New format hits snag

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:48 AM ET

The MCA Bonspiel's new format hit its first snag yesterday.

And it was a doozy.

Thanks to a computer glitch and unforeseen scenarios by the organizers, some teams didn't find out where they were playing until 20 minutes before the game was supposed to start.

The result was the delayed start of three draws, and several forfeits due to frustration and anger.

And those who rolled with the punches are saying it better not happen again.

"They have to fix it, because it's too annoying," said a 12-year MCA Bonspiel veteran who requested anonymity. "Curlers are curlers. Once is OK. If it happens twice, then you'd lose some curlers."

Drawmaster Mel Marsh looked like he had been through the ringer late yesterday afternoon, calling it one of his more stressful days as the man in charge.

"It ranks up there, but you gotta work through it," Marsh said. "Hopefully the curlers will be understanding.

"... It was a glitch, and that's all I can say. It's fixable. If there's anybody that has to take the blame, I'm the one that has to take it."

It got so bad yesterday that some curlers drove to the centre of the city just so they would have a chance at getting to their next game on time -- once they finally found out where it was.

'BIG SHOULDERS'

The 12-year bonspiel veteran said his team played at 9 p.m., Saturday and learned later that evening that its next game was at 3 p.m., yesterday. He was told to call bonspiel headquarters at noon yesterday to learn the location of his game.

The 3 p.m. draw was delayed until 4:30 because of the glitches, and he didn't find out his rink location until 4:10. He wasn't alone.

"Absolutely everybody had to sit there and phone and phone and phone and phone and phone and phone and phone," he said. "You were always happy to get put on hold, because then you knew you had actually gotten through."

Marsh credited fellow bonspiel workers Bev Harris and Terry Leitch for helping get the bonspiel back on track. Marsh said they got many "suggestions," and most were likely of the unprintable variety.

"Oh, we got many (suggestions), and there's going to be many more," he said. "I'm probably going to live this one for a while. That's all right. I've got big shoulders."

Marsh said he'll likely contact organizers of a five-day bonspiel in Ottawa to clear up problems, and he said teams won't have games on back-to-back draws next year.

"I agree with the anger," Marsh said. "(The problems) are not right, and it's something that we have to fix. It's as simple as that."

ON THE ICE: There were four undefeated teams going into last night's late draw: LaSalle's Randy Neufeld, Rorketon's Murray Woodward, Kyle Einarson (unaffiliated) and Assiniboine Memorial's David Bohn. Neufeld, Woodward and Bohn have already qualified for the Safeway Championship, while Einarson isn't eligible. That means all five provincial berths will come from the two major events.


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