Curling "Grudge Match" Outdraws NHL Game By Half A Million ViewersS

There was a big curling game last night at the Tournament of Hearts in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. So big, in fact, that the Winnipeg Free-Press called it a "battle royale,", the Toronto Sun called it a "grudge match," and The Curling News wondered if it could be "the most compelling women's game in curling history." We'll call it the curling game that drew double the viewers of a professional hockey game on Wednesday night.

The background, for such a billing: Team Canada captain skip Jennifer Jones (shown above) abruptly dismissed her longtime teammate, Cathy "Cathy-O" Overton-Clapham, last spring. Cast off, Overton-Clapham rejoined Team Manitoba as captain skip, and two nights ago she orchestrated an 8-6 win over the favored Jones squad. The game drew an average of 647,000 viewers, compared to the 492,000 who tuned in for the Edmonton-Colorado game. Cathy-O's upset, though, brought in 1.1 million curling fans for the final shot. I don't know that this really says anything freshly dire about the NHL's popularity; more than anything for me, it emphasizes that curling will persist as one of the great mysteries of humankind.

Curling outdraws NHL on TV
[Toronto Sun]