich, who takes on his favorite college team, THE Ohio State University Buckeyes.
Click photos to enlarge.
Ohio State cutout figures 1930s with Francis Schmidt I colorized. The Colts figures Brinke found reminded me of these.
I too love the small cutout figures. This is one of my favorite Ohio State pics because of the awesome figures. That is Ohio State coach Francis Schmidt with the figures. The Buckeye team shown is from later 1930s. Maybe 1938. Most likely the figures were not in color but I colorized them.
As to the question from Brinke if other NFL punchout figures were made. I really wonder how often Ohio State or colleges did these.
Great job, Larry!
UW’s Friday Flashback
In case you missed it, Paul’s Friday Flashback on ESPN took a look at some of the St. Paddy’s Day uni-gimmicks worn by three of the four major sports (football is not one of them…for obvious reasons), including a section of the FIRST ever documented St. Paddy’s Day uni-modification (hint: there was no green, and it was for a league that no longer exists). Pretty cool stuff.
Great read, so be sure to check it out if you missed it!
Uni Watch News Ticker
Baseball News: “I didn’t know facemasks were a thing in college softball,” writes James Gilbert. I’m pretty sure we’ve not only seen those before, but discussed them on UW. I know I’ve seen them in the Women’s College World Series before. … “Another black on black game here at the Chanticleer Challenge. We’re getting fancy at CCU,” says Nate Marcus. … No photos, but reader John Moran notes that there will be full dirtpaths this year at the Rogers Centre, as opposed to sliding pits. An old thread on the Creamer message boards actually shows a pretty good mockup of what this could look like. … Here’s a neat 1950s Wheaties ad featuring Roy Campanella teaching kids how to pick off baserunners. Interestingly, Campy isn’t wearing any catchers gear at the time. … I’m not sure if this photo is from this spring, but here’s a cute old couple who have, according to their NOBs, been “Together Since 55.” (from GP). This is, of course, not a new phenomenon. … We’ve seen these before, but God are these Louisville baseball unis atrocious (screen grab from Taylor Hanslovan). … Gotham High School (located in Middletown, MD) have new unis this year which feature two different eras of Baltimore Orioles stirrups (from MHS Baseball). … Speaking of glorious hosiery, Vanderbilt wore stirrups yesterday and the call it #SaturdaySocks (from Jason Piant). … The Atlanta Braves have changed word marks on jerseys to match print versions (great spot by Jason Fulton). … The Texas Rangers James Jones was wearing beautiful stirrups yesterday (from Tiffany). … Because they have no home games next week, Ole Miss wore green caps yesterday (via Andrew Beckner). … Only in Spring Training do you get two guys both wearing #2 (photo from Ethan Kassel). … Here’s one time when it pays to be a minor leaguer in the big team’s camp: D-backs MiLBers up for a look-see don’t have to wear the snake print unis (nice spot by Taylor Maun. … Beautiful 1985 Cubs Spring Training program here (from Bruce Menard). … Remember this ghost World Series champs cap from 2013? Well, here’s one from 2014. Either that or the Giants got a new solid black logo (from Kenny Thorne and Lukas Ronkin respectively). … Alabama baseball has a logo for their new stadium on the back of their batting helmets (from Griffin Smith). Also from Griffin, Houston and Alabama went color vs. color yesterday. … Sacramento State and Pacific played a black vs. black game yesterday (from Ian Gerig). … Last evening, a Mariners baserunner was wearing a blue top while the rest of the team was wearing Northwest Green (h/t All Blue Everything).
NFL/College Football News: Reader Michael McLaughlin writes, “This is odd: A lawsuit claims the Giants gave Michael Strahan a fake jersey after the Super Bowl.” According to that article, the suit claims “Eli Manning and the Giants sold fraudulent jerseys, helmets and other memorabilia to fans and trading card companies, claims clubhouse attendant Edward Skiba sold Strahan’s Super Bowl jersey to plaintiff Eric Inselberg shortly after the game. The club gave Strahan, elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014, a bogus jersey.” … Miami Dolphins pickup in Syracuse, NY? Sure why not: “I live in the suburbs of Syracuse, NY,” says Rick DiRubbo. “Driving around this morning I saw this truck in a parking lot.” … Reader John Turney has written a neat piece on how Dick Romanski, the Oakland Raiders long-time equipment manager, would tweak the color of the Raiders helmets every so often to give them a different silver hue. … If you owned a “25” New Orleans Saints jersey with “BUSH” on the back, you’re finally SOL, since the Saints no longer have either Reggie nor Rafael Bush on the roster, both of whom wore number 25. … Heading into Spring Practice, the Florida Gators still have Ray Graves memorial sticker (from Dave Doop).
Hockey News: Here’s how those Muskegon Lumberjacks “Beach Party” uniforms with a light skin tone looked on the ice (from Teddy). The jerseys look like total shite with the black panels, but the pants/socks actually aren’t too horrible (if you can get past the fact that ‘fleshtone’ probably isn’t the best idea for a uniform. Here’s more on that. … Hmmm. This article claims the Philadelphia Flyers will wear a green jersey “for their game on March 15th.” You’d need to actually watch the video for them to note it’s actually pre-game (as many teams do). Thanks to Jim Dornberger. … The Huntsville Havoc wore flag desecration uniforms last evening (from BETZ).
NBA News: This is awesome: Here is a collection of 250 NBA/Basketball Themed Advertisements — big thanks to Sock Puppet. Some of these are absolutely amazing (others are just so-so). … This is pretty cool — here’s a piece of the Space Jam movie being shot of Michael Jordan against a green screen and with “actors” also in green (from Phil Lawson). … This sounds like something I would have written for the Sporting News: “Here Are The Best Uniforms In The History of Every Current NBA Franchise.” … James Dayton asks, “any reason why bucks.com/@bucks on sideline is team’s old font? New font on baseline.”
College/High School Hoops News: Stony Brook a Nike school, but yet they have a backboard with UA on the standard (from Jeff Bethers). … Apparently Trae Bell-Haynes of West Virginia wears the number “2” because it is 5 upside down (thanks to Jeremy Brahm). … Whoops: Looks like the American Conference broadcast had a mixup with logos during UCONNs Jalen Adams post game interview (from UC Big Heads). … The University of Virginia wore navy unis during last evening’s ACC Tourney Championship (from Matthew Althoff). … VCU guard Melvin Johnson normally wears low-tops, but he needed the support of a high-top shoe after landing on a defender’s foot and injuring his left ankle. So he ambled to the House of Hoops by Foot Locker store and just picked up a pair (thanks to TommytheCPA). … Utah and Oregon went color vs. color for the PAC12 title game (from Andrew Greenblatt). Here’s another look (from RNs Funhouse).
Soccer News: Here’s one from Yellow Away Kit: “More RESPECT irregularities (yester)day in FA Cup: both sleeves for @Everton, none for @ChelseaFC.” … Tweeter Sam writes, “Team that played Porto are sponsored by @Cristiano brand.”
Grab Bag: During the Round 2 game in the National Rugby League competition between the Canberra Raiders and the Sydney Roosters, Canberra half-back Sam Williams wore a jersey with the number 007 instead of the usual 7, as a fundraiser for charity (thanks to Graham Clayton). … Here are some neat old finds from Phil Lawson: Sly Stallone in a football jersey and also (no cause rebel) James Dean in a basketball uni. … The dangers of posting about a flag being “backwards” on a helmet (read some of the comments). Of course, as we know, the U.S. Flag Code, first written in 1923, explicitly prohibits such use of Old Glory. But, ya know, ‘murica! … The Georgetown Hoyas lax team wore an all gray uniform yesterday vs Hobart (via Georgetown Hoyas). … Hofstra and Ohio State played a color vs. color lax game yesterday (from Jason Eich). … Washington Metro Police will get new uniforms this summer — the current unis are navy blue, but the new unis will feature a neon-yellow color block and reflective trim.
And that’s it for today — hope everyone remembered to turn their clocks forward an hour. Yay! Two weeks to make up that one lost hour of sleep, but it’s so worth it. You guys have a great week and I’ll catch you next weekend. Until then…
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“I still maintain that reviving the Caveman would be the best way to get rid of Chief Wahoo.”
— Signifying Monkey