Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Curling Playoff Format Draws Mixed Reaction at Women's Curling Championship

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Curling Playoff Format Draws Mixed Reaction at Women's Curling Championship

Article excerpt

Mixed reviews of new curling playoff system

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NORTH BAY, Ont. - The new playoff format at the world women's curling championship has drawn mixed reaction from some prominent members of the sport's community.

The World Curling Federation made a change for this year's event at the North Bay Memorial Gardens after adding a 13th team to the field. The familiar four-team Page Playoff has been replaced with a six-team setup.

The top two finishers in the round-robin earn semifinal berths while the four remaining playoff teams face off in qualification games. Semifinal winners play for gold and semifinal losers meet for bronze.

Glenn Howard, a four-time Canadian and world champion, didn't mince words with his thoughts on the new format.

"Ok folks I just can't stand back and not comment," Howard said Saturday on Twitter. "Does it make any sense that the USA (7-6) is playing Canada (12-0) in a semi? Not to me. There has to be a carrot for winning the RR. My god, even the page system is 100 times better. #horribleformat #makeitright #my2cents."

In the Page Playoff, the top team in round-robin play is rewarded with a berth in the 1-2 game. The winner goes straight to the final and the loser falls into a semifinal, with another crack at getting to play for gold.

The WCF, which added a third team from the Pacific-Asia region to the field this year, decided a six-team straight knockout format was best.

Canada's Jennifer Jones ran the table in round-robin play to take the first seed with a 12-0 record. Sweden was next at 10-2, followed by South Korea (8-4), Russia (7-5), the Czech Republic (6-6) and the United States (6-6).

American Jamie Sinclair split her round-robin games and beat South Korea in a qualification game to set up a semifinal showdown with Canada on Saturday night.

Boosting the number of playoff teams did create more meaningful games over the last two days of competition. But it also provided .500 teams with the chance to make it to the gold-medal game. …

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