Statement Regarding MCA U18 Playdowns

Midwest Curling Association Member Clubs and Members:

As mentioned in my President’s Letter for the 2021-2022 Season, the MCA aims to strengthen our region’s curling potential. With this in mind, I wanted to address a recent situation regarding the registration for the MCA U18 Playdowns.  This year only one team, Team Ponzio, signed up by the deadline in our region. Team Ponzio curls out of Minnesota and could not make Minnesota playdowns through no fault of their own. They sought the input of USA Curling, who directed them to look to other regions for two reasons: 1) USA Curling does not hold juniors to the same standards as adult curlers, as U18 teams aren’t required to be league-playing members of a regional club and 2) our region’s playdowns had not occurred. To fulfill the requirement to play at MCA U18 Playdowns, Team Ponzio paid dues to an MCA member club.

I’d like to point out several things about this situation:

  • We believed this situation could pose future problems for junior MCA curlers, as we did not want to set a precedent that encouraged larger regions to send their teams to the MCA Playdowns and displace the juniors from our regional clubs. Whether you win or lose every game, National events are a great place for MCA juniors to learn and grow as a curler and team.
  • No MCA teams signed up for this event by the deadline other than Team Ponzio; therefore, no MCA team was being denied the opportunity to attend U18 Nationals this year. The MCA believes rules make games fair, fun, and in line with the ‘spirit of curling.’
  • The club that allowed Team Ponzio to pay dues is not to blame. All clubs accept members to grow the sport, and few survey why individuals are joining.
  • Team Ponzio was not at fault, as they acted appropriately to safeguard others’ health, reached out to USA Curling, and followed the course of actions suggested by USA Curling.

With all of this in mind, the Midwest Curling Association called a special meeting on February 28th to discuss this situation. We voted to defer the responsibility of determining the representative of the MCA region to USA Curling for the 2021-2022 season. Therefore, it was USA Curling’s decision whether to send this Minnesota team in the MCA slot or turn this slot into a vacant slot that an eligible team would fill, as dictated by the USA Curling Rules of Curling & Competition Handbook.

We did not take this decision lightly. Team Ponzio fulfilled the requirement outlined by USA Curling to register for our region, and we did not want to deny juniors the opportunity to play. However, the MCA Board was disappointed with how USA Curling handled this situation and felt the implications on a regional level were not considered. To prevent this situation in the future, the MCA plans to update our bylaws to ensure that only curlers active within our region can register for our U18 MCA Playdowns. 

Good Curling,

Sara Gaum

President, Midwest Curling Association