Favorite Reporter

Favorite Reporter

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Why Relegation in Curling Sucks



Why relegation sucks the bag.

For those of you unaware what I am talking about, the competitive curling world has recently been introduced to the concept of relegation. In order to fit a Team Canada into the Brier, and in order to give Canada’s 3 Territories (Nunavut, NWT and the Yukon) a shot at qualifying for the Brier while still capping it at 12 teams, 4 teams will now have to play off in a mini-event 2 days before the Brier in order to qualify for the Brier.
The teams in relegation will be the teams with the fewest wins in the previous three Briers. Right now, this will be NS, PEI and the 2 “new” provinces, Nunavut and Yukon who have the fewest wins in the last three Briers.
By the way, the Mixed National Championship (of which I have played in the last 2) and the Scotties have both implemented similar policies. The Mixed has had relegation for 2 years, the Scotties will start next year.

So here are some reasons as to why this is HORRIBLE IDEA.
1. The Brier, and the Scotties are a unique Canadian tradition. Few other sports offer such a unifying, universal and inclusive National Championship experience. It is part of what makes the Brier somewhat magical. There are flags. There are provincial jackets. There are bagpipes. There are people with pins. There are fans with Moose Calls, fans with Yellow raincoats and guys who run around the arenas carrying flags. The Brier is more than a curling tournament, it is a reflection of who we are.
I know the “professional” teams, like Koe, Martin, Howard et al. will likely disagree, and say that their presence enhances the event, and we need to have the best teams in Canada represented. I call bullshit on this. People go to the Brier because it is awesome. There is enough quality and regional parity across the land to always ensure that 5-6 of the top teams in the world will always be there. To be honest, the curling is better in Slams, but the Slams are played in front of empty seats in small arenas.
And the Brier is a democratic playoff; you need to win to get there. You do not get invited because you are ranked high in the CTRS rankings. You need to beat everyone that has $300 and a dream. There is something magical about that. I think relegation goes against these basic principles, and seems to be trying to move the Brier in the wrong direction.
And if this is true for the Brier, than this is even more true for the Mixed National Championship. 
2. It crates the all time shittiest event in Canada, the RELEGATION EVENT. I have seen it first hand at the Mixed. It is an awful, awful tournament. You have one bad day, and you have to go home IN SHAME. And you get to do it again next year. And to make it worse, they invite you to the opening ceremonies. You get to parade with your flag in your provincial jackets, and then you stand there and listen to the organizers tell you what a great week they have planned for everyone. Everyone except you. You get to go home, because you suck! Because your province was not good enough. And guess what, you had to take a week off work anyway, in case you won. So you get to go home, and feel shitty FOR A WEEK.   
It’s like organizing the most fun party in the world, and telling some of your guests that they are only invited for the opening 20 minutes, then they have to leave before the fun starts. Better to not invite them in the first place!
How can we do this to people? This is just not what Canadians do. This is not how I was raised. It’s just plain mean.

3. It really punishes provinces for sending “rookies” to the Brier. Quebec is fortunate that it has been well represented for the past few years by JM who wins his fair share of games. But if I go back a few years to where an “underdog” won the province, Quebec would be in relegation territory as result. How does this make sense?  


4. I like Nunavut. I have met the Mixed team from Nunavut, and they are awesome people. But can we agree that the 1 curling club located in their Territory should not give them access to a Brier, even a relegation spot? Can we find a better way to accommodate this one club?
And does anyone believe that Nova Scotia does not belong at the Brier? Jamie Murphy has had a tough week, but there are at least 5-6 quality teams in Nova Scotia that can at least be considered as playoff contenders at a Brier. Jeez, they won the whole thing 10 years ago. And yet, the way things are playing out, they will be in relegation next year. So we are one bad day away from not having any BlueNosers in the crowd at the Calgary Brier. That would be a travesty. Will Halifax be hosting a Brier any time soon?




In short, I can’t believe there are a bunch of people who sat around a table to try to make things better, and THIS is what they came up with. This is the best solution? What a pile of crap.
I find it IMPOSSIBLE to believe that this is the best way to do things.
I wrote a blog before Christmas that asked what the Olympic movement has done to competitive curling in Canada. A lot of people seemed to think that I was against the top teams in Canada being well sponsored and funded to curl. 
I have nothing against the top teams. But I am suggesting that the CCA has maybe lost its way in terms of prioritizing the needs of the elite teams in Canada ahead of the needs of the larger curling community. Relegation is another shameful example of this.

32 comments:

  1. My sentiments exactly! Any chance you would consider setting up a petition on change.org about this to the CCA (summarizing your points above)? I'm sure it wouldn't be difficult to get 50,000 plus signatures!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PEI can play as few as 6 games to get to the brier. I agree with CCA....out with the weak teams. make this more competitive and more like a grand slam event....more people will watch

      Delete
    2. More people watch the Brier than the Slams the slams, so what makes you think having more Slam teams will make the Brier more popular?
      Don't change what isn't broken.

      Delete
    3. Who says it's not broken? Brier attendance in Edmonton missed the mark by a lot, Montreal Scotties was a disaster and I wonder if anyone even knows the Brier is going on in Kamloops.

      Delete
    4. Thanks for putting your thoughts on paper, we all need to stop as you say ( this bullshit ) It is called the Canadian Brier all provinces should be there end of story.

      Delete
  2. Why do we need Team Canada as an automatic berth? I was hoping the Scottie's would do away with this feature!

    ReplyDelete
  3. ...wow. "sucks the bag" eh? Try not to sound too intelligent in your title. Perhaps you could have tried "Why Relegation in Curling is a TERRIBLE Idea"
    I don't disagree with you. I think it is a bad idea too. But I will not share or link to your post with this title.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can be verbose and intelligent when required...but sometimes you just have to call em like you see em. But I softened the title for you (and my Mom will probably be happier too).

      Delete
    2. People who complain and remain anonymous really suck the bag.

      Delete
  4. Come to think of it...why do the men get two spots from Ontario and not the women? Y/NWT should continue to have only one berth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The women are getting a N/Ont berth next year.

      Delete
    2. Why does Ontario need two teams in the brier? Is it that important that they do while PEI and NS may not get a spot at all? Are they me? Way to go idiots! Who cares that Ontario is the biggest province in the country? Why should they effectively cause another province to get excluded? REAL uncanadian if you ask me to favour one province over another! Not too bright a move

      Delete
  5. Right on Mike!! Last official Brier is coming to a end and the beginning of another slam event.

    ReplyDelete
  6. For some, winning the right to represent thier province at the Scotties/Brier is such a rare opportunity, a dream come true for many curlers.

    I could not imagine achieving that, anticipating living that dream, needing to play the relegation round, not making it out for whatever reason (maybe someone was sick that day) and missing out on an experience of a lifetime that you were so close to having.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally agree!!

      I don't know what these people are thinking.....re-inventing the wheel.

      Delete
  7. So when does PEI and NB get to host a Brier to guarantee they are not relegated. If the host Province is never going to be relegated imagine a year where the Brier goes to a Province where that team has been relegated and the CCA has to go tell the next team on the list they lose there spot to the host Province. WTF is that? I can see BC, Sask, Quebec, PEI, NS, NB and maybe NL, when Gushue steps away from the game, being the feature list of relegation targets. BC and Sask have both recently been on the bottom of the Brier standings so they can't be excluded from the list of "possible" relegation teams. Are you telling me that NL, PEI and NB will get a fair crack at hosting a Brier so they have EQUAL Opportunity for the host province spot? I doubt it but yet BC is hosting what might go down as the worst attended Brier in decades. A St. John's Newfoundland Brier would be spectacular! Can you imagine how lively a George Street Brier Patch could be?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I liked the idea of Team Canada. Why does Ontario deserve two teams? Population or not, Northern Ontario hasn't won a Brier since 1981. Manitoba and Alberta have great teams, so much so that it's hard to get out of those provinces to get to the Brier.

    I thought the Scotties had it figured and now they are changing their format too.

    These events were developed to have the best from each province compete, not sure where that got lost when they were coming up with a "better" way to do things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Northern Ontario won the Brier last year?

      Delete
    2. Yep, forgot the statement that said they hadn't won one since 1981 until last year.

      My point was that why does Ontario get two tries at the Brier every year when the rest of the provinces only get one?

      Delete
    3. Northern Ontario did not win the Brier in 81 btw, they won in 82, 85 and last year. Get your facts straight

      Delete
    4. I think Roxanne was referring to Saskatchewan who should be relegated from the Brier forever!

      Delete
  9. The Canadian Curling Association (CCA) is a Canadian organization responsible for encouraging and facilitating growth and development of the sport of curling in Canada. This is their mission statement ... I do not see the relegation decision meeting this statement in any way !

    ReplyDelete
  10. thank you, i have been screaming this very thing to anyone who would put up with listening to me since i heard about relegation. i think another reason for this that should not be overlooked is the obvious influence of network television, they clearly only want the tops teams at the brier for ratings puproses, and this is to the detrement of the greater good of the game as well as any new "rookie teams" that inevitably have to go the brier for their "first" time and struggle to learn the way to win (even alberta will have to send a bunch of rookies one of these years). i would always prefer to watch a game of new blood battling with the ice and the new experience fight for pride and a win on national television, than another one of these borefests of peels and blanks from martin and koe, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  11. one thing i don't understand is why they don't have camps for curlers to go train during the summer. i find this look inappropriate, as someone that is into curling and enjoys it and maybe thinking about representing her province if she trains and practices enough. jeez the crap. i also love curling alot. js

    ReplyDelete
  12. This has been going on at the Senior Championship for the past 3 years,,,,,not fun! NB Men's team flew to Abbotsford BC, not knowing if they were there for 3 days or 11 days,,,,,makes it hard on fans planning to join them as well, when you are going across the country,,,,expensive venture, changing of flights for teams who don't make it, etc etc etc And how can it be called a CANADIAN Championship if not all of the Provinces are represented????Agree that Territories should be allowed to all participate, but so should everyone else!

    ReplyDelete
  13. As the father of one of the PEI Scotties Team that were the long shot of all long shots i see this as just plain stupid. That final was the most watched Scotties of all time. This is what young curlers stay in the sport for a chance at the Scotties or the Brier. They don't have the big budgets or sponsorships but does that make them subject to relegation. Curling clubs struggle to get young curlers taking their dreams of a Brier or Scotties away SHAME ON THE CCA!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I agree with Mike Fournier. We were talking about it last night after our game and as someone who played a number of years with an eye towards maybe someday getting to the Brier, I think relegation will kill the game for many people with that dream. If your province is relegated, the people vying for the Provincial title will think twice before bothering. Why spend time and money proving yourself in your province when the end "prize" may only be a couple of days at the national event?? Bad move CCA. #Badmove #CCA #curling
    BTW, Mike... your title when shared still says bag. It's probably best removed from there as well.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I agree that relegation is a bad idea.
    I understand that the Brier and Scotties are a canadian tradition, and that it will never change. But, the week long round robin is a boring affair, with the haves cruising against the have nots. Lets face it, it's mostly always the same teams that come through the have not provines play downs. And they get handled easily. i dont think it makes for a good show.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I think the way the National junior was done this year is a very good compromise. Confusing at first, but very smart in the end. Maybe harder for overall and TV scheduling, but I'm sure anything can be done if you want to.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The best way to avoid relegation and allow all provinces/territories to play and have Team Canada I believe would be to split the 14 teams into 2 pools of 7 based on seeding from previous Briers (sorry Nunavut, you're starting at the bottom, but hey at least you get a spot). A 6 team round robin, then do some sort of cross over - I'm sure someone at the CCA could figure this out and you could still do your page system at the end, although I'm not sure you need.
    If you want the page, just take the top 2 from each pool. Leaders of each pool get the 1v2 game and runner up in each pool get the 3v4 game.
    I will temper this by saying I don't work in the TV industry so maybe it wouldn't be the best theatre, I'm just thinking strictly of the curling aspect and tradition so all provs/terr get a shot.

    D. Cook

    ReplyDelete
  18. Whoever this D. Cook guy is, I would like to punch him in the knee...the right one I think...I HATE to agree with him, but he's right. Firstly the Brier is NOT about the best 12 teams in the country...it never has been. The Brier is a strange animal, full of history, partying and curling on the side. The Canada Cup and Slams are about the best teams. Unlike most sports the Brier is a spectacle that happens to have the prize of being Team Canada. The bronze medal thing amongst other things are not about producing the best team, but the best show.
    Why not include more teams? Of course there are the increased costs of more teams, but if the Brier is at that point then the sport is in trouble. The tour and the CCA events are broken as a whole. Pierre Charette has done well to bring the Slams where they are but zero to create an entire tour. The top 8 make enough to cover costs and everyone else struggles to break even. A million teams turned down spots to the latest Slam....would that happen in golf??? Symptoms of a broken sport. One of the best seconds in the sport is quitting after winning the Brier??? Are any more signs required? The only thing that would be worse is having to watch a 6'4" ginger hit a golf ball 300 yards, right DCook?
    MP

    ReplyDelete