Newspaper article The Canadian Press

More Changes Coming to Canadian Men's and Women's Curling Championship

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

More Changes Coming to Canadian Men's and Women's Curling Championship

Article excerpt

Look of Scotties, Brier to change again


GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. - The unpopular qualifying tournament to get into the main draw of the Canadian men's and women's curling championships will be no more after next year. Changes are coming in 2018.

But that's of little comfort to Kerry Galusha, a Scotties Tournament of Hearts veteran. Her Northwest Territories rink fell one win short of getting into the 12-team main event for a second straight year.

B.C. and N.W.T. met in the final of the four-team qualifying tournament with Karla Thompson's foursome earning the right to continue playing in the Scotties. Galusha was tearful when her squad's tournament ended Saturday while others were playing their first games.

"We actually felt we were the team to beat to get through," Galusha said.

In order to have a true national championship, Curling Canada expanded the fields of the Scotties and Tim Hortons Brier in 2015 to allow all 10 provinces and the three territories to participate. Yukon and Northwest Territories were previously represented by one team.

The addition of Northern Ontario to the women's championship and a defending champion to the men's competition so each event mirrors the other, made for an unwieldy 15 teams in each.

To manage the larger field, a four-team qualifying tournament of the lowest-seeded regions starting two days before the opening draw was introduced to a tepid reception.

Provinces and territories that had played in the Scotties and Brier for years were out on Day 1. Teams flew home two days after the opening ceremonies.

The provincial and territorial curling associations sent Curling Canada back to the drawing board to come up with a format for 2018 that allows full participation for all teams.

"The members don't like the fact their provincial and territorial teams play maybe three games and they're out," explained Danny Lamoureux, Curling Canada's director of championship services. "They want to compete fuller in the event.

"We can't sacrifice the concept we have now, making sure it starts on a Saturday and ends on a Sunday."

Getting all 15 teams through a seven-day round robin is a logistical puzzle. An even 16 teams is more workable and one solution might be adding the Canada Cup winner to the field, Lamoureux said. …

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