Saturday, December 10, 2011

Don't put those cowbells away

According to the boss guy of the Canadian Curling Association, there really isn’t a cowbell controversy. At least, not one that’s of the CCA’s doing.

Reached yesterday in Moscow where he was attending the World Curling Federation’s semi-annual meeting, Greg Stremlaw, the CCA’s chief executive officer, said that while the CCA does have general guidelines, it doesn’t prohibit folks from making noise and having fun at the association’s events.

“Quite honestly, it’s a lot to do about nothing,” he said down the line from Moscow. “I’ve been away but it sounds like there’s some items that don’t have facts behind them.”

Stremlaw said that in most cases when it comes to noisemakers, the CCA has to abide by the regulations of the venue. Each one has different rules and as renters, the CCA must follow those.

He used last year’s Tim Hortons Brier as an example. The John Labatt Centre in London, Ont., was quite strict in its rules. Not only does it ban items such as laser pointers and air horns, but it doesn’t even want running in the halls. That led to the unpopular move to restrict Jack Cox, the older fellow with the Ontario flag who traditionally runs around the rink shouting encouragement to his team, to his seat.  

As for what happened at the Canada Cup, he said that the incident reportedly revolved around one by-the-book arena employee, who took the rules too far.

“In relation to the Canada Cup my understanding is that there was potentially an overzealous security official that interpreted the noisemaker restriction which is specific to most venues,” he stated. “All have venue restrictions, specific about laser pointers, weapons and noisemakers, specifically mechanically operated or enhanced noisemakers. Therefore I think the security officially interpreted it to mean everything and anything including cowbells.

“That’s a security official that’s venue-employed that asked somebody to put their cowbell away. There’s no intention to take away someone’s cowbell. The only reason we would is if the venue we went to wouldn’t allow it.”

Stremlaw added that the last thing the CCA wants is to have quiet venues. He said the noisier, the better, within reason of course. The bottom line is the enjoyment of everyone in attendance.

“We have an obligation to ensure we create a safe, comfortable and enjoyable experience.”

But he said that anyone who wants to ring a cowbell at the Brier or the Scotties this year (attention: Team Holland supporters) can ring away. 

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