Curling Canada under fire over limiting eligibility for pregnancy exemptions

residence rules. exemption from pregnancy. Confusion, doubt, anger.

Curling Canada’s news release was intended to confirm the draw for the national women’s championship, instead sparking debate about inclusivity, equality and options for teams with pregnant players.

Prominent curlers across the country this week ordered the national sports organization to create language and a waiver that would only allow the top five ranked teams to apply.

Questions about the rules and some sharp criticism began to come in when the fourth-place team was able to bring in out-of-state free agents to replace players whose deadlines were looming.

Casey Scheidegger, one of three wildcard entrants to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and No. 6 in the world, said: “This rule seems to favor only the Canadian elite, I am a little disappointed,” he said.


Scheidegger and her sister, Jessie Houhan, are pregnant and due in June.

However, the Alberta-based team was not in the top five and, per federation rules, was ineligible to apply for the same exemption given to the skipped team by ranked No. 4 Kaitlyn Laws. .

“We were also sixth and didn’t know anything about it and just found out yesterday, I think it was interesting to see the announcement,” Scheidegger told the Canadian Press on Wednesday. “Obviously, I think the most obvious thing about this rule is that it looks unequal.”

Her sister also spoke out on Twitter.

“Which position/standing of the CTRS are you confused about? [rankings] It has to do with this,” Hawiyan said in the post. “A pregnancy is a pregnancy.”

A team that already has an import player in Manitoba’s Kate Hogan has made plans to add Kristi Moore as a replacement. I play for the team several times a season.

Houang experienced discomfort and pain at times, but Scheidegger said he was happy to have Moore playing and hoped she would see plenty of playing time.

“Have you applied for a waiver? It’s possible,” Mr. Scheidegger said from Lethbridge, Alta. “I don’t think it was made an option for us, so we adhered to the residency rules because we thought it was available to us.”

‘Elitism’ and ‘Favorites’

Under these residency rules, at least 3 of the 4 players must reside in or have a birthright in their respective state or territory. He is only allowed one free agent per team unless an exemption is granted.

Loews, Vice’s Serena Niegovan and Lead’s Christine McQuish are based in Winnipeg, while Calgary-based Jocelyn Peterman is an import. Carling Canada has given Nyegovan her maternity leave and allowed Edmonton-based free agent Laura Walker to replace her.

Because their ranking was within the cut line, the team was eligible to apply for “pregnancy waivers to allow the addition of national Scotties free-agent players who did not participate in state/territory playdowns.” Curling Canada said in its release.

Despite its wording, Kathy Henderson, CEO of Carling Canada, said this wasn’t really a pregnancy exemption, but rather a “residence exemption” and parental leave would be available to anyone who requested it. Stated.

She added that the decision to limit eligibility for exemption to just five teams was not arbitrary.

“We weren’t trying to leave anyone out,” Henderson told Toronto’s Canadian Press. “What we have been looking at is the pattern of time that traditionally the national team is the team that receives funding from his program.

“That’s where we really nailed it.”

As a result, 13 of the 18 teams that qualified for the February 17-26 event in Kamloops, British Columbia, are outside the top five and will make similar line-up changes if necessary. I couldn’t apply.

Prominent curlers such as Olympians Dawn McEwen, Mike McEwen, Felix Asselin and Beth Peterson have criticized eligibility rules on social media.

“The timing of pregnancy can be stressful and difficult for many female athletes,” Dawn McEwen said on Twitter. It’s messy.

“Give Curling Canada the same opportunity.”

Walker will focus on mixed doubles this season, but will also fill in for Team Lowes. However, had Lowes finished sixth or lower, her addition in Scotty would have been impossible.

“The waiver only applies to the top five teams, as the ability to replace players with players of equal level of ability and dedication is limited,” said a Carling Canada release. .

Asselin, who will skip the Quebec entry at next month’s Tim Hortons Brier, called the rule an example of “elitist” and “favourism.”

“All female curlers should be allowed to be exchanged in case of pregnancy with a person who follows all residency rules.[s]” Asselin tweeted. “No excuse for adding imports. This is very sad.”

While ranking positions provide a solid picture of a team’s performance, they are not necessarily the best measure of ability or potential. I miss the bigger point-scoring events because I only want to play Bonspiel.

For example, the 2022 Scotties were won by Manitoba’s top Kelly Einerson, who defeated Northern Ontario’s Christa McCarville (currently ranked No. 61) in the final.

Einarson beat New Brunswick’s Andrea Kelly, who is currently ranked 16th, in the semi-finals.

In the current rankings, Einarson (284.750 points) leads Ontario’s Rachel Homan (270.750 points), Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones (206.000 points), Lowes (183.250 points) and British Columbia’s Clancy Grundy (166.625 points). I’m here.

Scheidegger (161.750) is just behind in sixth place, just ahead of Meghan Walter (160.500) in seventh.

Peterson, who made his Scotty debut in 2021, also took to Twitter to support the rule.

“Sorry, isn’t this disrespectful to other pregnant women?” she tweeted. “Giving some teams waivers and not others is simply irreversible.”

Some curlers compete while pregnant — Homan was memorably eight months pregnant when she reached the 2021 Scotties final — but sometimes replacements are needed.

Scheidegger called the exemption section of the news release “a very strange thing for me to read.”

“There are so many teams out there that could be in a very similar situation and looking for players,” she said. Of course we want to get players.”

Scotty Champion will represent Canada at the Women’s Curling World Championships March 18-26 in Sandviken, Sweden.

Also on Wednesday, Curling Canada announced that the 2023 PointsBet Invitational will run from September 26th to October 26th. #1 at the 16 Mile Sports Complex in Oakville, Ontario.

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