The debate is on

Skip Jeff Stoughton watches the rock come into the house during the Canada Cup Qualifier at the...

Skip Jeff Stoughton watches the rock come into the house during the Canada Cup Qualifier at the Saville Centre on Saturday afternoon. (Edmonton Sun/Jason Franson)

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

Vancouver? Or Edmonton?

That is the question.

While the first rocks were being thrown in the first event on the road to Canadian curlers qualifying for the next Olympic trials, the decision of where to hold them is boiling in the background.

Do you hold the trials as a test event in Vancouver, where the 2010 Olympics will be held in a massively disappointing 6,000 temporary-seat building?

Or do you hold it in front of NHL-sized crowds here where the seats are permanent and the ice plant isn't on wheels?

Canvas the curlers most likely to be involved and you get a healthy debate.

Jeff Stoughton, who lost the final of last year's Olympic trials in Halifax to Brad Gushue said the answer depends on your perspective.

"As a competitor, I think you'd like it in Vancouver. As a spectator I'd think you'd want it it in Edmonton."

A VOTE FOR VAN

Gushue says put it in Vancouver, period.

"The whole point is to win gold for Canada. Put it in a place where the winner will go to the Olympics feeling comfortable having already played there."

Kevin Martin, who represented Canada in the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games, said it's a tough one.

"I'm split. I'd have loved to have had a competition at the facility at Salt Lake before the Olympics. But only one rink is going to get to the Olympics.

For everybody else, I think you'd want the big crowd, the atmosphere, the noise and the excitement. That would be terrific for curling."

The Canadian Curling Association doesn't doubt having the top eight men's and women's teams at the trials in Edmonton would put up big numbers like the record attendance of 281,985 for the 2005 Brier here and the certain-to-be-a-record (they've already sold 110,876 tickets) for the Ford Worlds here in early April.

The financial factor favours Edmonton, although not quite to the extent you'd think it might.

"In Edmonton there would be $1 million of facility costs," said Edmonton native Warren Hansen of the CCA from his home in Vancouver. "Here there would be none.

"The Vancouver 2010 people want us to do it here," added Hansen of the Olympics which have previously used the world junior as the test event.

"It's going to be a while before it all shakes down," said Hansen.

"A lot depends on the venue, what they're going to produce and what it's going to be like. We don't know many details. Right now we don't know enough to make a decision."

Six-time Brier champion and four-time world champion Randy Ferbey says they know all they need to know right now.

"Give it to the fans," he said. "The ice isn't going to be the same from the trials to the Olympics. Or much else."

He's right.

There's no Olympic Village, transportation system, security and all the rest of it.

And if the fans knew the half of it, they'd say Vancouver has already lost the right to hold the trials.

TEMPORARY SEATS

By putting a Canadian staple sport at our own Olympic Games in a small non-winter-sports venue with temporary seats, the majority of which will be claimed by the IOC, sponsors, tour groups, athletes, media, etc. there will be next to none left for Canadian curling fans themselves.

So what if Vancouver wants it as the test event?

Tell them to stick their head in a puddle.

Use the world juniors like every other Winter Olympics.

Vancouver, by giving curling a second-rate venue with temporary seats - most of which won't see the rear ends of actual Canadian curling fans - doesn't deserve to host the incredible competition which is Canada's 'Roar Of The Rings' Olympic trials.

Vancouver is the last place to put it.


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