Save Junior Curling in Canada
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Curling Canada has plans to lower the Junior age eligibility from 21 to 20 years of age or under as of June 30, 2021 for the 2021 New Holland Canadian Juniors. Their plan is to develop the 2021 Canadian champions for the year and send them to the World Junior Championships the following year. This policy is going to negatively impact Junior curling by reducing the number of Junior curlers in Canada. Curling Canada claims that this will “give more youth curlers the chance to compete at the national level, in addition to extending their seasons”. This will extend the season for two teams only (the champions) and delete an entire year of curling for every other 21 year old competitive Junior curler in Canada.
Most junior bonspiels already struggle to fill the complement of spots with Junior teams and many Juvenile teams currently compete in these events. This will get worse with the age reduction and many bonspiels will come to an end. More Junior curlers in Canada, not less, will keep Junior curling competitive and alive in Canada.
Curling Canada has a responsibility to the curling community that most other curling associations do not have. It is not just about medals and trophies. Very few of these Junior curlers will go on to compete at the Men’s and Women’s level but most will continue to play at their local club and love the sport for life. Junior Provincials is their Olympics and they would like every opportunity to compete at this level. For those that do go on to compete at a higher level, the additional year of Junior will help prepare them for that. Perhaps the World Curling Federation should consider increasing their age limit.
We, the undersigned, respectfully ask that Curling Canada consider leaving the Junior age limit at 21 and reject plans to lower it to 20 in 2021. Don’t take an entire year of Junior curling away from the young adults and help keep Junior curling competitive and alive in the Provinces.
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