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by Jeff Timson, St Clair's Group.

Ottawa, ON, January 20, 2004

The Canadian Curling Association (CCA) today announced that it will provide some financial support to the winners of the upcoming Canadian Senior Men's and Women's Curling Championships, January 24-February 1 in Vernon, British Columbia in order to help send them to the World Seniors, which take place during the Ford Worlds, April 17-25 in Gävle, Sweden.

"Due to the recent announcement by the World Curling Federation (WCF) that it will create a qualification process to address the standard of play within the World Senior Championships, we have decided to continue our previous level of support to our representatives," said CCA president Don Petlak. "The WCF has indicated that, at its AGM in April, details will be unveiled about the establishment of an A and B pool system for the World Seniors, commencing in 2005. The A pool will likely be composed of the top six finishing countries from the previous year's event with a standard challenge opportunity being put in place for the lowest ranked A pool team (s) to be challenged by the top-ranked team (s) in the B pool."

At its Board meeting in June of last year, the CCA had announced Canada would not compete in the World Seniors because it felt there was no definitive qualification process for participating member nations, which in turn brought into question the integrity and calibre of the competition. The Board advised the WCF that until such time as a clear selection process by member nations was established for the World Seniors, Canada would not participate. The CCA also ensured that this decision was communicated to senior curlers across the country.

However, with the WCF's recent decision to create a standard qualification process, the CCA felt obligated to review its position and has agreed to reinstate its support to the Canadian representatives, which will be in the form of $4,000 to each team (of four players), in addition to national team jackets and shirts.

The WCF also confirmed that it will not be paying transportation costs for the teams competing in the 2004 World Seniors. Those costs will now be the responsibility of each member nation and/or the teams themselves. The CCA will consider additional support for its champions which qualify for the World Seniors when the event becomes restructured in 2005.

The inaugural version of the World Seniors was an international invitational competition in 2000 in Glasgow. Canada was invited to send one men's team and one women's team. Each team received $4,000 towards its national team jackets and airfares, a cost that was shared by the CCA and the Athlete Assistance Fund. Ontario's Bob Turcotte took the men's event, while Scotland's Kirsty Letton won the women's.

The first official World Seniors took place in 2002 in Bismarck, North Dakota and once again the CCA provided each of the two Canadian championship teams with $4,000 of support for travel and clothing. Ontario's Anne Dunn captured the women's crown, while Larry Johnson of North Dakota took the men's title.

The most recent World Senior Curling Championships took place last April in Winnipeg, Manitoba, once again staged in conjunction with the Ford Worlds. The CCA provided the same level of support to the 2003 teams which was given to the 2002 representatives, while the WCF paid airfares for the participants. Canada swept both competitions, as Alberta's Tom Reed captured the men's title, while Saskatchewan's Nancy Kerr won the women's.

Warren Hansen
Manager of Event Operations and Media
Canadian Curling Association
E-mail: warrenhansen@telus.net
Cell: 604-329-9850

Jeff Timson
Media Director
St. Clair Group
Tel/fax: 905-881-8322


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