York Urbanist

Archive for January, 2015

2015 Ontario Scotties As Economic Generator

January 29th, 2015

What do you think was the economic stimulus of the 2015 Ontario Scotties?  Description: Small venue, 10 teams of four women and a coach, capacity of 250 persons viewing… Dismiss not this valuable commodity.  Consider this:

The Total Economic Impact is comprised of Direct and Indirect expenditures. There are also Induced values.

IMG_00003040Direct Impacts result from expenditures by the organizing committee  and Ontario Curling Association. The expenditures include:

  • employment of staff
  • goods and services to run the event
  • provisions to volunteers and organizers

Indirect Impacts result from the expenditures by individual participants in the event such as volunteers (est. 75), players/coaches (50+), officials (15), families/friends of participants (100+), other visitors (150+) primarily spending on:

  • Hotels
  • Meals
  • Beverages
  • Transportation: fuel; maintenance; rental
  • other externalities

Induced Impacts results from the employees and local residents purchasing good and services during the event, external to normal purchasing. This is a difficult number to evaluate, but assumptions can be made that this event stimulates spending on things other than what happened at the Penetanguishene Curling Club.  The resulting profits from the event will further be expended to improve the Curling Club.  It is the Induced Impacts that warrant the Town’s encouragement to sports groups to be active. And what of the local, provincial and national media attention!!?? There were impacts of which no exact monetary value can be assigned.

To evaluate, consider the time over which planning and actual tournament operations occur.  The planning is one year for a 7-day event.

Travel Impact Industry General Weight
Accommodations 85%
Food Services 20%
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation 50%
Retail 5%
Ground Transportation 13%

Without getting into the evaluative details, 2015 Ontario Scotties generated over  $250,000 into the local economy.  This is not a minor economic generator for a small population centre.  The organizers are to be commended for their diligence and community spirit.  Take that to your councillors and area businesses.

If you desire further detail regarding the evaluation, you can contact Mark Inglis at [email protected]



January 25th, 2015

Katrina Collins received the OCA sportsmanship award voted by all the players. A richly deserved honour garnered an unexpectedly emotional reaction before the final round robin game. Perhaps it had an impact on the game which followed, the only loss for Team Hastings. Youngest teams Romain and Kee made statements that there is a new generation biting at the heels of the established Teams Middaugh and Hastings.

Penetang CC could not have been more obliging in their hospitality. The players were treated like royalty. Stories abound about the drivers who stopped at nothing to help these athletes. They stayed past 3am on Saturday morning to escort home the weary party-goers. The athletes loved the one-man band, and the treats in the locker rooms (we outsiders should not know about). The locker rooms, although tight became a place of refuge from the crowds of fans one storey up.

OCA listens – An open meeting allowed the curling fraternity to have a say in how competitions can be enhanced. The women of the sport want to see a larger venue. Notwithstanding the warmth and generosity of Penetang CC, they could have sold more seats. Ticket issuing became one of its biggest challenges. There was agreement from those whom I interviewed that the event needs a comprehensive business plan to warrant an arena. Enough said… they listened.

Media censorship? – This column was never edited. The committee took a chance that I would fairly report what happened during the 2015 Ontario Scotties, and behind the scenes, it was something special.

Words at the Scotties

January 24th, 2015

Blackshirts – Look for one of those identifiable volunteers wearing one when you need something. They deliver.

Blanket People – The stalwarts on the edge of Ice 1 who have the fashion footwear booties peeking out from the grey blankets (available for $15). They are unidentifiable having covered the uppermost parts with scarves and toques.

Linesmen – Arrive earlier than one hour prior to the draw, and there they stand outside in a line, in the parking lot, in the cold with toques and scarves…. Not to be confused with Blanket People, because Linesmen want to be inside, behind the glass.

Local Heroes – These are variously the Blackshirts or ones with the last name Howard. Carly reporting on Curling Geek, Glenn on Rogers and SportsNet or Scott just there supporting curling.

Equity – The Scotties teams favored by the media to win are losing unexpectedly to up-and-comers… a sign that there are future stars in the teams at 3-6 and 4-5. Had the last game of the evening ended differently, there was a possibility that only one team would be out of the playoffs – a potential nightmare scenario for the Scotties organizers, averted when Team Harrison won a thriller over defending Team Flaxey.

Change – The OCA organized a discussion venue for change to the Scotties (and other event) playdowns. This is a new direction for OCA which was, until 2014, an unchanging Big Brother to curlers now under the guidance of Dale Curtis. No decisions made, but at least dialogue with the players it affects. Surprise witness to the event was Rachel Homan… important enough to arrive unannounced from Ottawa.


By The Numbers

January 23rd, 2015

20 ICYMI, Team Hastings was reported in Toronto Sun today that they have played together for over 20 years, having formed in 1994. “Our team,” (Julie Hastings) said, breaking into a grin, “has decided if we don’t get to the Scotties, we’ll make it to Senior Canadians.” Their chances are enhanced as they stand at the top of the leaderboard with a 7-0 record.

2 Age of Shannon Kee when Team Hastings formed. Kee is on a winning spree since vice Pam Feldkamp arrived… a tiebreaker is still a possibility.

3 Curlers on teams here who are Curling Club Managers or Assistants: Danielle Inglis; Janet Jesty-Murphy; Julie Hastings. Opportunities for practice abound.

1966 Sherry’s year of birth shows that there is nothing like experience to maintain second place at 6-1.

9-4 Score by Team Romain over Team Middaugh – youthful exuberance can sometimes counteract years of experience, as her team demonstrated in a steely win over veteran Sherry on Rogers. Two big wins over top teams keep them in contention.

3-4 Records – Whichever of Teams Romain, Kee or Grandy runs the table could force a tiebreaker or sneak into Saturday’s playoffs. Friday will prove to be an exciting day for teams down the list from the frontrunners.

1001 A seemingly endless supply of volunteers, almost half the town, are roaming the halls of PCC and streets of Penetang in their black jackets helping us find our way…. Thanks from a curling tourist.

Missing Persons – 2015 Ontario Scotties

January 22nd, 2015

The buzz at Penetanguishene, no the province, no the nation, no the world….is about Glenn Howard’s pending absence in the Tim Horton’s Brier. But how can that have any substance in the Women’s Ontario Scotties? Well, Glenn’s here. And he commanded a presence at the Lunch yesterday. This is Glenn’s club and he would not miss it I’m sure. Always a joiner and member of the Sports Hall of Fame, Glenn impressed at the OCA lunch, bringing his calm demeanor to an attentive crowd awaiting the sage advice from the master of many provincial championships.
This Scotties may be a tale of who’s not here. The individuals, that is. Team Kee is missing a (gulp) ‘key’ team member and vice, Pam Feldkamp. She arrives Wednesday. Meanwhile, Team Balsdon loses Laura Hickey today, bringing in Super-Sub Hollie Nicol, former World Universiade Silver medal skip. Team Varnes lost Erin Macauley after the regions, but picked up another McAuley and never looked back. Sherry Middaugh’s team has a replacement at lead, Lori Eddy, while Leigh Armstrong waits (with pending baby) on the sideline for an emergency call… to play that is…

Musings of a Curling Tourist – 2015 Ontario Scotties

January 22nd, 2015

Traffic Signals –Please tell me why I have to stop at every one of the five lights on the way back to the hotel from the Scotties? One of the lights seems to be a left turn advance into one of the many area Tim’s. The only explanation seems to be that Traffic Engineers have a mandate to control the 10-minute weekday rush period, only to adversely impact the weekend tourist… or is this a ploy to get me to stop for a donut?

Mike and Glenn – Penetanguishene Scotties landed two world renowns in the curling world to telecast Penetang Sherry’s game. Glenn once owned the provincial men’s Tankard and Mike is an Olympian and Sportsnet television host. Curiously (and based on behind-the-glass interviews), the television audience waits to see which of the superstars is going to be first to disparage the women’s strategy.

Sherry – The music world has its one named stars – Cher; Madonna; Drake… Well, Penetang is not to be outdone. The media has tracked her down and written and recorded every blond hair flip of the local curling wonder woman. Can she withstand the notoriety and raise her arms in victory on Sunday? Just for the record, there are 9 other skips: Shannon; Megan; Danielle; Allison; Clancy; Jaqueline; Julie; Caitlin; and, Rhonda.

Ontario Curling playdowns – the other events…

January 7th, 2015

Richard Hart has allayed all concerns that Team Howard has any bitter grapes by his post on http://www.curlingzone.com/showthread.php?s=0328a69a40dd7ed2625573281ca36dd8&forumid=&tp=0&sp=&postid=138098#post138098 .  He points to change in the management of Ontario Curling Association.  But Richard is a better player than most.  He has sons in bantams and juniors.  They also need change in playdown format.  Unequal zones lead to unequal results and sometimes lesser teams making provincials.  Illness or bereavement could prevent teams who have worked hard from becoming provincial champions.  Life lesson learned… but is it fair. We only need to look at the Olympic qualification process to find an answer.

A New Formula

OCT standings 2014Through four years of interstitial performances, the country can find the best qualified teams.  In Ontario, the period between September and December is a long enough period to establish the best we have in any of the events, seniors, juniors, masters, ladies and mixed. The period currently is two short weekends, many of which (zones) either have no entries or direct award. Ontario Curling Tour http://www.ontariocurlingtour.com/ and Ontario Junior Curling Tour http://ojct.ca/ each have systems in place to award points.  In a new system, the top two teams in those tours get direct entry.  OJCT events are hard to get into and therefore has not enough events, but watch it grow! OCT events usually fill, but those that do not, will find no difficulty in gaining teams.  Seniors also have competitions by which points may be gained – see TCA’s initiative https://www.torontocurling.com/circuit/ . TCA circuit But in my dream playdown structure, not only will the top two teams gain from points, but the teams with fewer points will have a leg up in the qualification for Regions.

Regional Playdowns

Having spent September through December playing in point-accumulating spiels, teams will enter the OCA competition with a reasonable fee for a two step process. The fees will be put toward hiring a designated and certified icemaker; consistent set of rocks; and a venue (arena or club facility) that evokes the credibility of the event it hosts. The points gained in spiels will seed the teams in the triple knock-out draw for 16-teams per 4 regions.  A team must consist of members of OCA, but no club specific designation need be made, except to receive a banner at the end of the Regions.  Once the 16-team field is filled in one region, then openings in other regions are available to latecomers or lower points earners. The Benefits:

  • Consistency: of ice; of play; of venue
  • Marketing Potential to build this sport that is starting to rival hockey on the airwaves;
  • Revenue producing for a club (such as Ingersoll and Penetanguishene for 2015 provincials) who can prepare, knowing how many teams are arriving;
  • Investment of Time by players, who know that the risk of illness will not put them out of competition – a healthy leap of qualified athletes in the sport of curling.
  • Pride in five distinct events (4 regions, 1 provincial per age/gender group)

Events Rationalized

Mixed Doubles: Is trending hard but still in the trial stages. The challenge is on the list, but it could follow the formula above.  ADD

MD-Fri-Howard-Bobbie-Makichuk-resized[1] Colts has had its day.  It has become the event that was intended for middle range competitors, but resulted in losers from the Tankard or Provincial Seniors who could somehow wipe away tears. ELIMINATE

Challenge Rounds: No longer needed! Hooray!   ELIMINATE

Gore Mutual Schoolboys/girls:  What is this if not the Ontario Federation of Secondary Schools Association playdowns.  ELIMINATE.

Imagine the costs saved by clubs that give up their ice time for sometimes non-existent Zones.  One less tier of events for OCA will allow that cost to be put into the more important Regions. Costs and family time saved by players who no longer enter a zone event that could have 16 teams or none. And perhaps, the officials could get a small stipend and costs.

In addition to provincial change, check out my suggested national changes http://yorkurbanist.com/2015/02/03/brier-championships-alternative-format/

Ontario Curling Playdowns

January 5th, 2015

Given the result of Region 3, Howard is out of provincial playdowns, perhaps this will be the impetus needed to move OCA to change not only the Tankard but all the other events which have lost relevance.  Only then can we see more enthusiasm from the Ontario contingent of players.  The problem currently:

  • poor venues for zones and regions
  • uneven numbers of teams in zones (and even Scotties Regions in 2015)
  • participation is shrinking (no chance to win, or is it inconvenience of playdowns?)
  • overlapping events, e.g. one event’s zones may conflict with another’s regions.
  • paying a second OCA fee for parachuting to a zone in which not all players are members of the club system.
  • Olympic year impedance to schedules.

996707_10202680598075595_923519407_n Here are some suggestions:

  • Return the defending team (minimum 3 players from the returning team);
  • Three tiers of bonspiels, established from the OCT/WCT from which teams can earn points toward entry. Top 3 teams in the point system get direct entry;
  • Four regional playdowns, not based on club locations, but on player preferences, and all held on the same weekend. Maximum 16 teams in each region. If one region is full, then teams may relocate dependent on their time of entry.  Top two from each region qualify.

By allowing bonspiels to be eligible for points, entries/demand will increase.  This could translate into more spiels and more curlers in Ontario. By having regions on one weekend, there is a fairness of entry.  Assign four quality ice makers to each venue to ensure comparable and good ice. Three tiers of spiels could belogo

  1. WCT event results;
  2. OCT event results, within which the results are dependent on depth of field and numbers; and
  3. Other events including other age groups.  OJCT has already got a system of ranking that works.

Play the provincials at a venue that bids based on the quality of facility and in anticipation of a realistic number of spectators. Calgary club ice and rock

Hottest Sport – NYC curling

January 1st, 2015


The hottest sport in NYC this winter: curling

Unique Curling Programs

January 1st, 2015
Curling, Recreation

Has your club got a program that attracted an unexpectedly large number of participants, spectators or cash?

We would like to know about it. You may even get published!

Email: [email protected] ; or  Tweet to @yorkurbanist ; or FaceBook Mark Inglis

You have less than a month to share.


images[8]  Here are some page references: