As the image of Fredericton curling in 1854 indicates, this marks the end of 150-plus years of history. Gone. El toasto.
This typical golf-versus-curling story has been heard often before: the golfers have been subsidizing the curlers for years, curling membership has steadily declined, and a whack of new curling facility equipment ($100,000 or so) is needed and is not forthcoming… so a “business decision” was made.
Some of the discourse is disturbing, however. Curling club past president Gary Wilson feels the curling executive was “misled into believing we were doing better than we were, by the board and by the general manager. I have, on paper, reports from annual general meetings that say we were making money.
“When this came to a head and we were asked to meet with the board, we were told point blank that this was all wrong. We never made money, we were losing money, but out of the goodness of their hearts, they were adjusting the books to make it look better than it was. They said there should have been footnotes put into the profit and loss statements that all expenses were not charged to the curling division that should have been. They didn’t cook the books, but they didn’t report everything accurately on paper. There was nothing fraudulant or whatever in that manner. But things weren’t explained as to what they were in exactness.”
Looking ahead, incoming president Cyndi Greene is talking tough, saying that fundraising toward a new facility will be “well underway” in three to four weeks and they’ll begin scouting potential locations, and that “we’ll get an ice plant and a shed to put (the club) in. The life span of an ice plant is 30 years. So once that’s in, we’re looking at a minimum 30 years.”
We should know better than to infer directly from media accounts, but these quoted steps and solutions all sound far, far too simple. There will be no FCC curling in 2007-08 and it is going to be very, very difficult to make a comeback at all, let alone get “a new venue up and running no later than 2008.”
Given that “neither Greene or Wilson were surprised” by the results of Monday’s vote, and that Greene says the club executive is only now planning “to meet with legal counsel later this week to protect the assets of the club,” one has to ask… what, if anything, was attempted to prevent this disaster?
Was the NBCA ever asked for help or direction in rebuilding what sounds like an abysmal membership count? Was the CCA’s lauded Business of Curling seminar program ever considered or attended?
Who’s on first? Or rather, was on first? Just asking.
• Alberta women have joined the men in revamping their provincial format and a pair of Calgary teams are headed directly to next January’s provincial championship.
Defending champ Cheryl Bernard and 2006 Olympian Shannon Kleibrink were the beneficiaries of the Alberta Curling Federation’s expansion of the women’s provincials, a move the ACF ratified at its annual general meeting on the weekend.
As pioneered by the men’s provincials, there’ll be 12 teams chasing the 2008 Alberta women’s title; the traditional eight (three each from the North and South, two from the Peace) as well as the defending champ, the top Alberta team on the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) last season (Kleibrink) and two teams to be decided this fall. One will be the top CTRS team in the stretch from September to late January, and the other will come from an Alberta bonspiel series.
In addition, the ACF announced that both the men’s and women’s provincials will adopt triple-knockout formats, with four qualifiers going to a Page playoff system.
• Meanwhile, the eternal question of provincial qualification rages on in BC… and on, and on, and on …
• Congrats to Vermont curlers on a great inaugural season …
• Let’s keep the good news coming: The Curling News has learned the Toronto Curling Association will announce a new sponsor tomorrow in Retirement Residences Group. RRG becomes title sponsor of both the TCA Business Women’s Bonspiel (November 9-11, 2007) and the Toronto & District Ladies Bonspiel (Nov. 13-15).
“We are looking forward to partnering with two great bonspiels,” said Elaine Wood and Pam Starr, Regional Directors of Marketing for Retirement Residences Group. “We support curling all over the GTA and this is a great opportunity to show our support for women’s curling.”
• And finally, RIP to Bob Martin, a curling mover and shaker in Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe region …