Monday, November 23, 2015

Hardline Curling Brush Update - November 23rd, 2015

Since we opened in 2010, Hardline Curling has built its business on the foundation of one core value - Integrity. Whether dealing with customers, pro-shops, players, the equipment we sell, or the game, our integrity has never been and will never be compromised.

Over the last 2 months, Hardline and those who use its products have been unfairly targeted by groundless accusations and harmful insinuations with respect to the innovative and successful  Hardline icePad curling brush. These accusations have compromised the integrity and trust of not only our company, but of those who play with our gear, whether they are elite or recreational club curlers.

Hardline Curling will no longer sit quiet. Whether it’s on social media or our blog, we will answer those who are failing to give the straight facts. We receive countless emails and calls supporting us, and we owe it to everyone who has put their faith and hard earned dollars into our gear.
Concerning recent WCF rulings, it is important to note that the Hardline icePad is not banned as some have claimed. There are two modifications (inverting the cover and removing the plastic insert) that have to be made for approval in WCF events only, but the icePad is not banned.  In fact, our teams playing in the European championships continue to play with an approved version of the icePad. 

We have been in contact with the WCF concerning equipment. We have made a number of recommendations that would be fair for all suppliers. We have asked the WCF to set parameters as to what is acceptable in terms of performance of brush heads before testing begins. We have asked that Hardline representatives be present for all testing. We have asked what and how tests will be conducted. We have asked Curling Canada to provide all testing data from previous years so we can compare to present day testing. All of our requests have been denied without explanation.

Our recommendations to the WCF even included taking out all intellectual property from suppliers’ pads, with the WCF choosing the fabric. For example, no plastic insert of the icePad, no foil in the Balance Plus pad, no ridges in the Goldline, Asham and Performance pads. Straight fabric on foam. Our opinion is this would ensure fair play for everyone at the Elite level. The WCF did not respond to our recommendation.  While it is an extreme and in our view unnecessary measure, this would ensure fair play if all inserts were removed.

The WCF’s most recent ruling was to take out a part of the icePad’s intellectual property, the plastic insert. The WCF have stated that their decision was based on preliminary test results. We have asked for all the data concerning these tests and the results. Again, the WCF has refused to send us any of this data. 

Hardline believes the WCF has made these recent decisions based on a flawed process and without having concluded all testing required to reach a fair and equitable conclusion. Hardline has engaged legal counsel to, among other things, push for full and complete transparency behind the WCF’s decision-making and to enforce Hardline’s rights as an innovative and hard-working manufacturer. 
We stated long ago that any decisions reached should involve all the major stakeholders including players, associations and manufacturers, coming to a decision together regarding what the guidelines should be and what the testing will include going forward. We have also stated that once all the guidelines are set on what is or is not acceptable, an independent testing facility should conduct testing on all products with players and representatives from each stakeholder to oversee all the testing. All results should immediately be given to all stakeholders. This is the only way to ensure a transparent process and optimal solution for all stakeholders.

For the last 4 years, Hardline has manufactured top of the line and innovate equipment without complaint. The recent spate of complaints and accusations are unfounded and damaging to Hardline. Despite making several requests, we have been provided with no evidence to support these exaggerated allegations, such as reports that the icePad makes rocks “move like a joystick”.  We have been sent no evidence because we believe none exists. There is no truth to these allegations. 

Hardline will continue to strive to provide excellent customer service, out-innovate, and out-perform the competition. We are not going away. We are Hardline Nation.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hardline Curling Press Release Nov 18, 2015 - Response to WCF Moratorium

Hardline Curling Press Release November 18, 2015
Response to WCF Moratorium for remainder of 2015/16 Season

Regarding the moratorium being imposed by the World Curling Federation for all WCF events for the remainder of the 2015/16 season, Hardline Curling disagrees with this decision. We have asked the WCF to see the reports that have led to this decision.  We were promised transparency in all testing, and this was assured to us from day one.  We have not yet received any test results or how tests were administered, or what pads were tested.  We feel this decision has been hastily reached without sufficient and proper independent testing.

Foremost, it must be made clear that this decision reached by the WCF does not affect recreational or house league club play, or recreational open bonspiels.   It is only for World Curling Federation events.  Recreational and club players, and non-WCF events including open and fun bonspiels, are still permitted to play with the Hardline icePad in its current form with the Pro cover and plastic insert, and we encourage all our supporters to continue playing with the best curling brush ever designed in your club leagues, recreational play, and fun bonspiels. 

In fact, we encourage all our Hardline Curling and icePad supporters to write the World Curling Federation and show your support of the icePad and oppose this decision.

Our professional Hardline Curling teams and players have been subject to non-stop bullying and accusations of cheating in recent weeks from their opponents, when our teams have done everything to conform to player agreements and the WCF interim decision of November 6th, 2015.  Hardline Curling feels this is bullying at its ugliest form, and goes against the ideals of curling sportsmanship, and it has to stop.

This targeting of the Hardline icePad and its teams has been way overblown by a small but vocal minority of teams and our competitors.  First, we were accused of having "directional fabric", which has been since proven we do not.  Our teams inverted the icePad cover which was agreed upon as an acceptable solution.  Our teams continued to perform well and win events.  Then the treated finish of the icePad cover was brought into question, and when players realized it is not the fabric, a decision is now being made to remove the plastic insert, which by the way was also utilized by other suppliers in their brush heads.  The truth is it is none of these factors.  What will be attacked next?  When will our accusers understand that it is talent, good shot-making, and effective sweeping techniques that help them win games and events?  Testing has confirmed that all brushes with proper sweeping techniques can achieve the same so-called disputed results.  If this is the case, then why is the icePad still being targeted?

To our detractors who say we are not co-operating, Hardline Curling has had discussions with the WCF and provided them with several options for an equitable standard for elite level competition, including removing all inserts – plastic inserts, foil, foam ridges – and just have an accepted fabric against a cushion or foam.  It is unfortunate that none of these solutions have been adopted, because we feel that it would provide the proper standard and equal playing field that is being requested, which is what everyone is striving for.

Hardline Curling intends to continue to pursue all options available to us to have the icePad reinstated without exception, through proper independent testing.  We will do what is necessary to protect the intellectual property of the icePad and have it approved for play, all the while continuing to provide our elite teams with the equipment necessary that conforms to the ever-changing regulations to help them perform at their best.

We thank all of our supporters during this time for your continued support.  Your emails, phone calls, and social media messages provide us the strength to continue moving forward.  We continue to be hopeful for a fair and equitable resolution in the near future.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


It’s been an interesting last couple of weeks in the curling world.  We thank you all for your emails, tweets, phone calls and texts of support for Hardline and the icePad.  It is very much appreciated!  We’re hoping cooler heads will prevail, and a decision will be made shortly.

But for now, let’s get back to some great results for Team Hardline!

Week # 9

The big event in men’s play was in Portage MB for the Canad Inns Curling Classic.  It featured several Hardline teams in action, including Steve Laycock, Reid Carruthers, and Charley Thomas who all qualified for playoffs.  Mike McEwen, 2 time defending champion and 4 of the last 5 years surprised everyone by not qualifying for playoffs for the first time since joining Team Hardline.  Laycock defeated Carruthers in one quarterfinal, while Thomas defeated Morozumi of Japan to also reach semis.  Laycock then beat Thomas in that semi final and went on to claim their first win with Hardline defeating Kevin Koe in the finals!  Congrats Team Steve Laycock!

(Matt Hermiz/TheGraphic/Postmedia Network)

In Kamloops, Team Dean Joanisse continued their great play reaching the finals of the Hub International Crown of Curling, defeating Kim of South Korea, and Jim Cotter to get there.  In the finals, they lost to Sean Geall by a close 5-4 score! 

In women’s play, Team Allison Flaxey reached the finals of the Stroud Sleeman Cash Spiel.

Week # 10

Week # 10 action saw the top men’s teams playing in Gatineau QC, including one of the hottest teams this year Team Brad Gushue.  Surprisingly, many of the top favorites did not qualify for playoffs, including Edin, Simmons, and Murdoch.  Team Gushue ran the table going a perfect 7-0 to win their 4th event of the season!  Congrats Team Gushue!

Team Gushue (Photo Challenge Chateau Cartier Facebook page)

In Red Deer AB, the Red Deer Curling Classic was played, and teams Dean Joanisse and Charley Thomas both reached the quarterfinals.

In Champery SUI, Team Peter De Cruz qualified for playoffs in the Champery Masters event, losing in the quarterfinals.

In women’s action, the Canad Inns Women’s Classic was played in Portage MB, and teams Kristy McDonald and Kerri Einarson reached the quarterfinals, and Tracy Fleury made it to the semi finals! Great playing by all!

In Red Deer AB at the Red Deer Classic, Kalynn Park reached the quarterfinals, while teams Chelsea Carey and Nadine Chyz both reached the semi finals!  A nice showing for our teams.

In Moncton NB, Team Theresa Breen were finalists of the Lady Monctonian Invitational.

Week # 11

Week # 11 had all eyes watching the GSOC Masters in Truro NS.  The top 15 men’s and women’s teams were placed in 3 groups of 5 for round robin play. 

In men’s play, defending champion Team Brad Gushue went 4-0 and secured their spot in the playoffs.  Team Mike McEwen went 3-1 and also secured their spot.  Team Reid Carruthers finished 2-2 and qualified direct to the quarter finals with a good shootout score.  Team Steve Laycock also finished 2-2, but had to play Glenn Howard in a tiebreaker, and defeated them to reach the quarterfinals.

In the quarterfinals, it was 2 Hardline battles, with Gushue playing Laycock, and McEwen playing Carruthers.  In the 4th end of the Gushue v Laycock quarterfinal, Brad Gushue slipped and fell face first onto the ice, suffering a cut just above the eye.  It was a very scary situation and play on all 4 sheets came to a stop.  Thankfully, he was ok.  He was taken to hospital for stitches, while the rest of the team played 3 players.  Laycock continued his great play, and Gushue returned in the 7th end, but in the end, Laycock won by a 5-2 score.   In the other Hardline battle, McEwen defeated Carruthers by a 7-4 score.

In the semi finals, Laycock faced a tough Jim Cotter team and went down to defeat by an 8-3 score.  In the other semi final, McEwen faced Kevin Koe, with McEwen scoring a big 3 in the 6th end to take a 5-3 lead.  In the 7th end, McEwen made two great shots to remove all of Koe’s rocks in the house, which led to a blank end.  In the 8th, with time running short for both teams, Koe released his rock with 1 second left on their time clock, but missed his shot to score 2, and McEwen took home the victory.

In the finals, McEwen scored a big deuce in the 6th end, and then forced Cotter to take one in the 7th end.  In the 8th end, McEwen calmly drew to the 4 foot against two counters, and took home the Masters trophy for their 3rd win this year, and 6th GSOC title of their career.

Photo Anil Mungal - GSOC

In women’s action, Silvana Tirinzoni and Kristy McDonald both finished with 3-1 round robin records and qualified for playoffs.  Tirinzoni faced Kerri Einarson in the quarterfinals, and it was an exciting high scoring game, but in the end, Einarson won by a 10-7 score.  McDonald faced hometown favorite Mary Anne Arsenault in another quarterfinal winning 5-2 to reach the semi finals.  In the semis, skip Kristy McDonald came down with the flu and was unable to play.  Kate Cameron assumed skip duties and the team played with 3 players against Team Homan.  They gave it a valiant effort, but Homan eventually won the game 8-5.  Congrats to all Team Hardline for their great play at The Masters.

In other men’s action, in Sarnia ON, Team John Shuster captured the Huron RepoGraphics Oil Heritage Classic, continuing their strong play!  In Medicine Hat AB, Hardline supporters Shaun Meachem won the Medicine Hat Charity Classic, Jason Jacobson reaching semis, and team Peter De Cruz made the quarterfinals.

In women’s action, Team Jacqueline Harrison captured the Gord Carroll Curling Classic for their 2nd win of the season!  Well played ladies!   Team Allison Flaxey also qualified for playoffs, reaching the quarterfinals. 

Hardline WIN Count after Week # 11:  21

Brad Gushue – Stu Sells Oakville
Silvana Tirinzoni – GSOC Tour Challenge Tier 1
Kerri Einarson – GSOC Tour Challenge Tier 2
Jacqueline Harrison – OCT Oakville Fall Classic
Brad Gushue – AMJ Campbell Shorty Jenkins Classic
Shaun Meachem – HDF Insurance Shootout
Dean Joanisse – Cloverdale Cashspiel
Mike McEwen - Point Optical Curling Classic
Allison Flaxey - KW Fall Curling Classic
Michelle Monford - Mother Club Curling Classic
Theresa Breen - Appleton Rum Cashspiel
Tyler Tardi - Anita Cochrane Memorial Junior Cash
Brad Gushue - Swiss Cup Basel
Mike McEwen - Stu Sells Toronto
Tyler Tardi - Abbotsford Junior Cashspiel
Steve Laycock – Canad Inns Men’s Classic
Brad Gushue – Challenge Chateau Cartier Gatineau
Mike McEwen – GSOC Masters
John Shuster – Huron ReproGraphics Oil Heritage Classic
Shaun Meachem – Medicine Hat Charity Classic
Jacqueline Harrison – Gord Carroll Curling Classic