Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Team Canada - time for a change?

I've been getting emails asking whether the current selection process for Team Canada should be changed to the traditional "win to play" system used in the able-bodied game: if you win a national championship you become Team Canada with the perks and responsibilities that go with that title.

We have just finished a funding cycle where the importance of winning a gold medal overrode all other considerations, though proponents of selection dispute that there is a useful distinction between what is good for Canada's medal prospects and what is good for the sport as a whole.

As we approach a new quadrennial, there is an opportunity for participants in wheelchair curling to say whether there should be change.

Opponents of the current national squad system argue that moving away from curling's traditional "win to play" method of Team Canada selection discriminates against wheelchair users on the basis of their disability. It prevents them from having the same opportunity to represent their country, by winning a provincial and then national title, as able-bodied curlers.

The present selection system stresses the importance of a successful national team in generating funding, some of which, says the CCA's Gerry Peckham, trickles down to aid the development of the sport at the grassroots. He feels that selection is necessary if Canada is to field the strongest possible team and have the best possible chance for success on the world stage, and disputes the notion that having a separate system for Canada's wheelchair curlers is discriminatory.

He notes that all other countries select their teams and Canada needs to field a team that can successfully compete against them. Over the next couple of years he hopes national coaches will be spending more time working with wheelchair curlers across the country, and will be looking for those individuals with the skills to join the high performance pool."

Does national team selection help or hinder grass roots participation? Would proponents of "win to play" be prepared to forgo funding from organizations such as Own The Podium predicated on a selection system? How would the winner of a national championship have time and resources to prepare for a World Championship, even if the Canadian Nationals were scheduled before the Worlds? (The 2011 Nationals are scheduled a month after the 2011 Worlds.)

Add your thoughts to the comments below.

I have always been a proponent of individual team formation at the provincial level, and for wheelchair teams to be offered the same opportunities granted to able-bodied curling teams. Most countries are satisfied with just enough wheelchair curlers to qualify for World Curling Federation events. But Canada has the facilities, resources, nation-wide coaching and pool of potential curlers to allow an internationally competitive team to qualify through a national championship.

Policies for the sport are decided at the CCA's Annual General Meeting coming up in June. Every province sends representatives who vote on motions presented to that meeting. If you have an opinion on how our sport should be organised, discuss it here, but also make your opinions known to your provincial association. They represent you, and can't know what you think unless you tell them.

If you have formed a wheelchair curling association affiliated to your provincial association, make sure your association's views are reported to your province and then to the CCA's AGM.

If the principles governing the organization of Team Canada are to change, now is the time for that to happen. The present system has produced titles. It has not driven participation across Canada. Would a change of method in selecting Team Canada change that? Would the sport grow from the present 20 or 25 teams nationally, or would, as Peckham noted, it shrink as is happening in all other areas of curling as curlers realise that only elite teams can hope to succeed?

Let those making the decisions for the next four years know how the people who play and support our sport feel about its future direction.


Anonymous said...

I believe that the answer is a challenge of Team Canada by the National Champion. It provides the best of both worlds. The National champion, hopefully with its team that the players have picked could challenge the Select Team. I think it is plausible, should be embraced, and the playoff should be a best of five or even seven series to be named at the same time the National championship is named. For instance, the 2011 championship was announced recently, and the 2011 challenge should be announced at the same time, at a site and time where the winner has time to utilize the National coaching and work-up for the 2012 World Championships. I think this is plausible, especially it we don't expect Team Canada to hang their hat on a sudden-death play-off, where one picked rock could change the entire system. Should the National winner beat Tema Canada three out of five, or four out of seven, then they deserve to replace the Select Team.

If Team Canada are so good, they shouldn't have any problem with the challenge.

Anonymous said...

That is EXACTLY where it shoul go. It gives the CCA an opportunity to assess their high-peerformance program against the provincial programs. Politically, it would satisfy people like myself, since it means I do have a shot at becoming Team Canada.

Ken Gregory said...

Wheelchair curling has come a long way over the last few years. I’ve had the opportunity to curl against some strong teams and players across Canada.

Every Provincial team has one goal in mind; to win the Nationals and go on to represent Canada internationally. As it stands now you could win the Nationals and that’s it.

All provincial teams compete in their provincial championships for the right to represent their province. We all train hard for this honour with the goal of winning the nationals and representing Canada.

It is now time for us to stand (no pun intended) together and let our provincial associations know we would like them to fight for our right to represent Canada internationally.

This would help the development of the sport if all players know that they would be treated as able-bodied teams. Winning a national event earns you the honour of representing Canada. More and more players could be drawn to the sport knowing the awards for winning are big. As it is now with a selected team, good qualified teams/players could be overlooked, never to be given the chance to represent Canada.

The Nationals should run like the Hearts. The Host team should be dropped and replaced by the present Team Canada. Team Canada would then play against all the provincial teams. The winning team would then become Team Canada and go on to representing Canada for that year.

Ken Gregory
Team Bradford

Collinda Joseph said...

I agree with all comments here so far. It is time to begin thinking about making the national champion team Canada before the 2014 Paralympic Games. There is plenty of time in the cycle to make it right. I truly believe that having a selected team Canada will continue to hurt the sport at the grassroots level. I don't know how many times I've had to explain, much to people's amazement, the process of selection for wheelchair curling's Team Canada. Their response is consistently, "then what's the point of having a national champion?" I never know what to say!!

And while the CCA believes that national team coaches will be getting out there to see curlers and ensure they select the right athletes to be part of the national team pool will continue to be successful. There is no way two or three people can travel across Canada and identify people who would make up the national team pool when there are so few chances for other curlers to be seen. Not unless the CCA has a bucket of money it's willing to commit to this process. It doesn't work - and will continue to fail. Canada may have gotten results on the podium - which is great for Canada - but not great for the development of this sport. A number of us have the desire to compete internationally and it's our intention to make it to the Paralympic Games - but without the opportunity to be seen on a regular basis by national team coaches or others who would be choosing the "pool" our goal will never be attained unless there is a change to the way Team Canada is established in this sport. It's true other countries select their teams, but as you stated Eric, Canada has plenty of clubs that are accessible, we now have 9 provincial teams at nationals - and most got there with a play down at the provincial level - so there are plenty of wheelchair curlers out there who have not been given a shot at national team pool status - nor will they ever see that shot in the current system.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that the National Champion will be from one province, and who is going to believe that is the best team that Canada can put on the ice? For the immediate future, since our numbers per province stay relatively smll, and the CCA have to be concerned with results internationally, let them put up their Team against the National is healthy, and works for all. If the CCA is convinced their Select Team is the one to represent Canada, then if a National Winner can beat them, then let the CCA swallow their pride and have the winner represent Canada. At this point, pushing for this is so much better (and likely) than maintaining the status quo.

Remember, competitive side of the CCA HAS to do their best to insure top results internationally.

Anonymous said...

The above blogger is right on the money. Don't try to dictate to the CCA, who have demands to be competitive internationally (for sponsors, and as "Canada"), and toss out a program that has now been proven to be successful. Rather, push for an acceptable alternative that gives everyone a chance, including the CCA tosubstantiate their Program. Remember, though, the CCA has everything to lose politically, and nothing to gain. So, embrace that, and work with them, rather than against them.

Wayne Ficek said...

All are very interesting comments and it is clear from the only people who have spoken yet on this blog that everyone wants a change.

I encourage all of you to speak with your club representative that attends your provincial meetings so that the process can be brought forward to the CCA. If many of the provinces speak up for change and 2 of them put a motion forward and second(ed), then the CCA will have to vote on it won't they?

At a mimimum it should be the National winner gets a shot best of seven ( must win four) with the Canadian picked team. The only way we will know for sure, is to try it.

Just a last thought..... What if the national teams got together and hand picked there own teams i.e. Manitoba skip, Alberta third, Ontario second etc etc etc. and then these picked teams played in a qualifier to play team Canada for the right to be Team Canada.... I find it interesting???? What about you?

Bruce Cameron said...

A very interesting debate with some well thought out alternatives. I wud like to commend both Ken and Collinda for being strong enough to put their names to what they believe in. I wud like to comment on some points that were raised in the initial article....the only discrimination involved is whether you are on his "I curled with you before list"....if u are not on that list forget it.... Gerry Peckham is dead wrong again when he says some of the funding trickles down to the grass roots me grass roots wheelchair curling is the weekly curling where everyone regardless of disability comes out to costs money to run this type of program, ice rental, etc. The Capital Wheelchair Curling Club is located in Ottawa as is the CCA headquarters and not once have they offered to help or even shown interest in our program...they know we exist as they have "used" us when they sent thier commissioned photographer to build up a library of stock photos of wheelchair curling.
At the world level all teams may have been selected but if memory serves me correctly a club team from Germany did very well at world class spiels over the last couple of years....also one must remember that there are countries who have no choice but to use the selection process due solely to lack of numbers of curlers.
Why should we for go funding from "own the podium"? I must admit I am assuming here but I doubt very much that the mens/ladies teams had to for go funding because they were not a "selected" team. The wheelchair champion would find time & resources just like the mens/ladies do.
It would not necessarily have to be the "current" calendar year winner that attends the worlds...the seniors manage quite well.....
According to Peckham able bodied curling is not growing because of the perception that only elite teams can is even worse with a selection method as then only elite individuals can succeed.
I like the idea of having Team Canada attend the Nationals...the only advantage they would have over the remainder of the field is that they have been exposed to high performance training ... which leads me to ask when are the rest of the wheelchair curlers in Canada going to be introduced to the "secret" new and improved delivery techniques that were shown to Team Canada prior to the Paralympics.
To work with the CCA is impossible as it is "their way" or no way. For the person who says the CCA stands to lose politically....who cares...this is curling and not politics....we can not let ourselves be bogged down in that quagmire...we must break out of that "mould"....why would we question the fact that the national winner would be all from one province and that not necessarily wud be the best ladies/mens/seniors/mixed/juniors the teams are all from one province and are accepted without question as being the best team in Canada for that given year so why wouldn't wheelchair curling be the same ????
The unfortunate fact is that we are fighting an uphill battle as sadly the "minds" at the CCA are not open to any innovative ideas. If we don't work together we will never win.....

Anonymous said...

We have to quit whining and start doing. But let's be practical. I doubt a wholesale shift in attitude is going to happen, so let's try to move the goalposts. I truly believe that the CCA could be approached with a play-off between Team Canada and the National winner in a best of five or seven series. Remember, the present program has proven to be VERY successful internationally, and this makes it hard to argue with the present format. However, if the CCA believes in its own success, it should believe in its own team, and put them out there. not in a sudden death format, but in a series, where the best team would certainly show.

BUT let's get a consensus on this site, and quit simply whining and going nowhere. I doubt the CCA has much appetite for whiners, but may well look at viable alternatives.

Anonymous said...

The last comment absolutely nailed it. we get no where with mindless whining. Give the CCA a reasonable suggestion and they have to be reasonable. Continuous whining with no direction has got us no where to date, nor will it in the future. Remember, though, that we don't have much bargaining position given the success Canada has had to date. I really think that a best of five or seven series has REAL merit. How can the CCA argue it? They know that in a multiple game series, the best team will prevail. That is why Team Canada will not be playing in the Nationals.....a one game shot is simply too bad end, one picked rock, whatever, and the game is lost. In a best of 5, if Team Canada cannot win, then they should not be going, and any team that can win that series should be going.

Anonymous said...

We are at the start of a new Olympic cycle. Team Canada should expect other teams to be looking to beat them. I hope that some teams get some cash together and chase the competition down. The men and women do it , There are plenty of teams that have drafted a player in from another province or team to make themselves stronger. That would show some commitment and bring some very good players together . I hope the w/c curlers do the same. Lets hope we do not see all the same teams at Nationals AGAIN. The league needs to grow !

Anonymous said...

Great points made regarding a play-off. As for Team Canada playing in the Nationals....I can't see bad end and the present program is defeated. BUT if we can beat them best of five, the CCA has to agree to send the winner.

As for the whining about Peckham, get real. He is head of competitve development, not grass roots. He has developed a program that has provided winners. End of story.

Anonymous said...

If Team Canada won(which they would very easily,you would try and figure out something different for 2012 maybe best out of 10. Come on people if you truly think you are good enough then make the top 15 for a start. The 5-6 that made the last team earned it fair and square and proved it with the Gold and World Championship wins. The CCA has done a tremendous job let them decide the future process.

Anonymous said...

The above comment is certainly valid, and is a great argument for the CCA. It is hard to argue with success, when that is the objective of the international program preparation is all about. I still think, though, with a modicum of fairness to all, they should entertain some sort of play-off/challenge. I get the fact that they cannot hang the program on a single game, but the suggestion of a 5 or 7 game challenge has appeal, and I am sure to most. What does everyone think? How about you, Bruce, you are very vocal and negative about the CCA. Do you think this would appease?

Anonymous said...

CCA takes a paternalistic approach to wheelchair curling, they think they know what is best for us. That is something those of us who really live in a chair deal with on a daily basis, It's not likely to change any time soon.

They somehow choose those that they want in the pool with no real standards or requirements that are visibly attainable.

I guess the question is how does one become a member of the "pool"? Do you know? I don't and I don't know where to get that information. CCA seldom if ever responds to emails.

There seems to be a group on this site that feel they are just as good as the Team Canada members and they probably are but the problem as I see it is how do you prove it.

To me the simplest approach would be to have try out camps where people who think they are top seeds can demonstrate their abilities by performing certain technical skills. Something that is measurable. If they are successful then they can proceed to the next level to see how they perform in competition and also how they interact with other teammates. As we are aware there appeared to be some ego problems that arose with the last elite team that had to be addressed. The final group has to meld and work as a team.

My explanation is simplistic but there isn't a lot of room to get into details here but is meant to be food for thought.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I understand that the latest Team canada succeeded becaues the egos were not in the way. That was their big positive was it not?

Anonymous said...

I agree that there are a solid hndful of players that can throw well enough, and that team dynamics would be next up for priority. I don't know if present Team Canada has ego issues, but it was obvious that previously there were major issues

Anonymous said...

CCA did it right this past two years, carrying two women, which other than Great Britain was unheard of. CCA palns for international success, not grassroots involvement with a view that high end success will set an example for grassroots to shoot for.

Eric Eales said...

From reading the comments so far it seems to me that most are prepared to cede the legitimacy of a selection process. That is all that is required for there to be no hope of significant change.

If there is a selection process it will be run by the same people, and I know they think they are doing what is in the best interests of the CCA and the sport generally. It is hard to argue that a different selection process would generate more medals.

I believe that the best chance for change comes from an argument based on principle, not pragmatism.

Is denying people who curl from wheelchairs the same opportunity to represent their country offered to non-wheelchair curlers, unacceptable discrimination?

To those who say you can't argue with success, I say of course you can. You can argue that the same level of success is obtainable in a non-discriminatory system. You can argue that the price of present success is too high in costs that impede the growth of the sport. I could go on.

Gerry Peckham, who is the person charged with implementing policy, told me that he can think of nothing worse than presenting a Team Canada that did not have a chance to win. This is an understandable and perhaps admirable attitude for a high performance coach. He is convinced that not only does the present system offer the best opportunity to field a winning team, but that there is no practical alternative.

His arguments, I believe, can only be countered by insisting they violate a principle more important than winning a medal: that present national team selection policies discriminate against wheelchair curlers. (I know Peckham categorically rejects that claim.)

How to attempt change? The CCA implements policies proposed by member associations as noted by Wayne Ficek in an earlier post. If it is the policy of your provincial association that changes should be made to the way Team Canada for wheelchair users is chosen, they can force the CCA to change.

I suspect that many able-bodied delegates will sympathise, as pressure is building for Canada to move the able-bodied game in line with wheelchair curling.

Failing that, a five or whatever game playoff seems at least a small step in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

Eric, I feel that a playoff is not a small step but a HUGE step in carrying on down this path. It will take a couple of years at least, since quite honestly, I cannot see our National winners taking out Team Canada in a best of five this year, but at least the opportunity has been presented, and that is the big thing. Le the results develop with time, but let's get the option underway. As someone said earlier, it would give our high end domestice teams a yardstick to measure with. It would be an opportunity for the domestic team to become Team Canada. As other have said, whining for the sake of whining will fall on deaf ears. Providing an alternative that is embraced by the grassroots goes far.

Anonymous said...

So how do you get a chance to try out for Team Canada?

Anonymous said...

The above blogger has it right. Now how do we get it going?

Carl Rennick said...

An interesting debate--all in all.
As someone who has been involved in wheelchair curling for five years now as a coach, I resent the notion that those that disagree with the CCA's policies and actions are whinners. Those that are labled as "whinners" are not having their curling activities handed to them on a silver platter. Each team puts out over $12,000 --- largely from their own pockets and fundraising throughout their communities. They don't have anyone to arrange their travel or accomodations--they do it themselves. They don't have anyone to gather up their equipment, pack it and make sure it makes the trip--they do it themselves. And they don't have the training resources avaialble to them that the current program has---they do it themselves. Yet when you look at the performance statistics at the National fianals and semi finals and compare them to the performance stats at the Worlds-- pretty similar numbers.

Why not try this. Have Team Canada entered in the 2011 Nationals (they fill the bill for being from one province anyway--Sorry Bruno). The winner of the Nationals would represent Canada at the 2012 World's. If per chance, Team Canada isn't as good as the powers that be think they are, and another team should win in 2011, then that team would have the benefit of one years worth of training and resources from the CCA to get ready for the 2012 event. If Team Canada can't win in a 9 game round robin plus page playoff system at the Nationals, then they should not be the Country Representative anyway.

Corinne Jensen said...

Hi everyone, I think our first step forward needs to be at the provincial level - contact Prov Curling coaches ie BC - Melissa Soligo by email and tell her your point of view and then she can ensure our province has a a stand based on what all WC Curlers of BC want. I personally would like to see a best of seven playoff of the CCA selected team against the previous years National Championship team to occur before Nationals and worlds.
The winning team be the "team Canada" to attend in place of the "Host"prov team at the Nationals. Then the winner of the Naionals then goes to the worlds. This enables the loser to compete at the provincial level for another shot at the title through the Nationals right?. This is how we start it fresh. The Best will win. Remember curling is strategy, skill, luck and belief as a team a GREAT SKIP, a GREAT THIRD, a GREAT second and GREAT leads getting it done together. Pulling together lifting one anther up when needed.
In abled bodied curling all team members reside in their province they represent - don't they?
Corinne Jensen

Anonymous said...

Corrine, if I understand you, theere would be a best of seven playoff BEFORE Nationals, essentially to determine the "Host Team" and then the Team Canada plays in the Natioals with the winner representing Canada. Too unwieldy, and too costly. If that is where you are headed, simply place Team Canada into the Nationals, and the winner is Team Canada. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening.

Team Canada is challenged by the National champion soon after the National championships. The winner of a best of whatever play-off are Team Canada for the fiollowing year, wth a summer and fall season to prepare for the Worlds.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Guys,

The CCA MAY consider some type of best of 5 or 7 playoff, but they are NOT going to put their program on the block in a sudden death national final.

I strongly suggest we embrace a play-off, and embrace it soon, since we are at the start of another four year cycle.

Anonymous said...

If we want to ensure the best team representing Canada, it cannot be in a sudden death playoff. remember, without sweeping, all could be settled on a picked rock. in able-bodied, although sudden death, any one of the last four teams would likely win at worlds. in wc curling, our numbers simply don't provide that kind of depth.

The CCA have a proven, winning program for Team Canada, and I doubt they are particularly inclined to put it all on the line for a one shot playoff. Make it a challenge between Team Canada and the national winner in a best of five, and i think the CCA may bite. Other than that forget it for a few years.

Bruce Cameron said...

Carl has it right....just enter them as Team Canada in the present that is a 9 game round robin and if a page system is used does that not give them ample games to prove their prowess. If they end up 3rd or 4th then sudden death comes into play but ending up there should already indicate that they are not the invincible team that eveyone wants to make them out to be. If the CCA has "invented" this fool proof undefeatable team, then have them prove it by entering them in the Nationals.....seems pretty simple to me....does anyone REALLY know the reason that the CCA has avoided/refused to enter Team Canada in the Nationals ?????

Anonymous said...

I think she meant is CCA team plays against the National winners and if they loose then they must win at the provincial playdowns which then this means they have to abide by the residential rules of the curling rules in Canada. This in turn ensures the "choices of the National teams may change. 4 out of five at the Paralympics were all BC players. If this is not done they will continue to always "cherry pick" from the country on a whole which is what we want to be changed.

Anonymous said...

Reality is we are trying to undermine a proven successful Team Canada Program. Since the CCA has to answer to others for funding, why would they want to jeopardize a program that ain't broken?

Let's move things along with endorsing a best of whatever playoff with the National champions, and let's get behind this sooner rather than later. I know this would be a HUGE move in the right direction.

Eric Eales said...

Some have questioned why change a system that produces medals. Some people think that Team Canada exists only to win medals. Here are some reasons for change.

The present Team Canada selection is discriminatory in that it denies opportunity offered to able-bodied curlers.
Team Canada honours should be about participation in the sport nationally, and not exist independent of the domestic game.
It is a mistake to allow a high-performance coaching perspective to dictate the development of the sport at the grassroots. The goals may not be the same, and may be contradictory.
A high performance pool once established becomes exclusionary and self-perpetuating. It also fails to develop talent outside the pool.
The present selection process is opaque, leading to secrecy by those within, and resentment from those outside.

Here are my suggestions for what to do if you want change.

Get everyone you know to familiarise themselves with the issues in this discussion, Email extracts if it would help. Then working ideally as wheelchair associations, but also as teams or even as individuals, contact the representative of your club to your province's AGM. Discuss what you want, and ask for a motion to be put to that AGM. If it passes it becomes provincial policy and if enough provinces agree, it becomes CCA policy.

Here are the three main arguments as I understand the discussion thus far.

Make the national champion become Team Canada as in other parts of curling.
Have the national champion play a series against the selected Team Canada with the winner becoming the following year's Team Canada.
Keep the present system, but make it more transparent, with open trials and open competition for places.

Change can happen. The WCF was adamantly opposed to power chairs, but lobbying by lots of people brought the enough delegate votes to change policy.

Whatever you decide, the time to act is now.

Anonymous said...

I really think we should land on a consesus, whatever it is and put forward a unified front

Mark W said...

I agree with Carl. Team Canada should make themselves available for the Canadian Nationals 2011 in Edmonton. I think there High performance training should be showcased for all of us to see. It sounds like they need to show the rest of Canada why they are the best in the World ! I think they would win and in doing so help develop all teams that competed against them.

Anonymous said...

I'm not that convinced that they would win. That's selling the other teams short. I think any of the teams that medal regularly at the Nationals could challenge their abilities.

Anonymous said...

Curling is a sport that will almost always show the best team in a series against another team, but in a sudden death format, which the Nationals are, anything can happen. Don't expect the CCA to put their program at that kind of risk, especially when ALL the pressure would be on Team Canada in a sudden death play-off.

Work on the CCA accepting a best of five play-off against the National Champions. I do not see Team Canada playing in the Nationals for some time. Remember, even in a best of five series, the only team with pressure on them is Team Canada.

Anonymous said...

Well, with all due respect, the last few Nationals have been won always with present or previous National players.

Anonymous said...

What motivation does the CCA have to change something that obviously is not broken? They have used a Selction process that has matured and provided a World Championship and a Paralympic Championship since its inception. As I understand it, they had a four year plan that culminated in Vancouver this year.

I wonder if the Nationals this year at the same time was a coincidence, or was it meant to bring fresh blood to the national program of selection? Perhaps we should be using the Nationals as the initial qualifier for fresh blood, since not many players would be missed that were not at Nationals. That is how weak the provincial WC playoffs are. Let's see, other than B.C. and Ontario, are there even provincial playoffs that are reasonable competitive? Given that, is not playing at a National event a pretty big thing for someone that has never experienced National playoffs? Do they need to be put under the scrutiny of internatial play like our present Team Canada?

We are early in our development, and the CCA keeps us at the forefront internationally while we develop prvincially.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Eric:

I have not been on here for a while, and read your start of thios blog.

I hear your passion for a National Champion representing Canada, but do you really think it would provide for an international winner?

Ask Gary, Rich and the boys if they think they are on the same level as Team Canada? Would they even make the last ten in today's environment? I am not being mean, just realistic.

I think international success is a part of maintaining funding and a future for our sport. Remember, where were we a mere ten years ago?

Carl Rennick said...

With all due respect---I don't think I understand this argument about the CCA not putting Team Canada into a "Sudden Death" situation. The Nationals are -- today --a nine game round robin series with a page playoff system. Where is the sudden death sitiation in that--unless you are automatically assuming that Team Canada would in fact make it to the final an loose on a "pick" (No tattered brooms or old grippers to worry about here folks). The format is the same as that used in the Brier and the Scotties--and from time to time the best team doesn't win there either--although the best team that week almost certainly wins. As Mark says, Team Canada should win anyway (wink wink--nudge nudge)---but in this format they would have EARNED the right to represent the Country on the world stage.

Anonymous said...

Get serious.....the top ten AB teams in Canada would/should win at Worlds any given year.....can you say that about WC curling? Therein lies the issue.

Anonymous said...

Point taken...we don't have the depth to insure a real positive result at Worlds....can you imagine not qualifying?

Laughie Rutt said...

I have had the honor and privilege of having played in the nationals the last three years with many fine curlers. Included in this group have been elements of the present Team Canada and past team Canada’s. I believe our game is soundly competitive at the national level.

If the change is to take place, the time could not be any better at the beginning of a new four year cycle.

I have read with great interest the blog comments. I really wish that persons would put their names but I do understand their wish to not be known. It will never be on the agenda of CCA if the individual groups of wheelchair curlers do not contact their curling association reps to CCA and ask it to be there. It is our loss if we post to blogs and do no diligence. I would like to know what individual provinces think and not by anonymous comment. The CCA meetings are not more than a week away so get to it if you want it considered. Maybe Eric can ask CCA if it is on their radar.

The issue as I see it is whether CCA is ready for change and can tolerate what they might perceive as a risk in change. After all it is the risk that would be their main concern. Most change decisions are plus and minus considerations. Resistance to change can only be eliminated by communication and testing or piloting. They worry about the risk of not winning medals, losing national sponsorship and the administrative changes on their end and what that would mean at CCA.

The plus side of change is always difficult to see. In this case the change would result in the grassroots players having something at a higher level to play for. It would encourage practice and commitment in provincial programs. Persons in the provinces would be motivated by the opportunity to improve their financial well being by being carded athletes. More persons might come to play the game.

For the CCA to see if the time for change is right they must test the waters and communicate. They could have the present Team Canada play mini series against a variety of the present provincial teams. They could hold expanded training camps and see players side by side with National team members. Then at Christmas they could decide if the time is right to have them go head to head at Nationals to win it all or have them enter at nationals as a further test of the competition level with no commitment to the winner in 2011 being Team Canada.

Above all CCA should be communicating to the curlers in Canada. Eric’s site gives them a ready venue. Put articles telling us how selection works, their views on training and other key facets important to all the curlers. No communication will mean resistance to change. No testing or piloting will mean resistance to change. Watch for these signs.

Tom Birchall said...

I am one of the provincial representatives attending this year's CCA NCC later this month. Thank you Mr Rutt for bringing the issue to my attention and thank you for those blogging/commenting herein.

The general consensus seems to be that there is time for change. I cannot disagree.

The current national process makes sense and works when you are trying to develop a segment of our sport. The CCA has, in my opinion done a wonderful job of doing just that - developing the sport to a national/international level.

However, the time may(stress "may") be ripe for a change since there are now a number of highly successful WC teams competing at local, provincial and national levels.

I must confess that I'm not really in favour of a "different" type of competition to that currently enjoyed at the Brier or Scotties - yes Virginia there is a difference between the two with a Team Canada for the Scotties!

A sudden death game somewhere in the process makes for great TV and allows clubs/arenas to capitalize on a defined final -"come see the finals of X next Sunday at 2:00" brings money and in some cases a lot of it - to wit the Superbowl!

To get an item on the CCA NCC agenda takes lead time and a lot of work.....I'm willing to do the work but I need some assistance from you the WC curlers.

Drop me a line at and I will respond as long as the note in not from Annon and let's together try and put something in place that reflects the views of you the WC.

Again thanks for bringing this issues forward.

Bruce Cameron said...

The Ontario Curling Association (OCA) has started the process by reaching out to the competitive wheelchair curlers in Ontario for a consensus that they can take to the very soon upcoming CCA meeting.....PLEASE reach out to ur provincial association so we can have a common front at the CCA meeting......for the "annie mousie" who thinks that any of the top 10 AB (able bodied) teams in Canada could win at the worlds has a lot of blind faith.....check the facts and they the last ten years, the world's mens has been won by a team other than Canada four times and six times at the ladies worlds and that was with the BEST Canada had to offer....not the 10th best...
And a BRAVO ZULU to all those who put their name to their thoughts/opinions....

Anonymous said...

Hello, AnniMouse here.

Just to chip in a bit. The number of wc curlers does not support a wholesale change in the program. How many provinces even have a play-off to go to Nationals....about half, and how many of these are really competitive? You are expecting the CCA to give up a proven and successful program, and risk it all on a single sudden death game?

I just don't see it happening any time soon, nor should you.

Let's try to get the play-off with Team Canada, and as it gets more competitive, move right into National trials with Team Canada as a participant.

Eric Eales said...

I am reliably informed that the issues we have been discussing will be brought up at the Member Associations Forum in Ottawa on Thursday June 17.

Whether it is taken further, to the floor of the AGM on the 19th, will depend on whether there is sufficient interest from other delegations.

We now have at least one delegation willing to start the process that may lead to change. If you want change, let your delegates know what the issues are, so that when the subject is raised on the 17th, they will have some background.

CurlBC is holding their AGM on June 11, and the delegates, chosen by zone, are listed on the curlbc website. Check your province's website or call your provincial association to find out who is representing you.

Many delegates to the CCA AGM will be unfamiliar with wheelchair curling and will not previously have considered the issues surrounding Team Canada selection. They cannot be expected to vote for a change in CCA policy unless they have been given a chance to hear points of view in opposition to the present system.

Whether that happens depends on you.

Anonymous said...

point taken, Eric:

I still feel that the best we could get is some canvassed proposal for a review of change sometime in our life.

If we were more definitive on our desires, they could address that specifically, rather than geneerally.

That said, our request would have to be reasonable, as we move forward......a best of whatever series would be a GREAT start, for, say, 2011?

Anonymous said...

I have a lot of difficulty in thinking the provincial associations, even if on board for dramatic change, which this is, could impact the CCA.s new found darling program.

We have to get ALL provinces working for us. If we even get discussion for the future out of this year, that would be tremendous. Any quick change would have to be through the ear of Gerry Peckham, I believe. If he wants/accepts change, it will happen sooner rather than later, in my opinion.

Anonamousie said...

Could someone draft a boiler plate letter that we could all put our names to and send to our provincial associations?

Oh and the rant on anonymous posters is getting rather old Bruce.

Anonymous said...

Actually, that is true, Bruce. If it wasn't for anonymous posters, this would be a VERY QUIET website.

Anonymous said...


It would appear that everyone is more interested in opinions, rather than who said it. Get off your bandwagon.

Anonymous said...

Youknow, Bruce, AnnieMouse is absolutely correct. It may be nice to know who is posting, but I would rather see a bunch of opinions than just you purists. I think many opinions make for way more interesting and diverse opinions.