by George Karrys
The Curling News has learned that while no 2013 Brier competitors have been fined for misbehaviour, a member of one team damaged some equipment used by The Sports Network (TSN) earlier in the week – and restitution was paid for said equipment.
[UPDATED: The Canadian Curling Association has confirmed that no restitution was in fact paid; the player and team – and all the teams – were warned that if another incident occurs that results in equipment damage, payment will be required. Paragraph eight of the original story below has been edited to reflect this information.]
As reported in the cover story of our March print issue, Brier competitors can be fined by on-ice officials if their language or behaviour crosses the line, and in the past the Canadian Curling Association has taken action – although neither fines nor other disciplinary actions are usually acknowledged.
The subject of Brier behaviour and discipline made our cover due to the ejection of Saskatchewan second Chris Schille during one of his team’s provincial championship playoff games, plus the subsequent media furor his dismissal created.
The Curling News then created a good-natured video meme of Brock Virtue’s Saskatchewan foursome, based on the theme from the television show COPS – which has turned into a minor sensation.
According to the CCA, no player at this year’s Brier has been fined for any misbehaviour. The CCA has confirmed that warnings have been issued to players throughout the event, and The Curling News has learned that Team Saskatchewan and Kevin Martin’s host squad are among them.
In addition, one particular warning was issued to all competitors following an incident involving television equipment.
According to sources, one of the Alberta competitors removed his player microphone and receiver and threw the equipment against a rink board, causing an estimated $4,000 in damage. A subsequent warning was issued to the player and team, and to the entire field, specifying that any future incidents resulting in similar equipment damage would require payment for repair or replacement.
All of this comes to light as the Brier’s final two round robin draws hit the ice today. After a must-win over Newfoundland and Labrador this morning, Alberta has scrambled from a 1-4 start to an impressive 6-4 record, and has the afternoon bye before facing defending champions Ontario tonight.
However, Martin and his Edmonton squad will need help from the field, in addition to a victory over Glenn Howard tonight, to have a chance at a tiebreaker or playoff berth.
For more on past tales of Brier discipline, here’s an excerpt from our cover story:
Manitoba Bad Boy Jeff Stoughton got an initial $1,000 fine back in the 2006 Brier – for accumulating offenses – which was allegedly whittled down to some $250 or so, but no official word was ever acknowledged by the player nor the CCA.
New Brunswick skip Russ Howard, now a TSN curling analyst, tomahawked his brush during his final Brier appearance in 2009, during a loss to his brother Glenn, and was reportedly fined an undetermined amount – this after both Stoughton (again) and Newfoundland’s Brad Gushue had already boom-thwacked their way to some monetary discipline (Gushue was apparently fined $150).
Although our ace reporters wrote about it at that time on The Curling News Blog, no amounts nor the final status of any actions was ever confirmed.
When fines are levied, the payments typically go to the official charity of the CCA, the Sandra Schmirler Foundation.
The Alberta Curling Federation has a code of conduct for its championships, which includes a warning for a first offence of “verbal abuse” or “unacceptable language” and suspension from the current game and the next game for a second offence; a third offence will result in a suspension for the remainder of the championship. Breaking equipment, like a broom or a TV microphone, could also result in disciplinary measures.
As we wrote in our blogpost – and this is for fans on site at Rexall Place – If you think you’ve spotted an offence, keep your eyes peeled to the carpet after the matches, where the officials gather. This is apparently when the notes are compared, and decisions are made.
[The Curling News photos ® by Anil Mungal – click on images to increase viewing size. Subscribe to The Curling News here]