Curlers have carrot yanked away

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:07 AM ET

Some perks that were awarded to local curling champions have suddenly disappeared.

Because the Canada Cup Bonspiels -- qualifiers for the lucrative Canada Cup -- have been postponed for a year, there will be no place for Manitoba's men's and women's champions nor the Manitoba Curling Tour winners to go. Those would be Randy Dutiaume and Jennifer Jones and the MCT's Liza Park and Mark Lukowich. Jones will still get a Canada Cup spot as the reigning Canadian champ.

Ironically, Lukowich was originally awarded that berth after MCT champion Renaud Gagne split up with his team, with three-quarters of that squad joining Lukowich.

Those perks were offered by the Canadian Curling Association, which oversees both the Canada Cup Bonspiels.

"It has nothing to do with us," Manitoba Curling Association executive director Ian Staniloff said yesterday.

"The calendar's just gotten so full, especially in an Olympic year with the Olympic trials and everything. But there's no Olympic trials to be awarded there this year so, it's not as critical."

The calendar is so busy that the MCA moved the Scott Tournament of Hearts zone playdowns up to avoid conflicting with those Olympic trials in early December.

"It was a perk we thought was there and now, we don't know if it's there," said MCT events manager Bob Picken.

"The CCA left it up to organizers in Edmonton and Ottawa (where the first Cup qualifiers were held) to decide if they still want to have something. But if it doesn't relate to the Canada Cup, it just becomes another cashspiel."

The CCA will use its Canadian Team Ranking System to choose qualifiers for the 2006 Canada Cup.

BITERS: Staniloff said the MCA will not actually submit an official bid for the 2008 Brier but will discuss it further with the CCA at the National Curling Congress next month, with the site for a Brier Patch seemingly the only holdup ... Hamilton is reportedly expected to be awarded the 2007 Brier.


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