CCA ready to jump into Brier pools

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:18 AM ET

WINNIPEG - Forget the annual debate over whether Northern Ontario deserves to have an entry at the Brier, it is time for Curl Manitoba to prepare a pitch for a second team from the Keystone Province to compete at the Canadian men’s curling championship.

Before you think this is coming out of left field, be forewarned that the Canadian Curling Association plans to adopt a system where there will be both an A pool and a B pool for the Brier soon.

The CCA will introduce this system to the Canadian Mixed Championship next year when 14 teams will be invited to the national shindig -- reps from each of the 10 provinces, Northern Ontario and one each from the Yukon, the Territories and Nunavut. But the ensuing season, the bottom three or four squads will have to play off to see who will qualify to be included in the 12 teams that will compete.

“This type of system is highly successful in the Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup, FIBA basketball and even this nation’s beloved IIHF world junior hockey tournament,” CCA CEO Greg Stremlaw told Larry Wood of the CCA’s Extra End magazine.

“This performance-based system will indeed be seen in all of our events in the near future.”

And since they will likely prefer more than two or three teams in the B pool, the CCA will need more than one entry from some provinces, such as Manitoba where 32 teams compete for the men’’s provincial championship -- more than both Ontario and Northern Ontario combined.

However, the CCA will need more teams to compete in the northern areas first. Nunavut has already enjoyed a boost after hosting the national Mixed a couple of years ago.

“Their curling membership has doubled since that event,” Danny Lamoureux, CCA director of championship services, said last weekend in Morris. “They attribute the fact that the Mixed was there and it showcased curling to the community and the fact that they are now eligible to play in the Dominion and the Mixed and stuff. It’s really vitalized curling in Nunavut, which is good.”

DOMINION ON: Speaking of the Dominion, that championship has already started in Charlotteown, P.E.I., this week. Representing Manitoba are: Stacey Fordyce, with third Kristy Ritchey, second Stacey Irwin and Pam Gouldie, and Steve Irwin, with third Justin Rabe, second Cody Rabe and Sheldon Wettig.

COMING UP: Breanne Meakin, who is playing third for Cathy Overton-Clapham in women’s play this season, is hoping to skip her junior foursome back to the provincials through a berth bonspiel at the St. Vital Curling Club this weekend. The junior men’s berth spiel is in Boissevain … The Safeway Championship Northern Berth Bonspiel will be played in Flin Flon … The Masters men’s zones are also being played this week.

HOUSECLEANING: Assiniboine Memorial’s Kerry Burtnyk was among those who qualified for the senior men’s provincial championship last weekend. Brandon’s former champion Lois Fowler was among those who qualified for the senior women’s championship, which will be played alongside the senior men’s at the Heather C.C., Feb. 24-28 … Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones won her second straight women’s cashspiel, pocketing $12,000 in Brantford, Ont., last weekend. Manitoba’s Mike McEwen captured his third straight cashspiel in Brantford, earning $10,000 … Reid Carruthers skipped Jeff Stoughton’s Charleswood team to victory at a cashspiel in Stonewall, earning $7,500. Fort Rouge’s Shauna Streich won the women’s side and $5,000.

twitter.com/bendersun


Videos

Photos