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Sports with Patrick Townes, Springwater and area

Diverse group of kids playing soccer.

Both Ontario Curling and Canada Curling faced very tough decisions over the past couple weeks.  Due to Covid, the organizations and their representatives were forced to select a women’s team to represent Ontario at the Scotties and to select a mixed-doubles team to represent Canada at the upcoming Olympics.  Before the recent Covid rules came into effect, I was sitting with my mom and dad and told them no matter what decision is made; it is going to be a contentious one and potentially a wrong decision in the eyes of many.  This would not be an easy position for representatives from these organizations to be in, but, at the end of the day, a decision had to be made.

Whenever organizations like this are faced with a tough decision, they should be thinking and brainstorming ways to take the “heat off” them when a final decision is rendered.  Curling Canada had already been taking heat from pretty much all the men’s and women’s teams when they decided to implement new rules on a trial basis at the Canadian championships.  This included changes to the time clock rule where time would be kept per end and not during the whole course of a game, and implementing the no tick shot if a rock was touching the centre line in the last end.  Teams were beyond furious that these rules would be used for the first time in final championship bonspiels before they were tested at the league or bonspiels level first.

So onward to the decisions that were made on the issues above.  Firstly, Ontario selected Team Homan to represent Ontario at the Scotties.  But wait, this decision was conditional on whether Rachel Homan qualified for the mixed-doubles event at the Olympics.  If Homan was selected for the Olympics, then Holly Duncan’s team would represent Ontario and the Scotties, leaving the three remaining players on Homan’s team high and dry.  This decision was off base to say the least.  If you are selecting Homan’s team, it should not matter who is attending.  Teams have extra players for a reason, and especially during these unique times players may get sick or may not be able to attend anyway.  Because a team is missing one player (potentially missing one player) is no reason to make a conditional selection.  It was not fair to Homan, her team, or Holly Duncan to be put into this scenario.

So indeed Homan was selected for the Olympics and Holly Duncan was “selected” to represent Ontario at the Scotties.  All the while when this was going on, the Scotties found themselves in a predicament.  Both the teams of Chelsey Carey and Tracy Horgan were on the outside looking in for the last wildcard spot.  It seemed that the organizing committee was not ready to make a decision on this last selection and time went on without anyone knowing who would be filling the last spot.  Another contentious decision loomed.  So what was the decision? A decision was made to expand the number of teams that would compete at the Scotties by three, so that Homan, Carey and Horgan could all participate.  What a whirlwind of decision making.  And now you have more teams participating in an event when Covid could be a large issue.

Lastly, to Canada’s decision to select a mixed-doubles team — a selection committee was to choose a team to represent Canada, just after Brad Gushue and Jennifer Jones went through the battle to advance to the Olympics.  This decision would be the toughest.  In the end it was John Morris and Rachel Homan who were selected.  Another decision met with very strong criticism from other mixed-doubles teams.  Teams near the top of the points standings who played over 170 mixed doubles games over the season were left dumbfounded when they found out they did not even stand a chance of making the Olympics based on the criteria and weighting system that was used.  This system included past international and Olympic experience, both of which Homan and Morris have.  However, this was too heavily weighted and, at the end of the day, it was only really Homan and Morris who would meet the criteria, rather than a mixed-doubles team who had prepared for the last 4 years to get to the Olympics.  Essentially, if you had not been to the Olympics before (which only happens every four years) you did not have a chance.  Four years wasted?

Now back to the main point here — how could all of this pressure been taken off the selection committees?  The answer is easy.  Curling is continually looking at ways to grow the game and looking for ways to get and keep fans involved.  Strategies are being investigated to eliminate blank ends to make each end more exciting for fans, and game lengths are being shortened so fans are able to watch a whole eight end game instead of ten ends.  What better way to get fans involved than to let them select who represented Ontario and Canada at the championships.  Teams could have taken to social media to try and get fans to vote for who would be chosen.  This would have been huge on television, the news, and on social media.  It would have been an easy way to take the pressure off who was selected, and let fans have a vested interest on who would be representing our Province and Country. An easy solution to a big problem!

 

IBL Announces Home Openers

The Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) today announced 2022 regular-season home openers for all 8 member teams.

The 168-game IBL regular season opens on Sunday, May 15 with action in Toronto as the Maple Leafs welcome the defending champion London Majors to Christie Pits. Opening Week action continues on Thursday, May 19 with two home openers followed by an additional two on Friday, May 20 and two others on Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22.

The entire 2022 Intercounty Baseball League regular-season schedule will be released on Thursday, January 13 at 10:00 am.

FULL LIST OF HOME OPENERS, 2022 SEASON:

Barrie Baycats: Thursday, May 19 vs. Toronto at 7:30 pm

Brantford Red Sox: Friday, May 20 vs. Hamilton at 8:00 pm

Guelph Royals: Saturday, May 21 vs. Toronto at 1:00 pm

Hamilton Cardinals: Sunday, May 22 vs. Guelph at 2:05 pm

Kitchener Panthers: Monday, May 23 vs. Barrie at 5:00 pm

London Majors: Friday, May 20 vs. Kitchener at 7:35 pm

Toronto Maple Leafs: Sunday, May 15 vs. London at 2:00 pm

Welland Jackfish: Thursday, May 19 vs. Brantford at 7:30 pm

The Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) is the top-level baseball league in Canada, boasting ex-major league professional and elite NCAA college baseball players. The 2022 season will mark the IBL’s 103rd in operation. The IBL is one of the longest continuously operated baseball leagues in the world and serves as a valuable training ground for coaches, umpires, and front office staff. More than 40 IBL players have advanced to Major League Baseball or returned to the IBL following their MLB careers. The league is comprised of teams from Barrie, Brantford, Kitchener, London, Toronto, Guelph, Welland, and Hamilton. For more information, visit www.theibl.ca

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