Stoughton plans to play provincials

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:04 AM ET

Manitoba's Kerry Burtnyk will likely pass on his bye into next year's provincials as the defending champion once Alberta's Don Walchuk officially becomes his new third.

That is because his entire focus is on the 2009 Canadian Curling Trials.

However, Jeff Stoughton is determined to keep his exemption into next year's Safeway Championship as Manitoba's top Canadian Team Ranking System points-getter despite adding Alberta's Kevin Park as a replacement for third Ryan Fry.

"We're going to play for sure," Stoughton said yesterday. "We're definitely going to be there (Selkirk) come February and hopefully, we'll know before the start of the season who our player will be. So, we'll definitely try to get that filled in before we start the year."

To become eligible to play in next year's provincials, Park would have to pretend to move here, like Georgina Wheatcroft did when she played lead for Jennifer Jones in 2006.

Park would have to provide the Manitoba Curling Association with a Manitoba mailing address by Oct. 1, 2008, said MCA executive director Ian Staniloff. However, Stoughton must declare his intentions by September.

Stoughton will leave that decision up to Park, who works as a data-base manager and webmaster for Delvi Data in Edmonton.

"I would certainly like to curl in the playdowns out of Manitoba," Park said in an e-mail. "I don't think that is our primary focus, though. We intend to take a serious shot at the Olympic trials, and the WCT cash. If I can get in on the playdowns, that would be a huge bonus. But I want to play by the rules and don't want to ruffle any feathers out there."

Should Park remain ineligible, Stoughton would pick up another Manitoban to play in the provincials (but publicly ruled out this reporter). Winning Manitoba and getting back to the Brier would give Stoughton more chances to earn enough CTRS points to get him a bye into the Olympic trials. Because his team has already earned a berth into the trials qualifying tournament, it will get as much as $50,000 in Sport Canada funding and Park will get a share of that.

Burtnyk, who has earned a spot in the qualifier, too, will also get that funding, which means that third Dan Kammerlock will miss out on that share after being cut last week.

Meanwhile, Rob Meakin tested his injured knee playing for Burtnyk at the recent Players' Championship and decided he cannot play any more.


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