Reaction to mixed doubles mixed

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. -- More changes are coming to the curling world -- eventually.

While some can't get here soon enough for many, it seems like mixed doubles is being thrust on the Canadian curling fraternity too soon.

Although the World Curling Federation recently announced a 2008 world mixed doubles championship, it is doubtful that Canada will even hold a national championship.

"I don't know a whole lot about that, quite frankly, other than the fact the WCF has agreed to make that an event in 2008," CCA manager of event operations Warren Hansen said during the Scotties Tournament of Hearts at the Enmax Centre yesterday. "The whole focus of this entire project is to try to develop a second set of medals for the Olympics. From the Canadian point of view, the WCF passed this at their meeting in September and from the CCA board level down, which is the provincial level, it really hasn't been discussed. So exactly how we're going to handle all this as to where the mixed doubles teams are going to come from, I really don't know.

"One thing you can be rest assured, we're probably not going to start a separate playoff for it that has to be scheduled (next year)."

Although the CCA is having trouble finding a host site for the four-person national mixed, the doubles will not replace it, Hansen said.

Team Canada skip Kelly Scott, who played mixed doubles at the Continental Cup, likes the idea.

"It was fun," she said. "It was different to play. It was like you were curling but in a totally different game than curling. The whole thing with it being a potentially Olympic medal sport is pretty interesting because I don't know who's going to have time to play it out of all the competitive curlers because they're pretty busy on (the cashspiel tour).

"But it's great if we can get another (Olympic) medal in there for curling. By all means, let's try to throw anything we can at them and try to get more medals for curling."

Hansen said the CCA is also likely to reduce games to eight ends and change the rule on timeclocks where only the time between the rocks thrown will tick off.

AGGRESSIVE

But those changes are unlikely to be made until the start of the next quadrennial (2011) because of the agreement in place with the IOC, Hansen said.

Hansen said the 10-end televised games are taking 3 1/2 hours when the attention span of most fans is 2 1/2-3 hours. It would also force teams to be more aggressive right off the bat.

"We really only had the Players' Championship last year to draw from and it made for a whole lot of lopsided games," Scott said. "But if you have good ice right from the get-go, you can play pretty aggressively. It kind of seemed like you were winning big or losing big so it's exciting for the first four ends of the game."

Scott also endorsed the change to the timeclocks but suggested that adding five minutes could accomplish the same goal.

Meanwhile, Hansen remains concerned about Brier ticket sales in Hamilton, although they have picked up recently.


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