'Road to the Roar'

November 9, 2009

Starting this week is the ‘2010 Road to the Roar’ Olympic Curling Pre-Qualifier. Or, in layman’s terms, the tournament that will determine which 4 teams will round out the field at the Canadian Olympic Trials in December.

It’s certainly quite the approach that the CCA is using to determine our Men’s and Women’s Olympic Representatives. Trying to explain it all in detail would give me a headache, but the Coles Notes version sees:

  • The Top 4 ranked teams proceed directly to the ‘Roar of the Rings’.
  • The next 12 are placed in the ‘Road to the Roar’ event, a triple-knockout playdown.
  • At the ‘Road to the Roar’ the Top 4 teams in THAT event (Ranked 5-8 overall) get a bye past the first round.
  • They then meet the winners of the 5-12 games (or the 8 to 16 overall teams), proceeding through the triple-knockout bracket.
  • From the ‘Road to the Roar’, 4 teams advance to join the previously qualified 4 teams at the ‘Roar of the Rings’.
Got all that? No? Don't blame you.....Cause its flippin’ retarded…don’t even get me started on how the teams were ranked in the first place.

Adding to the logistical nightmares, by the time this process plays itself out, the Curling teams will be the named a scant 2 months before the games begin. As of right now, that means you have 32 possible teams x 4 athletes each = 128 potential Olympians. Of that 128, 8 will go…for a rate of 6.25%.

All this was implemented ostensibly to ensure that the ‘best’ team from Canada is given the opportunity to represent us. However, if you look back at the historical winners (’98 Mike Harris, ’06 Gushue, ’06 Kleibrink), any team can win this on any given day. It’s really a crapshoot.

I guess the good news in this long drawn-out process is that at least there will be a tonne of meaningful curling on TV. For the ‘Road to the Roar’, TSN will have the following:

3:30 EST – Women’s A Final
9:30 EST – Men’s A Final

4:00 EST – Women’s B Final
9:30 EST – Men’s B Final

1:00 EST – Men’s/Women’s C1 Final
8:00 EST – Men’s/Women’s C2 Final

For those of you unfamiliar with the way knockout tournaments work, for each of those finals, the winner will qualify for the ‘Roar of the Rings’, with the loser either playing on, or being out in the case of the Saturday Finals.

Going in, the qualifiers on the Men’s side are:

‘Roar of the Rings’ Qualified:
Kevin Martin
Glenn Howard
Kevin Koe
Randy Ferbey

‘Road to the Roar’ Qualified:
Kerry Burtnyk
Pat Simmons
Jeff Stoughton
Wayne Middaugh
Brad Gushue
Mike McEwen
Joel Jordison
Bob Ursel
Jean-Michel Menard
Ted Appelman
Greg McAulay
Jason Gunnlaugson

If you asked me to make my call right now, I’d say my 4 picks to get out of the ‘Road’ are Gushue, Menard, Stoughton and Ursel. Overall, its probably down to Howard or Martin as the favorites to take the Maple Leaf into Vancouver.

I suppose I’m happy whoever it is, as long as they win gold….but through this whole process….I think my mantra will be ‘Anybody But Ferbey’. Can’t stand that guy….

On the women’s side:

‘Roar of the Rings’ Qualified:
Jennifer Jones
Shannon Kleibrink
Cheryl Bernard
Stefanie Lawton

‘Road to the Roar’ Qualified:
Kelly Scott
Sherry Anderson
Amber Holland
Sherry Middaugh
Marie-France Larouche
Michelle Englot
Heather Rankin
Krista McCarville
Cathy King
Eve Belisle
Crystal Webster

The women’s side is a bit tougher call in terms of who I think will get out…the field is much more wide open compared to the men’s. On the spot, I’d say Scott, Middaugh, King and McCarville move on. Overall, I’m hoping for Jennifer Jones, but any of the ‘Pre-Qualified’ teams I’m OK with. As on the Men’s Side…It's more about who I don't want there than who I do.....Here, I’m adopting the tagline ‘Anybody But Kelly Scott’…

Although I’ll be keeping up with this over the week, I’m not going to attempt to reproduce the tournament bracket. Consequently, I suggest you follow along at the following links:
Official Site
Men's Bracket
Women's Bracket


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This blog is the online chronicle of our adventures leading up to, and including, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. We hope to give you a little insight into what went into planning our trip and a first hand look at the Games from the ground in Vancouver.

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