Alberta skip Kevin Martin slumped to a 1-4 start at the Tim Horton's Brier before storming back to a respectable 7-4 record. (CODIE MCLACHLAN/QMI Agency)
If this were 2014, Alberta curling fans and mandarins alike would be tearing their hair out.
Alberta is one of Canada’s strongest curling provinces — they battle annually with Manitoba for the No. 1 spot — but this year’s poor performances at the women’s and men’s nationals dropped the ’Bertans somewhat on their head. In fact, Alberta’s women (who went 1-10) would be stuck in a relegation battle just to qualify for next year’s nationals if the Canadian Curling Association’s new event format was in place as of next season.
Fortunately, it’s not. Starting in 2015 the defending STOH and Brier champions both get a free ride back to the show — in addition, Northern Ontario’s women will get their own STOH spot as will all three territories in both competitions.