With curling suspended in its Canada stronghold, Hall of Famer Warren Hansen says alternate plans need to be made to at least get top competitions on television.
A few lower-tier curling tour stops have been cancelled but the first top-flight event of the campaign, the Masters in Ontario, remains a go for Oct. 20-25.
But with nothing on since March, Hansen, who spent more than two decades running event operations for the national federation until 2015 and has done consulting work since, says that’s too long for curling to go without a presence. Especially with other sports coming back such as soccer, golf, and auto racing.
“Find an arena that’s close to the airport, make a deal with some hotels and try and stage the things for at least your television audience,” Hansen said from Vancouver.
With the potential for air travel skittishness or restrictions hampering transport, Hansen thinks holding events in major cities such as Winnipeg or Calgary would be a solid alternative. That way, Hansen said, most of the top curlers could probably drive to the competition in a small rink to keep costs down.
“I think you’re going to have a (TV) audience that’s so starved for any sport and starved for curling,” Hansen said. “The audiences … I think will be good regardless of what you do or how you do it.
“How it’s going to work and how it’s going to be, you’re never going to know until you try it.”
The trials for the Beijing Winter Olympics are less than 18 months away, and Hansen, “We’ve got to make sure that we do everything we possibly can to keep something forging ahead in some way, shape or form.”