Defection leaves MCT in sticky spot

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

The formation of a new foursome is causing a kerfuffle with the Manitoba Curling Tour.

Chris Suchy, who played third for Ste. Anne's Renaud Gagne last season, has left him to reunite with Valour Road's Mark Lukowich next year. Trouble is, Suchy took Gagne's front end -- Hub Perrin and Brad Hawkins -- with him, and that has caused a lot of head scratching among those in charge of the MCT, as well as the Manitoba and Canadian Curling Associations.

Gagne won the MCT men's title with the other three in early January, earning the team the right to play next year's winner in a playoff for the Safeway Select spot, as well as a berth into the CCA's Canada Cup West Bonspiel.

"If that is true, there is a problem for us," Bob Picken, MCT events co-ordinator said yesterday. "Our rules state that it can be either three members of the team or the skip that can claim that (berth)."

But both want that playoff spot.

"It's a really sticky situation, but Chris wanted to move on," said Lukowich, who went to the 2002 Brier with Suchy at third. "I imagine it wasn't a very easy conversation (between Suchy and Gagne)."

Although Lukowich got the impression from the MCA that he will get that playoff, Picken said that would be up to the MCT board, and both sides must submit an official request for that spot if they want it. And neither has submitted one yet. Gagne, however, has already discussed the situation with Picken.

"I talked to (MCA president) Lorne Hamblin and he said they (MCA) would go by whatever decision the MCT board made," Picken said. "But the CCA might take that Canada Cup (West) spot away.

"There has been no precedence for this in five years. If anything, winning it (MCT title) has served to keep teams together."

Meanwhile, Gagne admitted he does not have a team for next year -- yet.

"This has never happened to me before and I don't want to react in the wrong way," said a clearly befuddled Gagne.

Picken said a decision will likely be made at a board meeting at the end of this month when Jennifer Jones, the MCT vice-president, returns from the women's world championship in Paisley, Scotland.

BITER: Cathy Gauthier, the lead for Jennifer Jones, actually had to get off the team's return flight from St. John's Nfld., in Toronto, where she stayed overnight at the airport's infirmary Monday night due to an ear infection.


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