One of my favourite people in curling, Jack MacDuff, has weighed in on the relegation issue with a guest column in the Charlottetown Guardian. MacDuff, of course, is the only man to skip a Newfoundland and Labrador team to the Brier title, doing that back in 1976.
But MacDuff is also one of the most passionate people in the game. He loves curling and loves the people who play it. And he sees relegation as something that will do nothing but harm the game at various levels.
The Canadian Curling Association (CCA) has forgotten its own mission and mandate. That mandate states that it is to “exclusively promote amateur athletics specific to curling in Canada on a nationwide basis.”
Curling is not promoted by denying provinces access to the national competition. National competitions inspire young curlers by allowing them to play against the best. Denying them that opportunity robs incentive and quickly kills curling.
The CCA mandate also states that it must “respect and preserve the traditions of curling.” If the current relegation plan goes ahead for next year’s Brier, either P.E.I., Nova Scotia, or possibly both will not be represented. P.E.I. entered the Brier in 1936. Nova Scotia played in the first Brier in 1927 and won it. They subsequently won two more as well as seven Scotties titles. P.E.I. has not won a Brier or Scotties, but has added incredibly to the script over the years. Remember how close P.E.I. came to defeating Jennifer Jones in 2010? The country was watching the game with everyone on the edges of their seats.
How then can the CCA be entrusted with preserving the “history and tradition” of these events when it demonstrates something very different? Its relegation plan is about exclusion, not inclusion.
The full article continues the dissent the Atlantic provinces have with the new system that's slated to come into play next year.