Wow. We’re hardly done with one big championship and another one is on the way. The Strauss Canada Cup started today and if you’re a competitive curler, it’s either the start (men) or women (end) of a busy period.
The Canada Cup is an event that has always confused me. Although no one in Ottawa will admit it, the event was started out of the fires of the Grand Slam boycott era. The CCA got nervous when the original Grand Slams came out and felt it needed a cash event to keep the top curlers on its side.
Prior to that, there was always this clear divide that the CCA ran the championships and the Tour (or all its forerunners) ran the cashspiels. But that ended when the Canada Cup was created.
In the early days, the CCA got around this by merely “sanctioning” the Canada Cup. It was actually run by a group in Kamloops. At least that was the spin. But no one with any modicum of sense really believed that the CCA wasn’t pulling all the strings.
To be honest, I’ve never really seen the need for the CCA to be involved in this event. It doesn’t fit into its mandate.
Having said all that, this has become a pretty important part of the curling schedule and the Olympic qualifying process. And really, anytime you can get the big boys and girls together, knocking heads, all the better. The teams look forward to this event except for the fact that it's jammed into the schedule right around the Brier/Scotties. There's a decent payout for the teams with $25,000 for the win and $800 per game won in the round robin. In my mind, it should be before Christmas or early January with most of the other big cash events.
Another issue I don't know is whether this is a cash-positive or cash-negative event for the CCA. You have to know they're looking at bottom lines these days. Although I doubt anything would happen to this event before the next Olympics, I'm sure it will be reviewed, especially since it doesn't have a title sponsor next year with the move to Yorkton.
For now, enjoy some good curling.