Major flaw discovered in draw

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:41 PM ET

Manitoba Curling Association officials were red-faced yesterday after a significant flaw in the draw for the annual women's bonspiel was pointed out by competitors.

The 32-team competitive portion of the bonspiel, which got underway yesterday at the Granite and Victoria Curling Clubs, features a draw which is a triple knockout for some teams and a double knockout for others.

Any team which loses its first two games not only stays alive, but drops into a portion of the C-event where one two-loss team is guaranteed to qualify for the playoff round.

Teams which lose their second game in any other portion of the qualifying draw are eliminated. That is unfair and unacceptable to many curlers, especially in a bonspiel which features the last berth in the provincial Scott Tournament of Hearts as a prize.

"Obviously nobody verified the draw and went through it," said former provincial champion Janet Harvey, who already has a ticket to the Scott in Thompson.

"I looked at it, and it took me about 30 seconds to realize that there's a huge, huge error in it.

PLEADED NO CONTEST

"It's not right, especially when there is a provincial berth on the line. You are penalized for winning a game. If you win your first game and lose your second one, you are in the same spot as somebody that loses their first two. It just should never happen."

MCA officials were not aware of the problem until it was pointed out by former provincial champion Jan Sandison after yesterday's opening draw.

They pleaded no contest to the blunder.

"They have a point," said MCA executive director Ian Staniloff.

"I certainly understand and appreciate that the curlers are unhappy, and it's something that we are going to have to address, absolutely."

Staniloff said the MCA is using a new draw this year, which was devised after curlers pushed for some changes.

"We removed the consolation event in response to the curlers' request," he said. "What hasn't happened, however, is the switch-over to making the competitive side only a two-game guarantee instead of a three-game guarantee. It's something we are always working on, so we'll have to re-address it for next year. It was new this year, and I guess we struggled with it."

The complaints to the MCA are likely to increase as more and more people become aware of the unfairness of the draw.

"I've heard a lot of rumblings about it," said Harvey.


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