Still struggles with the World Curling Tour

Kevin MartinInteresting reading the piece by George Karrys on the World Curling Tour about the pains still being felt despite the series rescue this past summer.

One subject of the WCT Great Debate has been blowing hot and cold for decades, and recently reared its ugly head during Tour Week 8 in early October.

Fans and Tour stakeholders alike — many of them anonymous — took to Twitter and web chat rooms to pass judgement on the supposed decline of the Westcoast Classic. The venerable Vancouver tour stop suddenly went from a 32-team men’s event and a prize purse of $80,000 to an 18-team tournament with lesser dollars, and a prime culprit was singled out: The Stu Sells Toronto Tankard, which has risen in profile (and attractiveness for top teams) in only three years of operation.

Edmonton titan Kevin Martin still went west — winning his third straight title and seventh of the last 12 years, ho hum — but a handful of other western squads, such as Manitoba’s Mike McEwen, Jeff Stoughton and Rob Fowler, chose to fly east to compete in Toronto.

Another villain, according to some, is the guy in charge of the Ontario Curling Tour: Gerry Geurts. The curling dynamo has helped build the attractiveness of the Tankard and other OCT events to the point that the same amount of Canadian Team Ranking Points (CTRS) are available in Toronto and at other OCT events as can be grabbed in other, more established WCT events — like Vancouver.

Despite the barbs that were traded in the social media space between team representatives hopefully this is something that will stabilize given Rogers Sportsnet ownership of the series. A dependable and healthy Grand Slam series is important for the sport, and hopefully it can seamlessly co-exist with other events, whether it be the Ontario Curling Tour or otherwise.
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