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Change Suggested for Senior Men's Qualifying Schedule

Monday May 28 2007

Monday, 28 May 2007 ? By Resby Coutts with Readers Emails

With the MCA’s Annual Meeting set for June 2 in Hamiota, no doubt there will be a discussion of the sites and schedule for future MCA championships and qualifying events.

It is an annual challenge for the Association to set a schedule that accommodates all of its needs.

I realize, of course, that everyone has a differing opinion of what is ‘the best interests of our sport’.

In late March, I expressed the opinion on my website that it would be desirable to amend the schedule for Senior Men’s qualifying to include a last chance bonspiel later in the season – a competitive reason and an opportunity beyond early December when zones are currently played. Junior Men, Junior Women, Men, and Women’s competitions currently enjoy this opportunity.

I realize that the scheduling issue is a challenge. However, I suggest that with the will to find a solution, there is a solution. In my editorial, I proposed one possible scheduling opportunity that I believe would work..

** Play Mixed Zones at the same time as the National Scotties TOH (granted this would affect 4 women, potentially 2 mixed teams, but very few of the top competitive women compete in mixed)

** Schedule the Mixed berth bonspiel as a ‘last-chance’ for Mixed teams, when Mixed zones are currently played

** Schedule the Strathcona Senior Men’s Berth Bonspiel when we have recently held the Mixed Berth Spiel.

From the perspective of the Association, I believe this scheduling would be attractive to competitors on the senior men’s level and it could possibly also benefit the Mixed berth bonspiel by increasing numbers in it as well. More important, I believe it would be in the best interests of the sport by stretching the competitive seniors season and maintaining the competitive interests of that group longer into the season.

Recognizing that the Brier causes enough challenges for next year’s schedule, I encourage the MCA Board to consider an amended qualifying schedule for the 2008-2009 season.

The complete text of my original April 8, 2007 editorial is on the Archive Page.

 I did have a couple of people express support for the status quo for exactly the reasons that we seem to have crammed everything into the first few weeks of the season – they want to make their January, February plans to ‘go south’ with qualifying behind them, knowing they have to schedule a return for the provincials. I had considerable support for my suggestion. Following are a number of emails I received from around the province in response to my editorial.


Carl German < [email protected] >

I welcome your idea of a last chance spiel, Lord knows I've needed another chance!!

I also agree that we should be catering to the avid senior curler and not those part timers.

As an add to that, we should also consider forming a "Senior" MCT with a points system and an entry or two into the Provincials. I know that Quebec has established a circuit like that. This would get the competitive seniors out more amongst their pe


Gerald May < [email protected] >

How about a spot in the senior provincials via the MCA bonspeil.  talk around the heather senior league is the mca speil is not on there radar but a spot might encourage some to enter


Greg Milloy < [email protected] >

I am in total agreement. This also applies to the Masters. Why do they hold the zones for these two events so early ? When I check other provincial websites, they hold their zones in February.

Greg Milloy

Further to your concerns regarding seniors playdowns, the calendar of events for the upcoming year shows they have moved the masters zones to the beginning of Dec f4rom January. For someone like me who plans to go in both, means our competitive season is compressed into 1and 1/2 months unless we are fortunate enough to win a zone. If you happen to win a masters zone in the first week of Dec, you don't play the provincial until 3 and 1/2 months later.


Peter Kennedy < [email protected] >

I agree with you Resby. The Seniors season if far too short. I think delaying the Senior Provincials to Feburary would provide the time necessary to allow for another qualifying spiel. Injecting some cash into the picture thru a sponsor would also increase the interest in attracting teams.

I haven't spoken to the team yet so this is just my opinion.


Sheldon Seafoot < [email protected] >

I expect most in Brandon thinks the senior mens circuit sucks. The McDiarmid in Nov 10-13 isnt bad. However, last year I played Morden, Brandon Mens, and Senior Zones one weekend after another right ahead of Christmas (as I did the previous year too). I didn’t like it and am considering not playing either the Senior Berth or the Brandon Mens next year.  I think the timing of the Brandon Mens is pretty bad to start with, and adding the Senior Berth right ahead of it doesnt help.

Moving the Senior Berth to February sounds like a good idea. If you get a chance to move Brandon Mens and then move the zone play back a week, you have my vote there too.

I agree that you should not cater to those going south (and I have been going south for a week or two each of the past 3 years). A competitive curling season should be longer than 2 months for more teams than the 16 teams in the zone.


Rae Hainstock < [email protected] >

Good to see that you are still concerned with the interests of your fellow curlers.

Since I live a considerable distance from where the proposed bonspiel would normally be held, it will probably not be of any specific benefit to me. However, I think that the idea may still have some merit.

One question. Where would the extra bonspiel spot come from? We can't have 17 teams at the provincials, so one of the current bonspiel spots would probably have to disappear, unless Winnipeg is prepared to give up one of their zone spots. 

(I answered Rae as follows) –  My initial thought would be re-schedule one of the existing bonspiels... the Berth Spiel is always in A RURAL CLUB -- scheduling it in Jan or early Feb would not be a problem for Winnipeg clubs...and the curlers would be there..

(Rae responded) Rescheduling one of the existing berth bonspiels to after the Senior zones is a good idea.  If we did not win our zone there is a strong possibility that we would attend this bonspiel.

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