A fairly large field of teams isn’t the only thing about the 2019 Tankard that sees the event return to the ways of the past.
For the first time in about a quarter century, the provincial men’s curling championship is using a triple knockout formula.
The simple explanation for the triple knockout format is that teams must lose three games to be eliminated.
All 12 rinks playing at Bally Haly this week start in the A bracket. A loss there will drop a team to the B bracket, where another loss sends them to the C (or as it’s becoming known, “the C you later”) bracket. A third loss there, and you’re out.
Triple knockouts are becoming more and more popular in curling competitions. For example, it was adopted for the most recent Canadian Open Grand Slam event and the just-completed Alberta women’s championship. But those were a modified triple knockouts, where eight teams advanced from the three sections to the playoffs. That modification is mostly to satisfy the needs of national broadcasters, who require certainty for their schedules.
This Tankard is using the traditional triple knockout where there is the possibility of no playoffs at all.
Here’s how it works:
• Winners will be declared in each of the A, B and C sections, but teams will eventually drop down to play at least one game in all sections, regardless of records.
• If a team wins all three sections (meaning it was undefeated), it will be declared the winner.
• If a team wins two sections, it must be beaten twice by the winner of the other section.
• If there are three different section winners, a tiebreaker that considers qualifying games will send one straight to final. The others will meet in a semifinal.
Feel dizzy? Well, knockouts can do that.
The schedule for this afternoon’s (2:30 p.m.) opening draw at the 2019 Tankard Newfoundland and Labrador men’s curling championship at Bally Haly Country Club in St. John’s:
• Ken Peddidgrew vs Rod Feltham
• Nick Lane vs Bernard Bird
• Matthew Smith vs Dan Thomas
• Greg Smith vs Justin Lockyer
Andrew Symonds, Rick Rowsell, Colin Thomas and Trent Skanes see their first action tonight (7:30 p.m.) , when they will take on the first-draw winners.