Foursomes in danger

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:34 AM ET

The momentum gathered by mixed doubles could dramatically change the curling scene as we know it.

The two-person format could kill the four-person one, which could lead to all sorts of new approaches to the Roarin' Game.

Mixed doubles is wildly popular in Europe but not so much in North America.

"I don't how how long we're going to go with the four-person mixed," Allison Nimik said yesterday. "Many other countries have already progressed to mixed doubles and it's only a matter of time before Canada makes that move, too.

"The IOC is looking to make this an Olympic event and, at that point, the four-person mixed could be done."

As third for Manitoba's Sean Grassie, Nimik won the national mixed in November.

The champ had to name two players from the team to represent Canada at the 2009 World Mixed Doubles Championship in Cortina, Italy in April. Though Nimik has moved to Calgary, Grassie chose to take her overseas with him.

It'd be a shame if Nimik is correct in her outlook on the future of the mixed game, said Karen Porritt.

"That would be too bad," said Porritt, who won two national mixed titles at third for Jeff Stoughton. "The mixed nationals are so much fun and there's great camaraderie. I know it's hard to find sponsors, though."

The biggest advantages to mixed doubles are the events can be compressed, the games are shorter and fewer hotel rooms and meals are needed.

'EXCITED'

The format will be a first for Nimik and Grassie.

"I'm very excited," said Nimik, who was taking in the action at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts city zone playdowns at the Fort Garry Curling Club while visiting her parents here over the weekend. "I'm thrilled. I've never been anywhere in Europe so it should be a great experience."

Nimik, 23, plans to spend a week sight-seeing afterwards.

Though the decision leaves second Ross Derksen and lead Kendra Green out, the team is planning fundraisers so they can go to Italy, too.

"It's tough when you can't play with two of your teammates that you won it with," said Nimik.

The CCA will pay for Nimik and Grassie to go to the Continental Cup in Camrose, Alta., where they can get familiar with mixed doubles rules, later this month. Nimik is planning to replace her sliding brush because she will have to sweep her own rocks.

STEINBACH BACK: Steinbach is expected to play host to its second men's provincial championship in 2010, according to a reliable source.


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