Stoughton earns Select berth from MCA

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:52 AM ET

Jeff Stoughton earned what he should have gotten in the first place all over again. When his Charleswood foursome won the Grand Slam in Humboldt, Sask., on the weekend, Stoughton not only pocketed $30,000 but actually gained another 40 points on the Canadian Team Ranking System, Canadian Curling Association administrator Danny Lamoureux said yesterday.

Since that puts Stoughton about 29 points ahead of Dave Boehmer with 21 left available in the Canada Cup West Bonspiel this weekend, his squad has indeed earned the new exemption into the Safeway Select being awarded to Manitoba's top CTRS squad, Lamoureux confirmed.

"After all that, we came through and wrapped it all up," Stoughton said. "We didn't know if it would work out but now we don't have to worry about zone playdowns."

Stoughton deserved that exemption as the top CTRS squad in all of Canada last season but the Manitoba Curling Association decided to give it to the leading team midway through the current campaign instead -- this year only.

"I don't think anybody owed us anything," said Jon Mead, Stoughton's third. "We didn't think we were going to have as much of a shot at it because we weren't playing as much as some of the other guys. But it was a pretty significant goal for us.

"Now, we'd love to represent the province at the Brier and represent the country at the worlds again."

Stoughton has not only gotten that exemption this year but is already halfway to earning the one up for grabs next season.

"The (MCA) ruling was kind of silly because the guy ahead at the end of the year was going to get the '06 exemption anyway," said Stoughton.

"It's sort of ours to lose now," Mead said.

"We've got a good jump on it," added Stoughton.

CUP STUFF: Stonewall's Chris Galbraith was awarded the CCA exemption into this week's Canada Cup East Bonspiel in Ottawa due to his La Releve status, Lamoureux said.

But several teams -- including Manitoba's Vic Peters and James Kirkness -- declined invitations.

"I got caught off-guard because I thought that everyone would want to play in these bonspiels," Lamoureux said. "Our original plan was to have smaller fields but the teams said that 32-team fields wouldn't be an issue."

Each winner of the respective four cashspiels will earn Olympic trials berths while the top four finishers in each will qualify for the Canada Cup, where another trials spot will be up for grabs.

Stoughton will be one of six Manitoba teams in Edmonton for the western men's spiel.

EYE SUPPORT: You might say that Barb Spencer has a clearer view of her goals these days. Spencer recently had laser eye surgery and liked the work so much that she got the Clearvue Laser Centre to sponsor her Fort Rouge squad.

"I couldn't see two feet in front of me without my glasses on before and now I have 20-20 vision," said the former provincial champion.

"And we won our first (Manitoba Curling Tour) spiel right after that. I was really happy with them and the service I got afterwards."

Spencer is now giving out discount cards to anyone who wants to get the same surgery.

House Cleaning

With Arnold Asham absent, David Bohn skipped his Valour Road squad to victory in the Manitoba Curling Tour's Thistle Integrity Stakes, earning $3,200. Bohn beat Elmwood's Pete Nicholls ($2,000) 7-1 in the final.

Coming Up

Two Safeway Select rural zone playdowns and a masters women's berth bonspiel go this weekend.


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