Victory sweet & sour

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:14 AM ET

Never did Sean Grassie figure winning the Canadian mixed curling championship could be this stressful.

The Deer Lodge curler, along with Allison Nimik, Ross Derksen and Kendra Green, captured the national mixed crown in November in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Almost immediately the team had a tough decision to make.

Which two players would go to the world mixed doubles championship in Italy in April?

The Canadian Curling Association left the call up to Team Grassie. It was like four people bought a winning lottery ticket but only two of them were allowed to keep the money.

Derksen is a teacher in Winkler and couldn't get away, so he gave the nod to Grassie.

"But with the girls, they're both available to go and both had good reasons to be considered to go," Grassie said yesterday prior to an afternoon match in the MCA Bonspiel. "How do you decide between the two of them? What criteria do you use to decide?

"We asked a lot of people and no one's really given us a good option. Me and my dad have thought about this for hours and hours. And there's no good solution. That's the problem."

Grassie said they came to a "team decision" that he and Nimik, who now lives in Calgary, would represent Canada in Italy. Grassie wouldn't go into details about how popular that decision was.

"If they're going to keep the format the way it is, the CCA should probably just appoint two players to go based on whatever criteria they see fit," Grassie said. "That takes the pressure off the team, because it does have the potential to create some tension. You can't make everyone happy if everyone wants to go.

"Even if you do things fairly, someone's going to be disappointed. It's a no-win situation. ... I would say it has good potential to be a team destroyer."

Grassie doesn't have a mixed team anymore -- "I'm looking for players right now," he said -- but it doesn't have anything to do with the decision. Derksen and Green are going back to play with David Hamblin of Morris, with whom they made it to the 2006 Canadian mixed final, and Nimik is in Calgary.

It should be noted that Derksen still plays for Grassie's men's team, which tried to qualify for the Safeway Championship through the MCA Bonspiel but bowed out of contention yesterday afternoon.

If Grassie had his way, he'd eliminate the doubles format and go with a four-person mixed world championship.

"Everyone deserves to go from the winning team," he said. "And if they're looking to add a new event to the Olympics, I'm not sure why they come up with some sort of gimmicky event that's only been around for a few years."

Grassie and his father are going to write letters to the CCA, "letting them know what our problems have been and recommending that they make changes," he said.

"It's created some stress. It hasn't totally taken away from the win, but it's not the celebration that you want it to be."

BONSPIEL WATCH: There were 10 undefeated teams going into last night's late draw of the MCA Bonspiel, but at least five have already qualified for the Safeway Championship or are ineligible.

Leading the way is Morden's Brad Wainikka, who moved to 6-0 with a 9-6 win over Hamiota's Brent Strachan.

The most notable 5-0 squad still in search of a berth was West Kildonan's Randy Dutiaume. Dutiaume took on Assiniboine Memorial's David Bohn, who already has a provincial berth, late last night.

It takes two losses to be eliminated from the chase to land one of five provincial spots up for grabs.

Bonspiel draws and results can be found online for the first time in the event's 121-year history at thecurler.com.


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