(by Robin Short)
Brad Gushue nailed it a couple of months ago, telling TSN.ca he was concerned about the future of some of Canada’s curling events in the wake of COVID-19.
He was, unfortunately, bang on with his unease, relaying to veteran golf/curling scribe Bob Weeks he was worried curling’s smaller, non-televised events will struggle to land sponsorships in the wake of the pandemic.
His angst came shortly after skipping Mark Nichols, Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker to Newfoundland and Labrador’s third Tim Hortons Brier championship in four years last spring, and after it was announced the World Men’s Curling Championship in Glasgow, Scotland was cancelled.
Now, three months later, turns out Gushue’s fears were relatively minor compared to what could — and, indeed, what did — happen.
This week, Sportsnet, which owns and televises the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling, announced it will postpone the 2020-21 season to April, reducing the number of events from six down to two because of COVID-19.
Make no mistake, the impact will be felt far and wide.
Canadian curlers are not Canadian hockey players. If they don’t play, and they don’t win, they don’t get paid. And there are a lot of expenses.