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    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    Ontario seeks input on Team Canada selection process

    The Ontario Curling Association has polled their competitive wheelchair curlers and coaches on their views on their preferred method of Team Canada formation.

    The poll asked for four selection methods to be ranked, and promised that the results would be tabulated and shared with the other provinces at the CCA's Annual General Meeting next week. We now know that this issue is being raised by at least two provinces.

    Option 1: Continue the current selection process as run by the CCA with their National Coaching staff selecting the 5 members of Team Canada from any province.

    Option 2: Have the winner of the Canadian Wheelchair Championship represent Canada at the World Championship in the same season that the World Championship is held. Note: this option requires changes in scheduling of Provincial and National Championships.

    Option 3: Have the winner of the Canadian Wheelchair Championship represent Canada at the following year’s World Championship. Note: this option allows the winning Canadian Championship team to receive additional coaching/training and competition for up to one year before competing at the World Championship.

    Option 4: Have the winner of the Canadian Wheelchair Championship play a best 3 of 5 games playoff against the “selected” Team Canada for the right to represent Canada at the World championships.

    If you haven't already done so, you might want to browse the opinions expressed in the thread "Team Canada - time for a change?" to familiarise yourself with some of the issues. Then please add a comment  and your ranking, with any explanation for your choices, to the comments below.


    Anonymous said...

    We are we going to risk everything on teams which are unproven on the international stage and mess with a system which has proven results.

    2 Paralympic gold medals
    1 gold at worlds
    1 silver at world 1 bronze

    Strong results on a system which has worked!!!!!1

    We can ill afford to lose even 1 worlds and not qualify for the next Paralympics.

    Wheelchair curling is still developing and so are the players, no less then 4 more years before you can even consider a different method.

    I put money on it!

    Anonymous said...

    Way to take the lead Ontario. Maybe other provinces will also take note and speak up.

    Anonymous said...

    The first comment says it all. We are too new to with the present system very much. I would be in favour of a best of five challenge to Team Canada. If nothing else, it would be good seasoning for developing teams.

    Anonymous said...

    Don't mess with a system that has worked so well.

    Maintain the status quo for another four years.

    Anonymous said...

    Best of five play-off. CCA gets a chance to continue with the program, but the national winner has a chance

    Anonymous said...

    You know, whine as we migtht about the present system, the reality is that it has been very effective, and in a few short years, we also have a fairly inclusive National championship. Let's walk before we run (no pun intended), and maintain our international profile for the media coverage and support we enjoy.

    Anonymous said...

    I would not even suggest to the CCA any huge change for the moment, but suggest they remain open as we go forward. We have the most successful program, and wholesale change makes no sense.

    Anonymous said...

    National winner should be the ones to represent the country not a member of the old boys club. After all they are the "NATIONAL CHAMPIONS" .

    Eric Eales said...

    If active wheelchair curlers felt the present system of Team Canada selection best benefited the sport, that would be one thing.

    If opposition to change is only coming from family and friends of the current system, or from non-players, that is another.

    Anonymity hides motive.

    Anonymous said...

    I am not sure how one poster can say an old boys club with the results of Team Canada over the last 9 years.

    Do we really think that the winner of this years National cold have done anythin at world better then 7th ot 8th.

    I don't think so......we need not risk change based on solid performance based results.

    Anonymous said...

    If the present system is so grand then why are the supporters of it so scared to put it up against the best teams this country has to offer. "Team Canada" should easily walk away with the gold if they are that good. It's easy to defend a process that is never challenged. To suggest that all of the members of Team Canada are the best this country has to offer is a fallacy especially when those that would challenge them are never given an opportunity to try. The system is corrupt and should be changed to be fair and transparent.

    Anonymous said...

    No one can possibly argue the success of the program since its inception.

    We are still too young, and our numbers are not big enough to be assured as a powerhouse in the world by utilizing the national winner.....YET....

    Perhaps another four year cycle will change that.

    Jamie Eddy said...

    Do we really think that the winner of this years National cold have done anythin at world better then 7th ot 8th.

    Get in the game. Of course we do! Gary's team would've easily been on the podium and, dare I say it, would've had a realistic chance in beating all the other teams.

    Who are these people that have all these opinions, but no names. Were you at Nationals? I was. I played all the teams there, and I believe that any of the top three teams at this year's Nationals could have equaled our current National Team, and even played better doing it.

    -Jamie Eddy
    Team Ontario 2nd

    Anonymous said...

    Jamie, I don't know how you think the top three teams at nationals could rival or beat our present Tema Canada.

    But with a best of five challenge, the national winner would get their shot.

    My money is on Team Canada.

    Anonymous said...

    The best of five challenge is the most fair to the CCA present program and its obligations, as well as the national champions.

    Anonymous said...

    The Ontario results simply show that most everyone that voted want a chance to go to Worlds, regardless of ability.

    In all fairness, I can't think of anywhere nesr 19 players who should be considered world class.

    As to the comment that the top three teams at nationals could beat Team Canada, I would like to smoke what they are smoking.

    Maintain the status quo for another four, with a look at review in preparation for 2015 in 2012

    Anonymous said...

    Come on, Eric:

    I know you are into grassroots, but do you believe, as one blogger posted, that the top three at nationals could take out Team Canada?

    I have never heard of anything so absurd.

    Leave the program as is for now, with notice to the CCA to review well befor the end of the next four year cycle.

    Anonymous said...

    I love it now that there is some real rumblings of change beginning to brew, that there is a sudden strong contingent of people dead set against it. It's truly remarkable. Anyone now spouting that the current program is a success and that we should just leave it alone is one of two things, a current member of the gravy train and two, horrible at simple math. Since it's inception there have been 6 world championships and 2 Olympics. 6+2=8, simple enough. Canada has won 2 Olympics and 1 world championship. 2+1=3, straight forward. Now the fun part, 3 wins divided by 8 chances equals 37.5%. That my friends is completely unacceptable. That is in reality an epic fail. A 37.5% success rate given the sheer amount of time and money invested in the program, is not only sad but proof that change is required. Now feel free to pick a choose the championships that support your counterpoint, but in reality, either they all count or none of them count.

    Anonymous said...

    Name a more successful program in the world. We ar also 2 and 0 in the past two years.

    Can you see the program getting traction?

    Anonymous said...

    you forgot about the Canada's silver and bronze showings at worlds get the math right!

    Anonymous said...

    And we can't risk not qualifying for Worlds. Remeber, it is a fresh start.

    M Wherrett said...

    I think one of the problems at Nationals is if you win you get a little recognition but no reward. CCA should have some way of rewarding there National Champs. What if they were on the ALL STAR TEAM and if team Canada needed a player for Bonspeil. That was there pool to pick from.
    A curler hoping to be noticed, or asked to a TEAM CANADA Camp has but one shot to be noticed. "Nationals". If there coaches, show up and I have never seen them [ hope I am wrong ].
    It would be very hard to break the present roster but with training sessions and playing at a higher level a player would certainly feel they had a chance of being part of TEAM CANADA.
    The other way would be to do what Furby did with the Mens pick his own all stars from across Canada and start beating everyone in Bonspeil play. Team Canada would notice if they were beat !

    Anonymous said...

    I agree. Maybe there could be a three way play-off. Team Canada, National winner, and a select team from the rest of Canada.

    Anonymous said...

    Three way play-off would certainly allow for ant team EVEN CLOSE to being competitive having their shot.

    Anonymous said...

    The big decision, and I believe Eric would agree, is how important is our international status to the sport generally, as well as the sport in Canada? I know Eric will disagree, but I see the sport improving (in both quality and quantity) from the status of Canada in the sport internationally, which give "competitive" provincial players the goal to shoot for. If there is no international status, what do we care what happens after Nationals.......being Bulgaria going to a nothing world championship doesn't work for me. I need to know that the world's are as good as it gets, in an emerging sport, not some event of no status, and going nowhere, as an afterthought to the game.

    That is what Team Canada has done.....put us in the eye of a sport that has enjoyed huge success this year, fueled in part from Canada's expected everywhere, sold-out venue, etc. at the Paralympics.

    Our "provincial" interest is fueled by this type of attention and exposure of the sport.

    Now the lesser guns have something to shoot for. But don't think we are as competitive as able-bodied. Let the present program fuel the interest in the sport, and look to challenge Team Canada in 2013, in a best of 5, winner to groom for 2014.

    Now we can get prepared. Challenging Team Canada right now only fuels the obvious....there is a HUGE gap betwwen nationals and Team Canada. Let us get a little more prepared, to make it a legitimate challenge, not a patronizing decision to keep the nay-sayer happy.

    Eric Eales said...

    The problem with assertions that sound plausible, but lack evidence, is that they are worth no more than assertions to the opposite.

    What contribution has Team Canada made to the development of wheelchair curling in Canada?

    What coaching innovation, fitness tip, strategic insight, mechanical advance or information sharing has come from the national team to those outside the program?

    The previous poster suggests, somewhat condescendingly, it provides "lesser guns" "something to shoot for" as of course would all three of the suggested changes to the current system.

    The same poster credits the present system for "media everywhere" and sold-out Paralympic matches.

    The Paralympic curling would have sold out regardless, and as someone who collected every wheelchair story that hit Canadian papers last year, I know there was very little media coverage beyond Jim Armstrong's resurrection.

    The team was almost invisible up to and including the promised Paralympic Insider reports promised on the CCA's website that never materialised.

    As for the assertion that Team Canada success fuels provincial interest, there is no evidence at all that this has happened in the past, and we will not know for some time whether it will provoke interest post-Vancouver.

    I think it is clear that the present system has failed to spur interest in the sport. Participation fell after Torino, and has barely moved nationally over the past two or three years. Yes, more provinces send teams to the Nationals, but the total number of wheelchair users curling in leagues has struggled to reach 100, despite international gold medals.

    Where I agree with the poster is there is a huge gap between the skill level of Team Canada and any other domestic team. Given they are hand-picked, intensively trained, coached and otherwise resourced, that is no great surprise.

    If you think the sport exists to earn Canada medals, then there is a strong argument for the present system. If nothing else, the coaches can exert an enormous degree of control over the lives and utterances of team members.

    But if you think, as I do, that the national team is the tail of the dog, an embellishment to a healthy body then it must be more that at present; detached, mechanically efficient but irrelevant to the sport it pretends to represent.

    Anonymous said...

    If Team Canada is so good then why are they afraid to compete for their position? How do we know that there aren't better teams out there if no one ever gets a chance to challenge the so called elite team. Where is the fairness in this? We are told to simply accept the fact that Team Canada is the best and not to even bother to try for the top spot. That is not acceptable. Since when did this become a monarchy with no hope to ever reach the top.

    Anonymous said...

    Has Team Canada actually been inaccessible?

    I see Jim and Darryl all winter at the Richmond Club, and they certainly are happy to chat about the game and its future.

    I can't understand people having trouble with access t them.

    Anonymous said...

    Let me guess. You live in BC, perhaps? Lower mainland? Close to Richmond?

    Anonymous said...

    I am a member of Richmond, and I have never seen them be anything but accessible. And I live in Richmond. And I am Caucasian. And I am male. And I am z long time curler. And I like what these guys do for the sport.

    Anonymous said...

    No, he lives in Toronto and commutes to Richmond to watch these guys.

    Anonymous said...

    The Provincial Associations do not have the stroke nor the interest in taking on the CCA in this battle. CCA has a proven program that is difficult to fault for results. We have to get our oveerall numbers up to make a real statement. I know, Eric, that you maintain our numbers are not huge because we can't represent Canada. However, since when is going to the Nationals of the most powereful wheelchair curling country insignificant?

    Leave the CCA ntil half way to 2014, and then let them know of the need for change post Sochi.

    Anonymous said...

    It will be interesting to see what, if anything, comes out of the AGM this week. I think the last poster has it right, prepare for change post 2014.

    Anonymous said...

    Nothing will come out of the AGM, since I don;t believe any firm proposal will be sent to the floor. A query about the future will get a response on what the CCA has decided for the next four years.

    Anonymous said...

    We cannot twiat the arm of the CCA, even if we wanted. This is a very results oriented program right now, with proven results. I think we should be pushing for seminars, challenge games, etc. with Team Canada. There can't be a lot of planning to go to Europe much this year, since the whole program has to be ramping up again.

    Let them tour Canada, and reach out to eveery province.

    Anonymous said...

    The last guy has it right.

    Anonymous said...

    I agree. Let's use Team Canada as the ambassadors they can be, and have them tour CANADA providing challenge games, coaching hints, etc.

    Anonymous said...

    Any news from the CCA meetings?

    Anonymous said...

    My bet on the CCA meetings is no change. If we want change, it will take more than whining here. The CCA has their most proven program here, and whining isn't going to change anything.

    Anonymous said...

    I have to agree. The CCA can't possibly have much interest in fixing something that is running just fine.