Friday, February 1, 2008

Trials Qualifying Changes

I’ve had several e-mails since I posted about Brad Gushue’s comments on the Olympic qualifying, most agreeing that the process is complicated but also pointing out that at least it puts the emphasis on the right spot – the Tour and the Grand Slams.
A few folks were fearful that if there was another change to the system after 2010, it would go back to favouring Season of Champions events or perhaps – egad! – putting a regional qualifying system in place.
I can’t profess to knowing the perfect system for determining Canada’s Olympic teams, but I do know that if you want to get the top teams at the Trials, then the best way to do it is by utilizing the Tour and the Grand Slams. That’s where the best curling is, that’s where the toughest competition is and that’s where the most points should be.
That doesn’t mean the Brier or Scotties winners shouldn’t qualify; they definitely should. But any sort of regional qualifying system – which a couple of people suggested -- is about the worst thing that the CCA\COC could do. A process where winners are selected by geography rather than talent will not necessarily deliver the best teams to the Trials. Even increasing CTRS points for things like winning a province, is not a good idea. Of course if you’re a good team in a not so deep area, you’d love it.
I do think there should be some way for a darkhorse team (a la Mike Harris in 1997) to make the qualifying. Obviously they’d have to play well but there should at least be that opportunity, which means you might want something like Ontario’s Challenge Round, a last-chance shot of some sort.
Somewhere in all of this is a decent qualifying system. I’ll leave it to the tall thinkers to figure out the details.

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