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TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:21 AM ET

So far, the Canadian Curling Association has received enough e-mails, if printed out, to completely cover an entire sheet of ice.

And that's just off the major mess that's the CBC coverage of the Scott Tournament of Hearts.

If this incredible cock-up continues through to the Edmonton Tim Horton's Brier - and there's every indication it will - you'll be able to wallpaper Rexall Place with printouts of the e-mail outrage.

"It sucks," says five-time Brier champion Randy Ferbey. "It's terrible ... I hear they don't intend to fix it for the Brier but they just have to. They have to fix it for the world championships in Victoria and for the Olympic trials in Halifax.

"With no hockey, CBC should be doing 12 hours a day. I don't understand it, I really don't. It's a major step back for curling."

It's not like you couldn't see this coming, when the CCA got greedy and went for dollars over sense.

The curling association ditched TSN, the network that, with three-draw-a-day coverage, in many ways built the game to the point where the Brier could play NHL arenas and draw as many as 300,000 in Edmonton this year.

The decision has resulted in a dog's breakfast of TV coverage and with Scott Paper, a wonderful sponsor of the women's event currently being televised out of Newfoundland, being less than thrilled about the feedback they're receiving. Some curling fans have threatened to boycott their products.

THROWING DOUGHNUTS

Event co-oridinator for Scott, Robin Wilson, went on the record saying "our concern is that a lot of people - and I mean hundreds, maybe more - are saying they won't buy Scott products anymore."

By the time the Brier gets here, fans might be throwing Tim Hortons doughnuts at CBC broadcaster Don Wittman in the booth. Only local Tim Hortons people were at last night's Brier Tankard presentation at the Granite Curling Club and they refused to comment.

CBC's switchboards have been lit up all week, and one fan reported to me that they were told to go spend the money to buy a digital box for their TV. Take curling away from Canadians in the same year you take hockey away from Canadians and you've got trouble.

The problem is, CBC has been putting just a single draw a day on the main national network. Some of them have even been live. The rest have been on Country Canada. Some of the other games have been on The Score.

The CRTC will allow only a small amount of sport to be shown on Country Canada.

HEIDI HAPPENED

So Heidi happened. And it will probably happen again at the Brier. It was November 1968 when the Oakland Raiders were battling the New York Jets, and Joe Namath and Daryle Lamonica were embroiled in a classic battle of quarterbacks.

The Jets had taken a 32-29 lead on a field goal with just over a minute to play. The stage was set for the national TV audience to view the ending, but instead the game was yanked in favour of the film Heidi, which had been scheduled for that exact minute.

Well, there they were, on the 10th end, with plenty of rocks in play and Saskatchewan skip Stefanie Lawton in the hack and ... TV said that Heidi could never happen again. But it did. In curling, in Canada. It happened in the Alberta-B.C. game Saturday night as well.

The problem, other than Country Canada being involved in the first place, is that Country Canada is only allowed to show 12.6 hours of sports a week. With neither the CCA, the CBC or sponsorship pressure having acheived a solution, look for it to happen at the Brier and this story to become even bigger.

The bottom line is, curling is coming to the biggest show it's ever had and is going to seriously screw it up because of a greedy curling association allowing a public corporation, supported by taxpayers dollars, to outbid a private concern with no intention of giving the volume or excellence it's been used to receiving.

Throw 'em all in the same public penalty box with the hockey people.


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