Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun recounts the opening game of the pre-qualifying between P.E.I. and Yukon, describing it as sad. And hard to argue with him. Two teams that have won their region/province battling it out in front of almost no one, with no ceremony or even introductions.
There were no bagpipes. Nobody carried a sign with the name of their team. Nobody carried their flag. There were no introductions.
And it’s going to get even sadder.This morning Nova Scotia, a legitimate province that won the very first Brier back in 1927 and interrupted what would have been a five-in-a-row run by Alberta’s Randy Ferbey to win its most recent one in 2004, will play the Yukon. That’s the territory that didn’t even bother to send a team to compete in the Territories finals last year in Yellowknife.
If you think there's pressure on guys like Koe, Morris and Jacobs, think about these guys playing just so they don't have to go home on Sunday. Here's Adam Casey:
“P.E.I. has been in every Brier since 1936 and everybody I talk to in P.E.I. is saying ‘Get us out of this relegation.’ I’m looking at it as a hurdle on my way to a full Brier.”
In the Free Press, Paul Wiecek outlines just how significant the changes to the format are:
To put the magnitude of this change into context, consider there has never been a Brier that has taken place without Nova Scotia, a charter participant and the winner of the first Brier in 1927.
It's been almost as long a run for P.E.I., as the province has participated in the Brier every year since 1936.
But all that tradition ends this weekend as a new era for the Brier begins in which the four lowest-ranked teams from the previous year must take part in a play-in round immediately prior to the Brier.And kudos go to Jeff Mackinnon of the Calgary Herald for putting in print what social media has been calling this event -- the "Prior." And he tells the story of how the PEI team just made it to Calgary in time for its game.
Casey’s gone on record as saying the new Brier pre-qualifying is “stupid.” He arrived in Calgary four days before the start of play Thursday to workout at The Glencoe Club, but struggled when he moved over the Saddledome. His team arrived in Calgary at four hours before Thursday’s game because of flight delays.