You can go back to the 1940s when the winner of the round-robin of the provincial curling showdown would represent their province at the national level.
Then it was decided to bring playoffs into the format, with the top four teams playing off for the crown. The number-one team would play the fourth-place team while the second-place team met the third-place rink.
Those two winners then would play in the final for the provincial title.
Under that format, though, the best team could lose that first game while the fourth best team could win it all. So they changed the format to a three-team playoff, with the winner of the round-robin given a bye to the final while the second- and third-place teams battled it out in the semi-finals.
But that didn’t really solve anything because the third-best team could walk away with the top prize, thus it was not the best method of declaring the best team to represent their province or their country.
Then a format was introduced that seemed to be the best for the top two teams after round-robin play. It was called the Page System. Again, they went to the top four teams for the playoffs, with Team #1 playing Team #2 while Team #3 faced Team #4.
The difference, though, is that the winner of #1 vs. #2 game got a berth to the final while the loser had a second chance against the winner of the #3 vs. #4 game.
This method, indeed, gives the better teams another chance in deciding which one is best to go on further—whether it’s the worlds or the Olympics.
But at the Olympic curling trials in Halifax last week, they went back to the three-team playoff format that had been discarded a few years ago to decide the best women’s and men’s teams to represent Canada in the upcoming Olympics in Italy.
The eventual men’s winner turned out to be the deserving team based on their 8-1 record in the round-robin and having beaten the second-place team twice (once in the round-robin and then again in Sunday’s final).
But, of course, they could have lost to the second-place team.
On the women’s side, the winner in round-robin play from British Columbia got the bye to the final with a round-robin record of 7-2. Meanwhile, the second-place team played off against the third-place one in the semi-finals.
The second-place team won that game, then took the final match to represent our country in the Olympics.
The bottom line is the number-one team beat the number-two team in round-robin play while the number-two team beat the number-one team in the finals. This, of course, was a stalemate—with both teams being even on wins and losses.
Now to me, does this pick the best team to represent our country? No, it doesn’t. At least in the Page System, the top two teams in round-robin play have two chances instead of only one.
So what happened to the “Page”?
Michael J. Baranowski
Nestor Falls, Ont.