Curling Alberta cancels provincial championships
'I'm definitely of the view that the event should not happen,' says skip Kevin Koe
A day after top curlers in Alberta expressed their concern to CBC Sports about holding a provincial championship in Sylvan Lake at the end of January, Alberta Curling has cancelled the event.
On Thursday, Brendan Bottcher, Kevin Koe and Laura Walker sounded off on the event, saying they did not feel it should go forward considering all of the questions around safety protocols.
Curlers found out about the Curling Alberta decision during a player's video conference call with the provincial sport governing body on Friday afternoon.
Sources close to the proceedings say Curling Alberta met with Alberta Health Services on Thursday. They said part of AHS's guidelines included a strict seven-day isolation for everyone attending the event, which did not seem doable with the tight timelines.
Curlers had been asked to begin a "soft quarantine" this Sunday.
The event was originally scheduled to take place in Sylvan Lake starting on Jan. 25 and finishing on Jan. 31. This was the first time in Alberta curling history both the men's and women's events were going to be held at the same time.
Curl B.C. also cancels provincial championship
Alberta Curling has yet to indicate to the curlers who would represent the province at this year's Scotties and Brier.
This all comes just hours after Curl B.C. cancelled its provincial championship due to concerns over player safety.
That means last year's champions, Corryn Brown and Steve Laycock, will represent British Columbia at the Scotties and Brier, respectively.
Manitoba, Northern Ontario and Ontario have already cancelled their provincials and selected last year's winners to attend the Scotties and Brier.
Saskatchewan officials are still waiting to see what the government does in terms of restrictions, which will happen early next week.
On Thursday, Koe, who led the Team Canada rink at last year's Brier in Kingston, Ont., said he did not feel comfortable taking part in provincial playdowns.
"I'm definitely of the view that the event should not happen," skip Kevin Koe told CBC Sports.
"The biggest concern has to be the safety of the players, officials and public. We're in Alberta. It's not news that it's one of the worst provinces going these days COVID-wise."
There are six major curling events planned for the Calgary curling bubble starting with the Scotties on Feb. 20. That will then lead into the men's national championship beginning of Mar. 5.
Following these two events, the mixed doubles championship will take place all leading to the men's world curling championship, set to begin in early April.
The final two events held inside the bubble include two Grand Slam of Curling bonspiels.