Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ontario Provincials entry deadline is January 30th

Registration for the Ontario Provincials closes January 30th and the Provincial Association had decided that only four teams would be allowed to compete, one from each region. A regional playoff would take place February 7-8 if more than one team from a region applied.

The four team Provincials limit is controversial and seen by some Ottawa curlers, who have the potential to field two teams, as being unnecessarily restrictive. Tom Ward of the Ontario Curling Association says that no decision has been made about what would happen if there were more than two entries from a region yet less than five total. "We'll wait to see how many applications there are before deciding," he told me.

BC, in organizing their first Provincial Championship this year, initially expected to use a traditional regional structure, but abandoned it in the spirit of maximizing participation in the championship. In the end only Team Austgarden in the four team field was drawn from the same region.


Bruce Cameron said...

There are a couple of points that should be made about the everyone knows there are two sides to every story. First it is not only some Ottawa curlers but ALL Ottawa curlers that are opposed as well as the coach and team from London and the coach(es) of the Bradford team.

BC did it right in the spirit of maximizing participation at a time when we are trying to develope and grow the sport.

In Ontario the men, women and even the bantams are allowed two entries per region so why not wheelchair curlers. That is the question I have asked over and over again and I get no answer. I did receive a feeble excuse when this playoff format was anounced and that was about booking ice and hotel rooms. There are two accessible curling rinks in Kingston where the playoff will be held.....If the Royal Kingston can't handle an extra team I am sure the Garrison Curling Club would be pleased to offer some ice. There isn't a hotel that I know of that can provide accessible rooms for all the curlers.....and we have always managed.

Another interesting point about all this is that the wheelchair curlers were only advised of this restriction well into the season after teams had made their plans...most if not all other categories know a year in advance where and when the zones, regions and provincials will be. Why weren't the wheelchair curlers afforded the same lead time?

The Ontario Curling Association (OCA) has failed to answer many questions with regard to this controversial topic. I was recently advised that it was under review by the OCA and a decision would be made late next week (26 - 30 Jan). They are conveniently delaying their decision until the deadline for entering...30 Jan.

It is a very frustrating time when we, with the exception of the OCA, are trying so hard to develpe and expand the sport. The OCA should be ashamed of themselves for the way they are treating wheelchair curlers in the province of Ontario.

Anonymous said...

The interesting and unfortunate part of all this "selection vs competition" issue....assuming Ontario might be trying to "lean" players away from a playoff, in favour of selection, is that a selection for a representative is cheaper, and a more competitive representative will result.

Look at B.C. If it were selection, they could almost field Team Canada, with Armstrong and Neighbour at back end. Instead, B.C., on paper, will not be nearly as strong as possible, yet will still likely be competitive.

Every provincial organization has an obligation to be as competitve as possible to satisfy funders.

Philosophically an issue, but realistically a fact.

Eric Eales said...

You can argue that national sponsorship/funding for international competition with national prestige and professional careers on the line necessitates a selection process. You'd be short sighted and stymieing the growth of the sport, but there is a valid argument that the team selected might be stronger than one produced the way that all other levels of curling operate.

But provincial curling associations are there to represent the interests of the sport in general and their curlers in particular, and as BC have discovered to their cost, selection camps destroy grassroots initiative. There were far more participants in BC four years ago than there are now after four years of selection camps.

BC finally have the leadership that recognises that fact, which is why this year they have empowered the province's curlers to form their own teams and compete. It will take a while to undo past damage, and get BC curling back to its promising beginning, but a provincial championship is a good start.

One of the teams participating had raised their own funds, found sponsors, wore team jackets and brought their own coach - just like grown-ups.

Those satisfied with wheelchair curling comprising a couple of dozen active Canadian curlers, enough to coddle and subsidise, probably pay attention only when there is a national or international event.

But if you want wheelchair curling to take its place as the winter recreation of choice for the thousands of wheelchair users who are potential curlers, then you should support athletes who recruit other curlers, form their own teams, and compete just like every other curler, for the honour of wearing a provincial jacket

Anonymous said...

I agree, Eric, but so much success is evaluated by wins and losses, and this is where the money flowa. That said, if we accept the fact that we DO NOT NED to have everything paid for us to compete, and pay our own way, we develop the independence and voice we need. Unfortunately, I think most of us want the hand-out, and won't pay the way over 95% of able-bodies pay.