So long to Select

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:31 AM ET

Say goodbye to the Select.

And hello to local curling's answer to the Grey Cup.

Canada Safeway has officially changed the name of the men's provincial championship from the Safeway Select to the Safeway Championship -- effective immediately.

"We looked at where to go with our sponsorship and our feeling was that, by titling it in association with our premium brand (Select), it really devalued what the quality of the event should be," John Graham, Safeway's public affairs manager, announced at a Salute to the Champions luncheon held at the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame (Bay Downtown) yesterday.

"It's really about the champions and we wanted to make sure the focus was certainly our name, Safeway, but with the emphasis on the word championship."

And starting this year in Dauphin, the winners will be presented with the Safeway Championship Trophy, one which will include each team member of every championship since 1925 (Howard Wood Sr.) right up to 2006 (Jeff Stoughton).

"I think that's important to curlers and those that win, knowing that they're part of history going back to the first winner," Graham said, drawing comparisons to both the CFL's Grey Cup and the NHL's Stanley Cup. "We wanted to make sure that this next one really captures the overall history of the sport in Manitoba."

Although Graham had hoped to unveil the trophy yesterday, it was held up due to a train wreck en route from Toronto.

"The names on the trophy? A fabulous idea," enthused MCA executive director Ian Staniloff. "And it's already gone through a train wreck so it's already creating its own history. This story writes itself."

Former champions polled also endorsed the idea.

The Select trophy will be retired to the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame.

Safeway, by the way, has also extended its sponsorship agreement with the MCA for another three years.

NOW WHAT?: Now that the name has been changed, what do we call it for short? It has gone from the Consols to the Tankard to the Select. So, what's next? The Men's Grocer? The High Way? The Big Safe? The S-Way? The SC? Got a suggestion? Let us know.

PETERS DOUBTFUL: The last six berths available for the, uh, SC, will be up for grabs when the MCA's 119th Annual Bonspiel gets underway tomorrow.

But Fort Garry skip Vic Peters, who still needs a provincial berth, is unlikely to return to play in the spiel. Peters, still among the top teams in Manitoba, was forced to sit out last week's city zone playdowns with a bum knee that requires arthroscopic surgery. However, he was told that he can do no further damage to it so he had been planning to play in the big bonspiel if his team still needed a spot.

"I got the swelling down good and I laid off it but there must be more damage in there than we thought because I can't get into a tuck delivery," said Peters, who had attempted to practise yesterday and will test it again today. "It's kind of frustrating but what can you do?"

His son, Daley, will continue to skip with B.J. Neufeld at third. Should they qualify for the provincials, Vic is hoping to be healthy enough to play in Dauphin.

"I'm on a cancellation list and the doctor said it (surgery) could be any day now," he said. "If I can get fixed up this week, there will be a chance for Dauphin.

"But they'll have to play better than they did in the zones. But it was a tough situation for Daley because he hadn't skipped for two years, then just got thrown in there."


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