Thunder Bay – SPORTS – The Board of Directors for the Northern Ontario Curling Association set their wants aside and voted their conscience Thursday night citing the importance during these times of crisis, to comply with the recommendations of government and public health officials who have requested society’s collective aid in the battle against COVID-19.
As a result, NOCA, a member association of Curling Canada, opted to cancel all competitions for the 2020-21 curling season until further notice. To their knowledge, this will represent the first time that a provincial championship has not been held in the organization’s history, spanning back to the first Brier in 1927.
The specifics of each decision are as follows:
For Curling Canada events proposed to be taking place in a bubble (Brier, Tournament of Hearts, Mixed Doubles), NOCA will determine its representatives by using the results of the most recently completed competition in each category.
Invitations were extended first to the defending champions with Team Jacobs (Men, Community First Curling Centre) and Team Bonot/Won (Mixed Doubles, Port Arthur Curling Club) having already accepted; while Team McCarville (Women, Fort William Curling Club) is presently deliberating due to travel restrictions.
For Curling Canada events proposed to be taking place in the fall of 2021, AND where NOCA was able to complete a provincial championship in 2020 (Seniors and Masters), NOCA will determine its representatives by using the results of the most recently completed competitions in each category.
This means that invitations will soon be sent first to defending champions Team Desilets (Senior Men, Fort William Curling Club), Team Szajewski (Senior Women, Keewatin Curling Club), Team Hackner (Masters Men, Idylwylde Golf and Country Club), and Team Saarimaki (Masters Women, Geraldton & Port Arthur Curling Clubs).
For Curling Canada events proposed to be taking place as usual in the fall of 2021, AND where NOCA was NOT able to complete a provincial championship in 2020 (Mixed and Club Championships), NOCA will tentatively schedule provincial championships for the fall of 2021 (format to be determined).
This means that teams can expect to see the return of playdown events within the year.
For provincial championships not leading to a Curling Canada event in 2021 due to its cancellation as a result of COVID-19 (U15, U18, U21 and Wheelchair), NOCA is cancelling competitions until further notice.
This means that the next team to represent Northern Ontario at a national youth curling championship will not be determined until 2022. If an opportunity arises to host a provincial championship (that does not advance to a national championship), or a youth competition of any sort (including alternative and virtual formats) that can be delivered safely and responsibly before the end of the present curling season, such will be considered on an ongoing basis.