Monday, December 24, 2012

A Northern view of relegation

Danielle Inglis pens a nice story on Thomas Scoffin, the Whitehorse skip who has made a regular trip to the Canadian Junior since he was 12 back in 2007. He's become a seasoned curler these days and that's the reason he was profiled on the CCA's web site. 

He's quite different from the 12-year-old I interviewed for the Globe and Mail back at that Canadian Junior in St. Catharines, Ont. At that time, he was a shy young guy who didn't say too much. He was a delightful story, however, and it's nice to see his passion for curling has remained. 

The article does offer up one glaring quote from Scoffin, concerning the relegation system that's in place for the Junior and will be for all events in 2014. 
“From personal experience, if that rule was in effect when I was first starting [competitive curling], I don’t think I would have had any opportunities, as our team wouldn’t have been strong enough to qualify,” says Scoffin. “I recognize that it’s tough to find an inclusive format for everybody, but I would be concerned that it would deter [young curlers in the north] from starting to curling competitively.”
And that's the problem with relegation, especially so for an event such as the Junior. Teams in the Territories don't have that much opportunity to play competitively against their peers without huge financial and travel sacrifices. It's possible that when a curler such as Scoffin finishes up his junior career and a younger, inexperienced team from the Yukon arrives on the scene, it may never make the national final. Scoffin pointed that out to Inglis. 

“Recreational curling is alive and well, however [not being guaranteed a spot to compete at nationals each year] could be a deterrent for up-and-coming competitive teams. They can choose to switch to any other sport. It would really hurt junior curling in the north.”

The complete article is here.  

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