Tuesday, November 29, 2011

On the Canada Cup

I’ve never been a big fan of the Canada Cup, (which goes tomorrow in Cranbrook) primarily because I don’t think the Canadian Curling Association should be in the business of running cashspiels.

It’s a great event with great curling but it crosses the line as far as I’m concerned.

Years ago, the CCA said it would leave events with cash to the World Curling Tour while it concentrated on national championships. It’s one reason the CCA still won’t refer to the money it ponies up for the Brier and Scotties winners as prize money.

But when the Boys of Brooms decided to boycott the Brier back at the turn of the century, the CCA figured it would stick it to them by offering up a bucket full of money for play, perhaps hoping a few would crack and take a run at the cash. The first Canada Cup went in 2003 and Randy Ferbey collected.

It’s interesting that the purse for that first shootout was a whopping $220,000 or $110,000 per gender. It’s continued to drop since the inaugural run and this year, there’s $70,000 each for the men and the women. 

That’s still a big purse but it’s not up there with the Slams which offer up $100,000. There are even a few regular Tour events with bigger purses.

There’s also the Incredible Shrinking Field this year. It’s dropped to seven rinks from 10. I’m assuming that’s to cut down on expenses. Fewer teams means fewer games, less ice rental time, not as many lovely parting gifts and less Timbits in the locker room. And while all seven are talented, they aren’t necessarily the teams that have played the best up to this point of the 2011 campaign.

No Sherry MIddaugh, the leading women’s money winner as I tap this out. No, Cathy O, who is one of the hottest team in the land. On the men’s side there’s no Ferbey, ranked fourth in earnings, or John Epping, who sits ninth.

All this is not to say it won’t be a heck of a curling event. The 14 teams there are all very talented and the purse is still significant. All the Olympic gongs that come with winning this make it a huge spiel. Just wonder if it wouldn’t be better if it was the Tour running it.

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