Provincial curling free rides eliminated

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:21 AM ET

No more free rides!

The Manitoba Curling Association finally addressed the growing problem of teams qualifying for provincial championships by acclamation.

After a lively discussion at its AGM held at the Victoria Curling Club yesterday, the MCA passed a motion to force a team to play at least one game, even if it is in a neighbouring zone, to advance to whatever provincial playdown is involved. That includes Winnipeg zones but exempts the Norman region due to geographical considerations.

In other rule changes, all 32 teams will be seeded for the Safeway Select, both the masters men's and women's provincials will adopt the Page playoff format while the women will pay eight-end games. Both masters provincials will also play Thursday to Tuesday this season and there will be some minor changes to the timing of the skills-based draws and coaching restrictions of youth teams.

The glitch in the MCA Women's bonspiel draw has also been corrected.

DEFICIT SITUATION

The MCA's board off directors will discuss a recommendation by the Winnipeg Curling Clubs Association to revive the Select berth for the winner of the MCA bonspiel minor events winner come September. That came in the wake of 66 defaults at last year's bonspiel. The WCCA also recommended that the bonspiel be reduced to six games guaranteed (Thursday through Monday only).

The Manitoba Curling Tour Championship has been moved to Dec. 15-17 in Portage la Prairie.

The MCA reported a deficit of about $65,000, about $12,000 over budget due to fewer bonspiel entries and less than expected revenue from the various championships. The non-profit MCA has been operating with a deficit budget for years.

"We need to rectify the deficit situation," said Victoria's Mitch Tarapasky, who officially replaced Elmwood's Bob McCallum as MCA president. "We must develop as a board and streamline things better."

The MCA has a projected deficit of $32,000 for the 2006-07 season.

Meanwhile, the Steinbach Safeway Select committee turned a profit of about $50,000 while the Thompson Scott Tournament of Hearts committee realized a net profit of about $11,000 -- after paying the MCA a $7,000 rights fee.

The 2008 Select is tentatively booked for Brandon with Gimli likely to host the women's provincials.

BITERS: Bob McCallum (Elmwood), Bob Boughey (Fort Rouge) and Bill Whiston (Charleswood) were made Honourary Life Members.


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