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Friday, November 15, 2013

Residency and a 5th man for Martin

John Morris skipped his new team to an Olympic Trial qualifier.  He's also now become the topic of some discussion over a ruling made a few months ago.  John is allowed to particpate in the BC playdowns, depsite his primary residence in Alberta.  A new detailed policy was released by the CCA this past summer (find a copy in this thread).  Not certain how the ruling of a province is taken into account, but by the CCA policy, the following applies:

 To that end it has been agreed that an individual must provide a minimum of three of the following five items to the Member Association (if requested) whose playdown structure they wish to enter:

** Current Drivers License from that province/territory
** Current Health Care Card from that province/territory
** Letter from employer confirming employment within the province/territory
** Statement from landlord (if renting) or bank (if owned) confirming residency within the province/territory – a copy of a property tax invoice/payment for non-mortgaged property is also adequate
** Valid picture ID required for travel purposes if the individual does not have a valid driver’s license

John is not the first non-resident resident to compete in playdowns, and will certainly not be the last.  The exposure on this ruling has many people on the Curlingzone forums arguing/discussing/trolling about the fairness of this decision.  Many are opposed and extoll the history of the Brier and its sacred Purple Heart as a symbol of true provincial victory.  Others see it as no big deal, 3 out of 4 or 75% of a team being provincial isn't bad, is it?  Alberta/BC/Sask borders have long been adjusted for Brier playdowns.  Players in BC play in Alberta and players living in Alberta play in Saskatchewan (or maybe it's the opposite, in any case there is some overlap of territory).

With CTRS and ultimately Olympic Trials qualifier points given for Brier and Worlds it seems contrary to fair competition that some teams (those with 4 residents) have an opportunity to gain points when other teams cannot. Is it reasonable to assume that the best representative of Canada, be it at Worlds or Olympics, would come from the same town/province?  

With relegation and Team Canada in 2015, the Brier is changing.  Its become too big and too political to do anything else.  I'm not sure how to defend either side to this argument.  I like history and I don't like it changing for the worse.  Instant replay in baseball seems like a problem, but if its incorporated properly it may come as a minor element that actually improves the game.  I'm a realist and a sentimentalist, often these two philosophies clash.

The Brier is still the biggest there is.  It's still Alberta vs Saskatchewan, Ontario vs Manitoba.  John playing in BC or Pat Simmons in Alberta doesn't change that feeling for the average fan and it likely doesn't greatly impact other teams chances at their local provincials.  Cotter's team is good enough to get out of BC without Morris.  

Isn't the idea of playing for your home club/town/province more for little league anyway?  Grown men who are raised playing basketball in LA don't necessarily play for the Lakers.  Maybe provinces should start to recruit players in an attempt to be more competitive.  PEI could set Mike McEwen up with a nice cottage on the water and a part time job at the local pub.  With relegation, this might become necessary to even participate in (the round-robin portion of) the Brier.  I know, you are shaking your head but pause and think about it one more time.... it could happen.

Now, if we start to see 4 young kids from Manitoba take "residence" in the Yukon, maybe people will become more vocal about this behaviour and things will change.  For now, the average fan could care a less if their provincial rep has a single mail-order player on their squad. The players involved will have their own feelings and if John Morris should wear a Purple Heart from his third province, he'll know if it feels any different than the ones from Alberta and Ontario.

The 5th Man

After losing the last qualifier spot to Brad Jacobs, 2006 Gold medal winner Brad Gushue will be the 5th man for Team Kevin Martin at the upcoming Roar of the Rings. If this means that he won't be able to compete in Provincials or the Brier should they win the Olympic spot, then it's possibly a poor decision.  Brad has a young developing team and it would be disappointing not to have them gain more experience together and possibly make a run in Kamloops.  If he is able to play in the Brier, then it's a great opportunity to learn and gain experience from seeing how Kevin Martin (and David, Marc and Ben) go about their business.  Some part of this decision feels detrimental to Brad's team, but if the commitment doesn't challenge their schedule, it could be better for them in the long run.

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