The Canadian Curling Association’s Annual General Meeting was held last weekend in Ottawa. One of the decisions made is that the “Equitable Opportunity to Access Canadian Championships” that was approved at the AGM in 2010 for the 2012 Canadian Mixed and Canadian Senior Curling Championships, will now be expanded to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and Tim Hortons Brier starting in the 2014-2015 season. Team Canada (the 2014 Brier winner) will be added to the Brier competition, while Northern Ontario will be added to the Tournament of Hearts, starting in 2015. Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories would compete as separate entities, making a total of 15 teams.
This new arrangement is expected to include a “relegation” event in advance of the championship, whereby the lower ranked teams would square off in that event, with the losing teams going home before the championship, and has met with disfavour by most of the smaller provinces, who fear that their team may not be able to complete at the national championship every year.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Brad Gushue, whose team now includes PEI natives Adam Casey and Brett Gallant, said at last season’s Brier, as quoted in the official CCA publication “Tankard Times“, that relegation could cost the event the thing that makes it most special – the celebration of Canadiana. “What will all the fans do? If you don’t know if your province or territory is going to be there for the full Brier week, you’re not likely to book flights and hotel rooms to go and be part of it and cheer them on,” he said. “Look at the scene here with 10,000 fans in the stands and fans from every province in Canada. Why would you want to change this?”
PEI’s Brier and Scotties skips also had concerns about the change. Mke Gaudet said:
“For me, I think it would be a shame for a team to have a poor week and ruin it for a young team the next year coming up that could conceivably be very successful.
I look back in the past when Northern Ontario had a very poor year and Brad Jacobs a year or two later comes up and makes the playoffs. What happens then, you know?
“But I think, realistically, it has to be up to the fans. It’s not like I’m going to change anything. But my opinion is, if it went to relegation or whatever, it might just force my retirement.
“It would be a different tournament, so once you go that way you can’t go back.
They have to be careful what they’re doing. I mean, are these fans here wrong?
“What would it do for P.E.I.? At the junior level we’re having a hard enough time keeping the juniors staying in it as it is. If the road’s that much harder to get to the big stage, then it’s obviously going to tail off, I think.
“Why change it? That’s why I think they have to ask the fans. I don’t think that many fans are going to be wrong.
They obviously enjoy watching the format the way it is. But who knows what the CCA is thinking?”
PEI Scotties skip Kim Dolan added:
“We’re trying to grow the game and we need the challenge in order to get to events like these. Not just to be seen at a challenge round like that. We need to keep the young people interested because our numbers have dropped off a little bit.
“I can’t see it helping our province at all, in terms of keeping the interest of people who want to be involved in the game. I believe if it isn’t broken don’t fix it.”
Other highlights from the AGM include an expanded Curling Assistance Program, a new Canadian Mixed Doubles championship, and a new way to time games, that has proved very popular in trials to-date.
Here is the CCA’s news release from the AGM:
The Canadian Curling Association’s National Curling Congress (NCC) and Annual General Meeting (AGM) were held in Ottawa, June 14-16.
“The 2012 National Curling Congress was an excellent opportunity for our members across the country to come together in Ottawa this week,” said Greg Stremlaw, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Curling Association (CCA).
“Our sport has so many success stories from the past year so it was rewarding for us to provide updates to the membership as well as celebrate accomplishments, including the CCA’s Hall of Fame Luncheon – the organization’s latest initiative.
“With the final equitable opportunity to access Canadian Championships now approved, we were able to formalize exciting changes to the CCA’s two marquee properties, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and the Tim Hortons Brier.”
The CCA is pleased to report that, for a fifth consecutive year, it will finish the fiscal year in the black with a continued positive financial outlook. The Association showed a financial surplus of $227,508 for the 2011-12 season.
The Curling Assistance Program (CAP) received another significant boost with the CCA Board of Governors approving $250,000 to be allocated into CAP for this coming year. This funding program is a CCA-designed one that targets projects intended to grow the sport of curling at the community level or to assist capital projects critical to the operation and health of the CCA’s membership. The new 2012-13 Curling Assistance Program and application details for the CCA’s affiliated curling centres will be available this fall.
An updated Business Plan and Organizational Strategy for the Association were also presented and are available on the CCA’s website (www.curling.ca).
Two years ago, the CCA created a provincial/territorial ranking system to measure Member Association (MA) performances at all of the CCA-operated and sanctioned national curling championships, beginning with the 2010-11 season.
(Photo: Neil Valois)
This year’s Dominion Member Association Cup, presented by TSN, was awarded to Alberta. On a related note, this was the second year of the CCA’s Governors’ Cup, which is awarded to the Member Association making the biggest year-to-year improvement on an average point basis for the above events. This year’s Governors’ Cup was also awarded to Alberta.
Earlier this year, five new inductees to the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame were announced by the CCA. All five (Pat Sanders, Millard Evans, Marv Wirth, Ken McLean, André Ferland) were officially honoured at the CCA’s inaugural Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon on June 14.
A number of motions passed at the CCA Annual General Meeting, including:
- The Equitable Opportunity to Access Canadian Championships that was approved at the AGM in 2010 for application to the 2012 Canadian Mixed and Canadian Senior Curling Championships will now be expanded to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and Tim Hortons Brier starting in 2015. Team Canada (the 2014 Brier winner) will be added to the Brier competition, beginning in 2015, while Northern Ontario will be added to the Tournament of Hearts, starting in 2015.
- The AGM also approved changes for a new Rule Book that will cover the period from 2012-14. The biggest change to be incorporated will involve a change to game timing. Beginning with the 2012-13 season, the CCA will incorporate “reverse timing” for all of its championships (each team will be given 40 minutes of “thinking time” for a 10 end game and five minutes for each extra-end). This is the reverse of the traditional timing approach when each team was given 73 minutes to play, with the clock running from the time the opponent’s stones came to rest until the playing side’s stone stopped. The new approach marks the amount of time it takes to put a stone into play (or thinking time) versus the time a team is actually taking to play a shot.
- The membership also approved the incorporation of a Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship, at a site and date to be announced, starting with the 2012-13 season. The structure of this event is still to be determined and it will be reviewed after a two-year trial period. The championship will not be subject to the residency rule applied to other championships and the CCA staff will report back to the MA’s after the two-year trial.
- The membership voted in favour of increasing the total number of teams participating at the M & M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors from 12 to 14 (one team represents each member association) for the 2012-13 season. This means there will be no qualifying round. However, the competition format for the 2013 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors will be determined before September 30, 2012.
Having completed their tenures, Governors Bernadette McIntyre of Regina and Mitch Tarapasky of Winnipeg retired from the CCA Board.
Yves Maillet of Riverview, New Brunswick and Shirley Osborne of Halifax, Nova Scotia were elected by the Member Association delegates to serve on the CCA Board of Governors for a 5-year term. Jim Mann of Richmond, British Columbia was elected to a one-year term to replace Jim Campbell, who resigned from the board in February with one year remaining on a 5-year term.
The new Chair of the CCA Board of Governors for the 2012-13 season is Ron Hutton of Saint John, New Brunswick while the Vice-Chair is Hugh Avery of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The next Canadian Curling Association Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday, June 15, 2013 in Ottawa.