Brier losing its national flavour

"The Nitehawks have done well to get an away split against a talented Creston team which came into the semifinal on a roll and on a high."

The Nitehawks have done well to get an away split against a talented Creston team which came into the semifinal on a roll and on a high.

But, Beaver Valley’s also talented team needs to maintain discipline in front of what will be a raucous crowd tonight.

Although their penalty kill has been pretty good, it is not advisable  for the Nitehawks to challenge the very potent Thunder Cats’ special team that leads the league in man advantage goals this playoff round and tied for the lead in the regular season.

• Curling fans will need to toss tradition overboard in coming seasons. No longer will the national championships pit representatives of all regions against each other. Next year’s Brier could contain teams from less than half of the provinces if the, “big time,” curling regions so wish.

This year, because the rink representing B.C. was skipped and named after a player who has never, ever, lived in B.C., two nominally (by skip name as is tradition) Alberta (Calgary actually) teams played in the men’s final at Kamloops.

Next year there will be a Team Canada in the Brier, this year’s winner from Calgary. With that, it is highly possible there will be at least three Alberta teams, one of which will not need to even curl before the championships, in the bonspiel.

It is further possible, given the lack of a residency rule for representatives from any province, that an Alberta team, or one from neighbouring hotbed Manitoba, could represent Saskatchewan, simply by registering and entering playdowns there.

In the East, some well-funded Ontario rinks could decide to contest the New Brunswick title. Since PEI and Nova Scotia are not guaranteed a spot anymore, that could shrink the pool of provinces represented by provincial residents to five.

It would take more money, but it is not inconceivable that the Yukon and Northwest Territories, and Newfoundland, too, spots could also be taken over by teams from elsewhere with enough financial wherewithal.

With the current rules, it is at least possible that all the entrants in the Brier could live in just one province. As more and more money flows to the, “big-time,” teams, it is certainly not inconceivable we may soon see our last Brier with more than half of the provinces and territories represented by people from those places.

I agree with Rod McDonald, a seven-PEI rep at the Brier, when he says the event will just be another Grand Slam stop for the big guys, and also when he says the Canadian Curling Association’s latest moves, on top of ceding control of Olympic qualification to the money people, will be hugely detrimental to amateur curling – and therefore the sport.

The love of money has results, just not necessarily (or often) positive ones for most of us.

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