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World Women’s Curling Championships back to 13 team draw

I was thinking about writing a very short column this week and explaining the time I usually wrote the column was the hour we lost Saturday night.

But I didn’t think that excuse would work, so I won’t use it. Besides, if I tried that excuse now, my editor would expect a column twice as long as normal when we switch the clocks back in the fall.

So what I will do is talk curling, and how the World Women’s Championship went from being a 13-team event to be held at CN Centre starting Saturday, to a 12-team event, and back to a 13-team event.

Basically, until the middle of February, the championship was going to be a 13-team event including the Russian Curling Federation. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the World Curling Federation passed an emergency regulation allowing it to remove a team from a championship if it was felt their presence “would damage the event or put the safety of the participants or the good order of the event at risk.”

That resolution was passed, and the RCF team was removed from the competition. That was when things got a bit confusing for me and, I’m sure, others.

The championship is a round-robin to start with, followed by the top six teams advancing to the playoffs.

The original 13-team round-robin draw had been posted for some time on the Curling Canada site for the championship. When the RCF was removed, I suspected they would simply give the other teams byes for the games they were supposed to play the RCF. The schedule wouldn’t have to be juggled, and everything would be great.

A friend of mine pointed out one problem with that. If the only game a team was scheduled to play one day was the one against the RCF, they would end up with a day off. To add to my confusion (which isn’t all that hard to do), the letters ‘RCF’ had been taken off the draw, replaced by ‘TBC’, with no explanation of what ‘TBC’ stood for.

As it turns out, apparently ‘TBC’ stands for ‘To Be Confirmed’. After the expulsion of th RCF team, the World Curling Federation went down the list of the teams from the World Qualifying Event who hadn’t made it into the top two. First up was Latvia, who could not commit to coming. Finland? Same thing.

The Czech Republic, however, was able to make it, so when the teams start the first draw of the 2022 World Women’s Curling Championship at 2 p.m. Saturday, they’ll be on Sheet C at CN Centre – the team skipped by Alžběta Baudyšová.

Of course, most of the fans at the opening draw will be focused on Sheet A, where Kerri Einarson and the rest of Team Canada finally get to curl in the World Women’s Championships as the home country favourites.

In 2020, as most people know, the event was cancelled the day before it was scheduled to start, and Team Einarson lost the chance to compete for a world title on Canadian ice. Last year, they did compete at the championships, but they were held in the bubble in Calgary, with no fans.
This time, they’re on Canadian ice, in front of cheering fans. It’s been a long wait, but it will be worth it when they come out for that first draw and hear the fans.

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