Curlers fighting for CTRS points

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:16 AM ET

With the race to qualify for the Canada Cup, another one has gone almost unnoticed. But squads across the country have already started earning points on the Canadian Curling Association's new Canadian Team Ranking System. And the top men's and top women's point-getter at the end of the season will win berths into the 2005 Olympic trials.

Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton, who has already earned a Canada Cup spot, currently leads those standings with 94 points (as of Dec. 15), 10 ahead of Ontario's Wayne Middaugh. Manitoba's Kerry Burtnyk, who is also Cup-bound, is ninth with 30.

Only Manitoba team

On the women's side, Jennifer Jones is the only Manitoba team in the top 10. Jones, who is also Cup-bound, is fifth with 28.33 points.

Winners of both the Nokia Brier and national Scott Tournament of Hearts will get 50 points. In fact, each team there will be guaranteed at least 15 points no matter where it finishes. Both the Canada Cup winners and the World Curling Players' Association Players Champ will get 35 points. And each winner of the other three Grand Slam events earn 30.

On the men's side, winners of such Tier A spiels as the Manitoba Curling Tour's Brandon's Wheat City Curling Classic got 20 points. On the women's side, winners of such Tier A events as the MCT's JVC Women's Classic got 25. Tier B spiels were worth 20 to each winner.

Each team that advances to the playoff round of both the Manitoba men's and women's championships will be awarded 10 points while other provincial championship participants get five each.

MCA-BOUND: Petersfield's Dave Boehmer, one of Manitoba's Grand Slam squads, plans to enter the MCA bonspiel next month after losing out in his Safeway Select rural zone playdowns last weekend. But, since Boehmer did not qualify for the conflicting Slam in Prince Albert, Sask., he did not have to choose between the two.

Boehmer, however, had been one of the hottest teams on the circuit.

"We might have been a little unprepared after playing for cash all fall," Boehmer said yesterday. "We jumped into our zone a little fatigued and the adrenaline just wasn't there. It's just not the same when cash is not on the line.

"But, when you get into the provincials, your game goes to another level."

Boehmer, of course, is all for awarding exemptions to Manitoba's top CTRS point-getters.

"It sure makes a lot of sense if you want to get the best reps for your province at the Brier," he said.

Boehmer did not qualify for the next Slam because it was based on results over the last two years and he lost points because he is skipping a new foursome this season.

ZONES-BOUND: Stoughton, Burtnyk and Vic Peters, Slam squads that had boycotted provincial qualifiers the last two seasons, have entered the Select city zone playdowns, Manitoba Curling Association executive director Ian Staniloff confirmed. 


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