Thursday, January 17, 2008

Paul Boutilier, the guy who has been at the forefront of the World Curling Tour Players Association and the Grand Slam events, is stepping down from his positions as president of the WCTPA and Executive Director of the World Curling Tour. He’s been in the position for just over six years and as he said in an e-mail sent to players, he’s leaving behind some remarkable achievements:
I am most proud of putting the players back together in the Brier and Slams, bring Arnold Asham back to the tour where he belongs, creating a very good relationship with the CCA and WCF, saving the Canadian Masters last year with players helping players, joining forces with the women and men on tour, creating a school of rock for kids to meet the sport's best, creating "Slammer" as this sport needed to connect to the youth and excite audiences, putting a live band on the ice surface for the enjoyment of the fans and "in-venue" entertainment experience, starting the Ambassador Awards that created some very special player evenings, assisting in getting the World Championship rings for both Team Burtynk and Team Scott, creating a PC that both women and men play, working and agreeing to an Olympic deal with the CCA that brought the tour and slams into the process in a big way, Toronto 2009, our volunteer approach to sincerely making them feel as they should "a key partner in every event," having a transparant qualification system for the Grand Slams and other items that one this hard day I cannot recall - but the biggest though was meeting and working with you all and experiencing some of this great sport that we all love.

Of all the great work that Boutilier has done, his biggest achievement may have been healing the wounds between the CCA and the players. Remember, Boutilier came on board right after the big boycott of the Brier. He had to get some of the lugheads at the CCA to realize just where the future of curling was going.
And i you look at where the Tour is now, it’s hard to remember just how far it’s come and much of that is due to the hard work of Boutilier.
Now the question of why he’s leaving. The press release says it’s for personal reasons and that he’s accomplished all the goals he set out to reach. Is there more to the story? Not sure, but I think Boutilier is going to be a hard guy to replace.

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