The phrase “mixed fours” strikes me as odd.
Odd, because when used in curling context — where teams consist of four members — it’s redundant.
It’s now needed.
Earlier this month, the Canadian Curling Association announced the creation of the Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials. It’s set for March 14-17 in Leduc, Alta. The winning team will represent Canada at the World Curling Federation’s World Mixed Doubles Championship in Fredericton, N.B., April 13-20. This decision appears last-minute when provincial associations have already set the competitive calendar for 2012-13.
“There was mass agreement that this should be fast-tracked for a number of reasons,” Greg Stremlaw, CEO for the national association, said via email. A weighing factor was Canada hosting the world mixed doubles in April. Not just that, though. “As the largest nation in the curling world having its own national mixed doubles event was seen as critical by many for its influence on mixed doubles being a possible Olympic discipline in 2018.”
Getting another sport (or variation) to be accepted to the Winter Games means government funding for the national association and its curlers.
The International Olympic Programme Commission is doing an analysis of mixed doubles in 2013, said Stremlaw.
Since the first world mixed doubles in 2008, two members from our mixed fours championship have represented Canada.
We haven’t done well.
The Swiss have won four of five titles. Russia won the other. Canada’s highest finish was third in 2009. What about regular mixed? I mean, mixed fours? “We have made no other decisions as to the mixed fours and they will continue as is,” Stremlaw said. “The difference at this stage for the mixed fours is that the winning team will win nationals, but no longer will be automatic as to their representation at the worlds.”
There will be 32 teams at the Canadian mixed doubles (works out to eight more curlers than when we had four-person teams). Each of the 14 provincial/territorial curling associations will select one team. The winning team at the 2013 Canadian mixed fours (Nov. 15-24 in Mont-Royal, Que.) will receive two entries.
The balance (the other 16 teams) will be composed of open invitations. Should more than the required number submit entries, then each team’s participating status will be decided by the Order of Merit as of Dec. 31. S
o the Ontario Curling Association has to come up with criteria to “select” a representative. Although aware that this announcement was coming, executive director Doug Bakes said no plans are set as yet.
“We have a board meeting in early November where we will review and hopefully come up with a reasonable plan moving forward,” Bakes said. “Our biggest challenge might be trying to fit in another event into our already crowded competition calendar.”
Bakes adds that the mixed doubles championship is on a two-year trial. “If the IOC approves mixed doubles as an additional curling event ... then it is likely here to stay.” And if it doesn’t? “I guess the (member associations) take inventory and decide the future of mixed doubles in Canada.”
Curling purists will be critical. Others will jump at the chance to represent Canada at worlds, even in a quirky event. Mixed doubles has been featured in the Continental Cup (North America vs. the World). Tune in over the Jan. 10-13 weekend to the Penticton event to see what could be a new Olympic discipline.
The 2018 Winter Olympics are Pyeongchang, South Korea.
DOMINION The 2011-12 club champions square off in zone playdowns this weekend.Zone 12 representatives at Glendale in men’s include Scott Lennox (Arthur), Jeff Ontonovich (Ayr), Andrew Fairfull (Guelph) Mark Fisher (K-W), John Thompson (Westmount); Jason Campbell (Galt), Gregg Webb (Guelph Country). In women’s, it’s Sandra McFadden (Arthur), Sheri Smeltzer (Fergus), Lisa McLean (K-W), Sarah King (Westmount) and Suzanne Frick (Guelph).
• Westmount’s David Mathers is with Team Epping at the Canad Inns cashspiel in Manitoba. First prize is $18,000.
• Laurier skip Aaron Squires was a winner with his junior squad in Brampton this week. The rink picked up $2,200. K-W Fraser Reid and Galt’s Kieran Scott were also in the playoffs. Guelph’s Tyler Sagan was runnerup as vice with Ben Bevan
• Westmount’s annual Oktoberfest bonspiel saw Bob Stoll (Oakville), Lisa McLean (K-W) and Roy Weigand (Scarborough) top their draws with 3-0 records.
this column first appeared at www.therecord.com and was published in the Waterloo Region Record Wednesday, Oct. 17.