Curling's TV uproar weakens

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:14 AM ET

The initial outcry over the Canadian Curling Association's new deal with CBC-TV has grown quieter, at least for now.

"There has been no negative reaction for quite a while," new CCA president Barry Greenberg said during a reception to honour him at the Granite Curling Club on the weekend. "It is disappointing to lose TSN but a lot of people weren't aware that we had to choose one over the other and we made the choice to better grow the sport."

But losing the McCain TSN Skins Game as a result was "totally unexpected," he admitted. Yet, there have been no discussions with CBC to keep the popular made-for-TV event going, Greenberg said. A spot in the Skins Game was a perk given to the Brier champion (by McCain Foods). Because McCain's pulled its sponsorship, there will be no more McCain SuperSpiel West in Portage la Prairie, Greenberg's stomping grounds.

FABULOUS

Greenberg, however, is excited about Tim Hortons coming on board as the title sponsor for both the Brier and Olympic trials.

"It will be fabulous," he said. "They're very committed to the sport and are going to do a lot of cross-selling in their outlets. So, they are going to be more visible than other sponsors."

But, with such new events as the Canada Cup and its two qualifying bonspiels, the Continental Cup, and a world championship site, the CCA has discovered a new problem -- finding enough suitable venues for all of its various events each season.

"It's a real challenge," Greenberg said, "And we need to find relatively safe places, too, where we know the events will do well."

The CCA announced yesterday that the 2006 women's world championship has been awarded to Grand Prairie, Alta., with an arena that will have a capacity of only 3,000.

BITERS: Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton will be one of four teams to represent the West at the $100,000 M&M Meat Shops Sportsnet Skins Game, to be held in Waterloo, Ont., Dec. 27-29 ... The Continental Cup, which starts in Medicine Hat, Alta., later this month, has already been sold out -- which means the event should turn a profit for the first time in three years, Greenberg said.

HOUSECLEANING: Former provincial champion Ron Westcott of Fort Rouge defeated East St. Paul's ex-Canadian champ Carl German 6-4 in the final of the McDiarmid Lumber Senior Men's Berth Bonspiel at the West St. Paul Curling Club late Monday. Westcott's foursome earned the first spot into the provincial championship, to be held at the West Kildonan C.C., March 3-7 ... On the Manitoba Curling Tour, Stonewall's Chris Galbraith downed St. Vital's Rick Muntain 7-4 in the final of the East St. Paul Cash Spiel to win $3,000. Muntain settled for $1,800. St. Vital's Kristy Jenion earned $2,000 when she took the women's side.

COMING UP: Brandon's Terry McNamee will represent Manitoba for the second straight year at the Canadian Mixed championship, which starts in Prince Albert, Sask., on Sunday ... The Scott Tournament of Hearts Berth Bonspiel starts in Carman on Friday. St. Vital's Jennifer Jones has passed on the berth spiel to compete in the first $36,000 cashspiel in Sault Ste. Marie this weekend because she is seeking much-coveted Canadian Team Ranking System points ... The Target Junior Men's berth spiel goes in Hamiota Friday with the Junior Women's in Altona at the same time ... As reported here previously, Manitoba is sending a foursome for the first time to the second Canadian wheelchair curling championship, which starts Monday in Richmond, B.C. ... On the MCT trail is the PharmaSave Gimli Classic.


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