Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/2/2009 (2969 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
That's because it has become readily apparent that there are simply not enough weekends anymore from January through March to accommodate all the curling events on the calendar.
And it's starting to affect things. Take next week's Manitoba men's curling championship in Selkirk, for instance. For the second year in a row, the final weekend of the biggest single curling event in this province every year -- the Safeway Championship -- will have to share the spotlight with the first weekend of the Canadian women's curling championship, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Victoria.
But even more important, the late scheduling of the Manitoba men's championship this year -- our men's curling champion will be decided Feb. 22, a full week after every other province and territory has determined theirs -- means that for the first time anyone can remember, the ice for a Manitoba men's championship will not be made by the world's premier icemaker, Gimli's Hans Wuthrich.
That's because in addition to conflicting directly with the national Scotties, this year's late-running Safeway Championship has also caused Wuthrich a scheduling headache. As the head icemaker for the 2010 Winter Olympics, Wuthrich must also make the ice in a couple of weeks for the world juniors in Vancouver, which is a test event for the new Olympic curling venue. And that means he cannot make the ice in Selkirk this year.
I asked Wuthrich, who made the ice in Neepawa last week for the Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts, when was the last time this province staged a provincial men's championship on ice other than his.
"I've been making ice for the (Safeway championship) since 1995. And I've never missed a year until this year," Wuthrich said.
Now, this is not to say that our Brier representative will be determined this year on substandard ice. The Manitoba Curling Association has retained the services of local whiz Mark Shurek, who makes the ice for the World Curling Tour's Grand Slam events and is widely regarded as the heir apparent to Wuthrich.
But it does illustrate the point: Something is going to have to give at some point if all these curling events are going to be accommodated.
The problems in Manitoba this year -- Manitoba's women's representative was also determined a full week after the rest of the country -- were due to a relatively new event on the local schedule, January's Canadian Open at the MTS Centre.
In past years, that event has run in direct competition to the Manitoba Scotties, which stole attention from the premier women's event in Manitoba and did nothing positive for ticket sales at either event.
So to avoid that conflict this year, the MCA effectively allowed a cashspiel to have an entire weekend in late January all to itself.
But the result was both the major provincial events got pushed forward a week and created other conflicts, particularly for the Safeway Championship.
Put it altogether and there's only two conclusions: Either the curling season needs to be pushed further into April or Canadian winters need to be longer.
Personally, I vote for curling in May if that's what it takes.