CFB Curling Club needs to be saved

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 6:44 AM ET

Sad to say, they may be paving this version of a sports paradise and putting up a super market lot by the summer of 2004.

The future of CFB\'s Lipsett Hall, the CFB Curling Club and the surrounding grounds that include well-kept baseball diamonds, looks bleak. In fact, the curling club has been told not to make any plans beyond April, 2004. And that has the MCA concerned.

\"You\'d hate to lose another facility,\" said MCA executive director Ian Staniloff. \"It\'s a very nice curling club and a great location. It might be a good idea for the MCA to look at the site as a high-performance centre.

\"Maybe there are ways to save the current facilities but that will be up to the Government of Canada when it puts them up for tender.\"

And that\'s when Sport Manitoba should get involved.

Although Staniloff has had several discussions with CFB curling club management over its future, the MCA board of directors has not officially approached the subject -- yet. Staniloff also suggested that private investors could save the club.

However, the rumbles are that the land will be converted into another big box store.

\"If there\'s another retail outlet there, it will just be another traffic jam,\" Staniloff said. \"It would kill the whole area.\"

Lipsett Hall includes a large gym, swimming pool with decent shower facilities, and both a weightlifting and a workout room. But then, no one can shop there.

ON TRIALS: The Grand Slammers are still seeking 2005 Olympic trials berths to be awarded to their Players\' Championships and some say, if the CCA refuses, it could prevent a pact being signed between the two factions.

\"The Players\' Championship used to have them and we believe that should continue,\" said WCT executive director Chad McMullan. \"Why tinker with something that helped create two great fields the last two times they were held?

\"That\'s certainly a big issue to a lot of our players but I wouldn\'t say that it\'s the last stumbling block in our negotiations.\"

There is also concern that the CCA will award two trials spots at each of its next two national and women\'s championships (a total of four men\'s and four women\'s).

Although some Slammers remain optimistic that an agreement can be reached before next season, the players have voted to continue their boycott of Brier playdowns if there is no deal. If so, they should give Alberta\'s Randy Ferbey the 2004 Brier title, too.

And, despite a horrendous TV rating for the championship semifinal, McMullan claims that Sportsnet is \"ecstatic\" with its numbers on Slam casts.

\"They are getting over 200,000 viewers consistently and those are great numbers, especially for Sportsnet,\" he said, referring to its limited audience.

All four Slam events, by the way, turned modest profits for their respective host committees this year. In fact, Humboldt, Sask., may have earned as much as $60,000.

HOUSE CLEANING

World Universiade champion Mike McEwen of Brandon will play for James Kirkness next season ... Thompson\'s Betty-Anne Kraft recently won a berth into the 2004 senior women\'s provincials.

COMING UP

Don Nelson is representing Manitoba at the Canadian Police Curling Championship in Summerside, P.E.I., this week, along with third Doug Hooper, second Garry Brears and Gord Dahl ... Guy Senecal will wear the Buffalo at the Canadian Firefighters Curling Championship at the Fort Rouge Curling Club, March 22-29. Senecal will be supported by third Dennis Neal, second Bob Scott and Ken Anderson ... The championship round of the Valour Road Bonspiel series starts Monday.


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