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New West preview and a little Nolan rant

Posted: October 02, 2012

New West Preview

New West is up this weekend. Easily one of the best events on tour year after year with first class volunteers who year after year look after us players. This is the seventh consecutive year for Team Koe to be attending New West and I hope it continues. This year there are only 18 teams and is being ran similar to the Grand Slams in that it will be three pools of six, round robin format (I’ll get to that soon). First here is the breakdown of our pool:

Game 1 vs Steve Laycock; we played Steve’s team in the B qualifier in Saskatoon and drew the button to win after being tied up coming home. Real good team and I’d say this is an even better team than Steve had last year so this will be a formidable foe.

Game 2 vs Dave Nedohin; this is our first crack against this new team. Dave is one of the best fourth rock tossers in the history of the game so will be a battle for sure. Hopefully we can make it tough on him all night long.

Game 3 vs Brendan Bottcher; defending World Junior Mens Champ, playing with ish defending CIS Championship squad. Trying to make it on the tour coming out of juniors is always a chore but these guys can play for sure.

Game 4 vs Jay Wakefield; hometown team who knows the surroundings and the rocks very well so we’ll have to be sharp here.

Game 5 vs Sean Geall; the old Koe-killer. We’ve had our issues over the past seven years with Geall, most famously Blakes son Spencer used to ask him if Geall was in the event and if they were he’d say we have no chance. We are hoping to try to level the score here a little bit with Sean (that or be 4-0 going into this game and only playing for position in the playoffs!)

The WCT Battle

Not sure who of you out there follows Ben Hebert or CurlingZone (Gerry Geurts) on twitter but they had a nice little discussion today about the Stu Sells Tankard and New West being on the same weekend. Gerry’s argument is that BC teams are not filling up this event so that is why New West has went from 32 teams as soon as two years ago to 18 this year. He says that it is not Toronto’s fault. I agree with that logic but also disagree and do not think that was Ben’s point. Although the BC teams are not showing up to play in New West like they used to I think the bigger issue is that they are putting two significant events on the same weekend. This has been an issue for years as events have struggled to find a good weekend to run and their concerns have fallen on deaf ears at the WCT (I was on the board for one year I am no better). I understand that getting volunteers, the facility etc to commit to a weekend is not easy so finding one that works on their end is first and foremost. But in order for events to survive they also need teams and putting two large events on the same weekend splits teams up and there are just not enough players who tour anymore to support two events on the same weekend of that size.

I did a quick look at the past four years of WCT events. ’09/10, ’10/11 had 15 events with a first prize of $12,000 or more, ’11/12 had 14 of these events and ’12/13 has 13 (decreasing number which is sad). I also looked at number of weekends that make up a WCT year. From Sept 15 to Dec 15 there are about 13 weekends (I removed one for the Canada Cup which nobody will compete with). I included three more in January (nobody will compete with Skins Game) and four more in March / April after Provincials and the Brier are done (removing two weeks for the World Mens). So that leaves about 20 weekends in which WCT events can be run.

So if we have 20 weekends and only 13 events with greater than $12,000 purse why are we putting two of them on the same weekend? What is the point of them competing?

If Toronto was next weekend do you think that Stoughton, McEwen, Fowler, Epping, Howard etc would not come to Vancouver this weekend for an event with 35-40 CTRS points to win and a purse of upwards of $60,000? If Toronto was next weekend do you think that us, Martin, Laycock, Nedohin, Lyburn wouldn’t go out to Toronto for an event with 35-40 CTRS points to win and a purse of upwards of $50,000? If Toronto moved to next weekend would all of the Ontario teams other than the top 10 not show up? Doubtful. If these events were on non-competing weekends would it not be more likely that they each could be 32 team events as opposed to an 18 and 24 team event on the same weekend?

Gerry made a comment to Ben that two spiels five hours apart shouldn’t really have to compete for teams, they should both be able to fill. What about the teams that are 2 - 2.5 hours to each? They have to chose do they not? Making these teams chose ends up with one event losing out and could be fatal for the loser, which judging by the numbers above is not good, there are not enough to go around anymore.

I have also heard the argument that making sure that all of the top 15 teams come to your spiel is a good way to kill it as well. The next 10-15 teams feel as though they wouldn’t be able to qualify. That holds some merit. It is very good for the sport in general when there is some turnover in qualifiers year over year and everyone feels as though they have a chance. But is it worth losing one of the best events on tour for the past ten years so that all of those teams are happy? Is that not what the OCT has so successfully done in making smaller events that lower seeded teams have a better chance of qualifying at, enabling them to accumulate money and CTRS points, and therefore make them more likely to continue to compete and get better? I don’t see how that argument holds weight when you are comparing larger big purse events, it is apples and oranges? Big purse events are there for the best of the best to all meet and compete, the second level is there for the teams with less seasoning to compete and get better before they make a run at the higher end teams. These are two different types of events.

All in all there is an alarming trend of decreasing big purse events and making two of them compete on the same weekend is only going to be fatal for one of them. Let’s all hope that New West is not a casualty of this and that it is back in ’13/14 with more teams and stronger than ever.

- Nolan


Nolan thiessen - Hey Scott thanks for the comments. rnrnPs I am in Mexico enjoying a vacation with my family so haven’t been paying attention to the site. I welcome any opinion on all aspects of this topic. Never in this blog was I exclusively saying to protect the "elite 8" I was trying to protect the tour events as a whole. rnrnLook forward to discussing this in Branford.rnrnClass it up though and talk like adults. Everyone else’s discussion is very honest and straight forward. Nobody is making personal attacks.
Posted: October 15, 2012

Scott - What are you guys pussies to put my comment up here on your wanna talk shit about so-called B teams.....what is your team doing for the sport or development? Quit your bitchin’ then.....nothing but a bunch of punks you are!! And I will let you know when you come to Brantford face to face!!
Posted: October 14, 2012

Scott - now I have to be submitted for approval with an elite comment from a so-called B player!!
Posted: October 13, 2012

Scott - Well thought out but for years this has been an issue with myself that is why I have packed it in as far as competitive curling goes cause it has not been fair for the so-called B level curler that could easily make the so-called A events but they have this absurd strength of field multiplier that is NOT fair cause for every dollar I make , I get 1 point, and for every dollar you make , you get 3 points (all hypothetically speaking) so for years it has been a waste of time for so-called b level teams to even play in these events but take a team like Mark Kean that has respectfully beat most of the elite 8 ( or the golden boys club should I say!) and has got nothing for it, so its time for these so-called elite 8 to open up their eyes and realize that there are other players in the country that can play at that elite level and when they (elite 8) get beat by these so-called b teams they bitch and cry and call them chumps and who are they, they have NO business beating us!! I have heard it from so many of the so-called elite 8 and I hate it! Howard is the only team to realize that Ontario teams can play so why would he travel and pay thousands towards a spiel 4 or 5 hour plane ride away or go down the street and make very good money but this time he didnt even qualify! So get rid of the strength of field multiplier, get rid of the so-called A events and the so-called B events and the stupid SOFM cause if I beat the likes of Martin or a s0-called elite 8 I should get awarded 10 points cause we are not supposed to be good enough to beat these guys!! Try doing something for the sport all you elite 8 and recognize that you can be beat now and make room for the development of curling as opposed to just thinking about yourselves!!!rnrnCheersrnThe So-called FanrnrnPS Erase everything and go out and play for god\’s sake and quit blaming a guy like geurts for trying to make the sport better!
Posted: October 13, 2012

Jay from Michigan - As always, very insightful and interesting commentary, Nolan. Thanks. Just out of curiosity, do you think Team Koe would ever come to the States to compete in an event (other than Men’s Worlds)...???
Posted: October 10, 2012

joanne - Excellent post. Great number crunching and logic. Now I hope the powers that be read this and think this through. On a positive note, I was in the audience watching the skins game and listening to all those excited juniors tonight. They know all of the players and key game histories! They were spewing stats as if it was baseball or hockey! You are an inspiration to them! Have a great weekend.
Posted: October 4, 2012

Reid Carruthers - Well thought out post Nolan
Posted: October 2, 2012

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