Thursday, January 21, 2021

Alberta curling bubble bursts amid continued COVID-19 restrictions

Alberta curling bubble bursts amid continued COVID-19 restrictions

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“They have to protect their volunteers, event organizing committee, athletes, umpires, staff and organization,” Bottcher continued. “Unfortunately, considering all of the stakeholders, it would have been increasingly tough to try and run an event in the midst of the pandemic. I am appreciative they came to this decision and we can all plan accordingly.

“I do think Curling Alberta made the right but difficult decision.”

Koe agreed, even though it’s not what the 20 teams who were slated to compete at the same time in the same venue — for the first time in Alberta — had envisioned.

“They were just forced by Alberta Health Services,” said the native of Yellowknife, NWT. “The restrictions that were going to be placed on the players, officials, icemakers and volunteers were a lot more strict than they thought they’d be when they applied. It’s nobody’s fault.

“Given it’s only two weeks away, it’s too tough to implement it all in time.”

The status of the remaining events on the provincial curling calendar remains unchanged.

And then there’s the matter of deciding representatives for the national championship given the cancellation of the Alberta playdowns.

Curling Alberta says the board will meet to determine those reps.

“We will be presented with a full range of indicators of merit to consider, as well as a summary of how Curling Canada’s other 13 Member Associations have chosen to select their own representatives,” added Richard, confirming the provincial association informed the curlers of the bubble cancellation during a Friday video conference.

“I know this is extremely difficult for everyone who was so hopeful for competition, including the athletes, our partners and our fans. We stay hopeful for a safe return to our sport soon.”

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