COVID-19 guidelines cancel Regina men's curling event
REGINA -- The Saskatchewan Men’s Curling Tour at the Highland Curling Club in Regina, which was set to take place this weekend, has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Twenty four curling teams were prepared to play in the event, involving almost 100 curlers.
The rinks were notified Thursday evening the competition had been cancelled.
“We were under the impression this was all approved and good to go,” said Braeden Moskowy, who plays third for Team Matt Dunstone.
In a statement, CURLSASK said, “The decision was reached based on the advice of the Government of Saskatchewan’s Business Response Team and the recent increases in COVID-19 cases.”
In a letter sent out by the Saskatchewan Curlers Players Association to participants notifying them of the cancellation, players were told the maximum number of curlers permitted for an event is 50.
“We do want to promote the concept of mini-leagues where you have a limited number of people maybe up to 50 playing locally with a limited number of teams, not making it into a bigger tournament where people are travelling from all over,” said Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab.
Shahab added the socialization factor at curling competitions played into the decision, as players typically gather before and after to socialize.
Two weeks ago a similar women’s event, the Sask Women’s Curling tour, proceeded with 19 teams and 76 athletes. The event was cancelled midway through precaution after the host, the Highland Curling Club, was notified that a week before the competition, someone attending the club had tested positive for COVID-19.
“There’s just too many inconsistencies, and double standards we feel and that’s 100 per cent where the frustrating stems from,” said skip, Matt Dunstone.
Many curlers took to social media to air their frustration. The Saskatchewan Health Authority’s guidelines approved a return to sport plan for hockey and curling which includes four teams competing in a mini-league, which can reach numbers as high as 80 participants in a full-contact sport.
Curlers adjusted rules to accommodate for physical distancing, like using only one sweeper, and not sweeping the opponents rocks behind the “T-line”.
“Hockey leagues that are more professional have been given a staged approach, but nothing is set in stone, if case numbers rise that will be revised,” Shahab said.
Saskatchewan curlers aren’t allowed to leave the province to compete in other competition currently. Team Dunstone is considering all options for meaningful training and competition, like moving to Alberta.
“Getting a place in Calgary or wherever it might be and shacking up there for the winter for the season is pretty much our last resort at this point,” Moskowy explained.
“Outside of the province we do believe that there is a little more leway to play and better opportunity,” said Dunstone, who lives in Kamloops, BC, and travelled to Saskatchewan to play in the cancelled event.
Dunstone placed third at last year’s Brier competition, and has their sights set up the upcoming 2022 Olympic Games in China.