Sweeping changes

JOE PAVIA -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:57 AM ET

His challenges loom large.

On Aug. 29, the Canadian Curling Association announced the appointment of Greg Stremlaw as its new CEO.

The national governing body has a deficit of $1.4 million dollars. Its stakeholders are restless and instituting a new governance model and some vital programs like curling club development have been reduced in scope.

Welcome to Ottawa, Greg.

The 36-year-old seems to know what he is getting into.

"Everyone knows that the CCA is in financial difficulties," he said.

His aim is to install "proper financial practices through a huge metamorphosis as to how the organization is run and it's going to be run like a business. And sport is a business. The sooner people know that we are going to run this like a business, the better our results are going to be from a financial end."

There is also a larger question of communication and association governance that seemed to pit the member provincial governing bodies vs. the national office.

The hasty early departure of retiring CEO Dave Parkes seven months before his scheduled January 2008 exit signified a split in the ranks of curling's governors.

According to Stremlaw, a big challenge is "to make sure that the lines of communication are open. That people who are involved in the curling community are heard."

There are four items he feels he needs to accomplish to be successful.

- Running curling like a business.

- Team building: "It's going to be a combined effort because it's not going to be one person. I think team building and that open lines of communication are going to be fundamental to financial success as well. Unless everyone buys into an ideology or a business plan, it isn't going to work."

- Grass roots: "I want grass roots development for the long term to be a top priority. That is near and dear to my heart. I want youth to have a chance to participate. We are competing with the soccers and hockeys and the lacrosses and the skiings ... curling can't rest on its laurels."

- High performance: "When people think curling, I want them to think Canada. It's harder to stay on top when you get there and that's got to be a cornerstone of our success."

Stremlaw turned around the fortunes of a nearly bankrupt ski resort in Kitchener after he left Calgary where he directed international winter sport events such as skeleton, luge and bobsled.

The father of two young children begins his new job on Oct. 9 and is now househunting.

"I have curled recreationally before," Stremlaw said. "I'm not coming in as a high-performance athlete. I want to throw myself at the sport. I want to give it everything I possibly can."

He just may have to.

EARLY MONEY

Skip Jennifer Day with Allison Farrell, Pascale Letendre and Trish Scharf defeated Lauren Mann to win the $1,200 top prize in the Carleton Heights Women's Cashspiel. At the same club, Willie Jeffries and Matt Paul defeated Art and Ben Miskew to win $550 in the Open Scotch Doubles competition.

IN THE HACK

The RCMP Fall Open begins tomorrow with teams from as far away at St. Paul, Minn., and former Brier skip Tim Phillips from Sudbury.

This weekend's AMJ Campbell Shorty Jenkins Classic in Brockville features Kevin Martin, Brad Gushue, Glenn Howard and a host of others.


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