After only two years of the relegation system with the Canadian mixed and senior curling champs we may have already seen the last of it.
The Canadian Curling Association recently sent out several notices of motion for the 2014 National Curling Congress and Annual General Meeting for the member associations across Canada.
Among the several notices brought up by the CCA Board of Governors were:
- Canadian Mixed, Canadian Seniors be changed to two-pool format with seven teams in each so all member associations would have direct entry (no relegation) and shortened to eight-end games.
- Eligibility age for Canadian Juniors cutoff be changed to June 30th of the year prior to the championships instead of Dec. 31
- Setup for Canadian Mixed Doubles to continue for another year
Concerning the mixed fours and seniors (two events basically tossed from TV coverage back in the early 2000s) the CCA lists doing painstaking research over the past three years of the events and found a strong desire that all our member associations wanted a direct entry into the champs. There's a shock.
Now no one can blame CCA for not wanting to foot the bill for extra teams and draw out the event even longer with the round-robin. And as pointed out in the motion "these two events are not considered entertainment properties and do not have television parametres (sic) in place nor sponsor restrictions."
In other words, these events are an just an expense and otherwise low priority for the CCA and its Season of Champions so arguing about how they are run doesn't really matter as long as the costs can be kept down.
Now pool systems can cause tons of headaches, especially with tiebreakers (ask anyone that has gone through a cashspiel based on the pool system instead of triple-knockout). But moving to pools and changing the mixed and seniors playdowns and championships to eight-end games will apparently shave two days off the current championship setup making travel, accommodation and vacation time used up by the participants to be that much less. And not just for the championship but entire playdowns. The national playoff system would go the Olympic set up of 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3 (in other words, no Page system).
It's sad these longtime traditions of Canada's curling history are changing but in order to survive (as the focus and money goes goes to the higher end events such as Hearts, Brier amd Olympic qualifying) change they must.
The World Curling senior champs already uses the eight-end and pooled format. And - a surprise to me - according to the CCA document "has been requested by many athletes at the Canadian Seniors."
There didn't appear to be a worry or statement from the mixed fours camp but lets face it, despite the fact mixed fours is the heart and soul of almost any recreational club in Canada, its fading fast on the competitive side of things as the World Curling Federation is still pushing the dream for Mixed Doubles at the 2018 Winter Olympics. These changes could actually come into play for this coming season.
That leads into the motion of extending the mixed doubles trials implemented two years ago as Canada scrambled to catch up with the other curling countries of the world's enthusiasm for the quirky spinoff. Canada has to stay with this until the dream materializes or dies. We should know by 2016 if it's a go for Pyeonchang, South Korea.
Junior date aging-out date moving from Dec. 31 to June 30, means all those youngsters with birthdays from July to December just bought themselves another year of playing juniors. (I am figuring that out correctly right? I hate math) This apparently brings Canada's cutoff date back to the rest of the world's (why are we always different?) So our 20 yearolds were facing all kinds of 21-year olds on the international scene. How long has that been? Why wasn't this changed as soon as everyone else was doing it? Shouldn't the World Curling Federation be regulating that?
Glad we got in sync
There's more to come on some new fees from the CCA and residency rules but I will save that for a future blog. Soon!