Officials blend into backgroundAfter what happened in Saskatchewan at the men's curling championships, where a player got the heave-ho for saying something inappropriate on the ice (Fuddle Duddle?), the Ontario officials are under the gun a bit this week at the Dominion Tankard in Barrie.
Steve Green of the London Free Press and QMI Agency, focuses on the Ontario officials.
Green talks with head official Gord Gark. You know Gark is a good guy because he's from Sarnia, so he has that going for him as well.
Gark, in my opinion, has the right attitude--the fans are there to see the players---not the officials.
“We really believe as an association that the game is all about the players,” Gark said before play on Tuesday at the Molson Centre. “The players have learned the hog line is there for a reason and they respect it. Before there were officials, everyone just went over it.”
The curling world is still abuzz with the ejection of Chris Schille at the Saskatchewan men’s championship over the weekend. He kicked rock after his skip, Brock Virtue, made a double, but he got the boot for constant foul language, said the official who gave him the heave-ho.
“I’ve never had an incident that serious,” said Gark, a Sarnia resident who has been the OCA’s head official for seven years, adding the officials like to develop a friendly rapport with the players. “But there is a line there and they respect that.”
Sounds like Gark gives a bit of leeway.
Verbal abuse of an official or damaging the ice by slamming a broom would be cause for an ejection, Gark said, but by the same token that doesn’t mean the players have to be automatons. The occasional curse word is acceptable, so long as it’s not audible to the entire arena.
“It’s a very difficult call,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with someone slamming a broom so long as it’s from the waist down. If you put the broom over your head and swing it, that’s different.
“But these guys are playing for an Olympic spot, when you get right down to it, and we want people to be able to show some emotion. The players do hold themselves to a high degree of accountability and there’s a lot of peer pressure, especially when there’s so much at stake.
“We know the players and we know difficult situations can arise. If we think tensions are rising, we’ll step in if needed.”