Exemption decision questionable

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:37 AM ET

Let's get this straight, I may not agree with the Manitoba Curling Association's decision concerning its latest exemption but I will defend to the death its right to make it.

Well, maybe not to the death.

If you missed it, the MCA decided last month to award an exemption into the Safeway Select, which is set aside for Manitoba's top Canadian Team Ranking System point-getter, to a team earning points for a portion of this season. That was directly opposed to Alberta, which awarded its CTRS exemption to the foursome (John Morris) that picked up points over an entire curling campaign. But instead of the MCA following suit and awarding the exemption to Jeff Stoughton -- the top CTRS team in all of Canada last season -- it decided to start from scratch. Just to be fair. That means that the exemption will now go to the squad earning the most points up to Dec. 31 instead of over a whole year.

The MCA should at least be touting the race for the newly-introduced route into the Select. Petersfield's Dave Boehmer (25.96) took that lead when he won $6,000 at the McCain SuperSpiel '04 West on the weekend. But David Hamblin of Morris (19.20) and Brandon's Allan Lyburn (14.30) are right on his heels. Stoughton, who failed to qualify in his second straight cashspiel on the weekend, is well down the list (4.88).

"Yeah, that came to our mind after Stoughton was not doing so well because we never really thought about it much before because it's pretty much a given that Stoughton's going to get it," Boehmer said. "And don't count him out because, if he wins one Grand Slam, then he's the leading Manitoba team -- unless we lose to him in the final."

Both Boehmer and Stoughton will compete in the Slam's $100,000 BDO Curling Classic in Hamilton this weekend, with $30,000 going to the winner. Manitoba's Kerry Burtnyk and Vic Peters will also be there, but neither Hamblin nor Lyburn will be.

Sportsnet will televise a semifinal and the final.

ALBERTA VIEW: Alberta introduced new exemptions to its defending champ (Randy Ferbey), its top CTRS squad (Morris) and will add the top two teams from its local cashspiel tour.

"I'm not really sure how it works," Edmonton's Kevin Martin said. "It's a mess. It's confusing."

And Martin disagrees with awarding exemptions to the local tour teams.

"I thought the exemptions were so that the odds would be better of giving the fields the best teams," he said. But if you make it a tour of smaller spiels, it takes all the bigger dogs out anyways. So that's kind of silly. But it's a start."

COMING UP

The Select southern berth spiel will be held in Portage la Prairie this weekend ... The MCT's Asenaskak Casino Classic goes in The Pas this while another MCT spiel starts at the East St. Paul Curling Club next Tuesday ... The MCA High Performance Centre will hold the first of two seminars at the Granite C.C. tomorrow, with the second on Nov. 10. For more info, call the MCA's new high performance director, Connie Laliberte, at the Granite.

HOUSE CLEANING

St. Vital's Richard Muntain pocketed $3,700 when he beat La Salle's Randy Neufeld 6-2 in the final of an MCT event at the Rossmere C.C. late Monday. Neufeld settled for $1,675 ... Carl German of East St. Paul earned $2,700 by winning the Lloyd Gunnlaugson Senior Bonspiel at the Valour Road while Joyce McDougall of Souris got $1,600 for taking the women's side ... An MCT spiel scheduled for Kenora this weekend has been cancelled because a new ice plant is being installed. It is expected to return next season.


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