As predicted by many (including us) dating back to last fall, the Canadian Curling Association has formalized a dedicated national championship for that newfangled offspring of traditional four-player curling: Mixed Doubles.
This was a step the CCA simply had to take, particularly upon agreeing to host the upcoming world titleshoot at Fredericton in April 2013. As such, the provinces should now follow suit and create regional championships – such as Curl BC, who are already out of the gate and running.
Until this season, Canada’s winners of the standard four-player national Mixed have had to either choose which two players will compete for Canada in World Mixed Doubles play, or compete amongst themselves in a best two-out-of three series to make the decision.
Most athletes agree that the previous methodology “sucks”. In a November 2011 column in the Toronto Sun, TCN publisher George Karrys quoted an angry Alberta Mixed skip Kurt Balderston:
If they’re going to (send a team) Canada has to send all four curlers, and then decide who is playing in each game. You cannot, CANNOT, tell two people to stay home from a world championship. It’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s just wrong in every sense. You have to send all four players. For the countries that don’t play mixed doubles, that’s the only thing that makes sense.
Now, the optimum solution has been found – the CCA is biting the cost bullet and creating a proper mixed doubles national championship. The official newser is located here, and we’ll also point to a Yahoo! Canada story, located here.
[Blogger Don Landry must have enjoyed our Facebook post from September 19, in which we declared, in Star Trekkian: Canada – This is Mixed Doubles. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.]
However, “that sucks” is what most curling traditionalists generally think of this newfangled curling format. Not necessarily those who have tried it, mind you, but the pontificators who have not and who have no plans to (and you know who you are).
So, if you are a confused and confounded Canadian curler and/or curling fan, here are two suggested ways of looking at Mixed Doubles:
1) It’s being pushed hard by the World Curling Federation – for both internal and Olympic competition – so Canada simply has to be there. And if Canada is there, shouldn’t Canada be more of a medal threat than it has been to date?
2) Perhaps the CCA can push this discipline as an entry-level attraction for new curlers? With only one additional player necessary to create a team, any novice who is interested in the sport might find it easier to try the sport with one friend or spouse. In addition, the games are shorter than traditional eight-end curling games – these matches last only six ends, and there are only five stones thrown per team. That sounds like a decent introduction for a newbie.
Top photo by Mario Facchini / Newspower • Second photo by Michael Burns / Canadian Curling Association [Click on images to increase viewing size]