Declining numbers concerns MCA

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:03 AM ET

The entries into this weekend's Scotties Tournament of Hearts city zone playdowns were so sparse that there is even one with only two teams.

Until now, that has only happened in rural zones. In fact, the first two country winners reported two-team zones.

A grand total of 14 teams have entered the women's city zones, the worst total in recent memory.

This comes on the heels of the junior city zone playdowns where only 14 junior men and 11 junior women entered.

Earlier this fall, the MCA cancelled a women's berth bonspiel due to lack of entries and other events have had problems luring a full contingent.

These issues will be discussed at a board meeting this Saturday, MCA executive director Shane Ray said yesterday.

"We will review all of the provincials and the way we run them -- the whole qualification system," he said. "We recognize that the numbers are down ... We have to be concerned with our numbers and the first thing we have to look at is why are we doing everything we do? Is it correct or do we need to make changes? I would hope the work of that committee won't take two years or three years. The real strength of the committee is that it's not going to be an MCA committee."

The majority of the committee members will be non-MCA board types and will include both competitive and club curlers.

"Overall, the mandate of the MCA is to market and promote curling, so we'll move forward and hopefully, we can increase communication, increase the interest in curling and increase the number of people participating in events," Ray said.

"It's disappointing, for sure, but I don't think it's the sign of the Apocalypse or anything like that. We have to roll up our sleeves and really get down and have some work to do."

On that front, the MCA received $2,631.92 from the Optimist Under 18 Championships in 2007 and 2008. That money will go toward updating equipment and enhancing future junior programs.


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