In a surprise decision, Team Silvernagle is not going to represent Saskatchewan at the national Scotties in 2021.
Instead, CURLSASK has appointed the team of Sherry Anderson out of Saskatoon to represent the province after it announced the cancellations of their provincial playdowns, including the provincial Scotties Women's Curling Championship, the SaskTel Tankard Men's Championship, and Mixed Doubles Championship.
The Regina-based team of Matt Dunstone was also selected on the men's side, while the team of Mike Armstrong and Ashley Quick were selected on the doubles side.
The selection on the women's side is controversial to say the least. Robyn Silvernagle and her team based out of Twin Rivers Curling Club in North Battleford had been provincial champion the last two consecutive seasons, 2019 and 2020.
But the team underwent major roster changes before this season with veterans Stefanie Lawton and Kara Thevenot departing. Only the skip Silvernagle and Jessie Hunkin returned, with the team picking up Kristen Streifel and Dayna Demers.
According to CURLSASK, the fact that both the women's and men's defending champions had roster changes was a major factor in their decision.
Instead, the provincial representatives were selected based on the performance of teams in a two-season window, which included season end points from the past season combined with points earned this season. The points were calculated based on the current registered lineups of each team.
Based on that calculation, both the Anderson and the Dunstone teams came out ahead. There were no roster changes to the Armstrong-Quick team.
Selecting provincial representatives was never the preferred option of CURLSASK, who had hoped to stage provincial playdowns as usual. In a news release issued Thursday, they reported that their proposal for a provincial "bubble" format was rejected by the Saskatchewan government on Jan. 13. That was one day after the province extended the public health order to Jan. 29.
According to CURLSASK, "all options for any form of competition to declare our representatives have been exhausted."
The Saskatchewan representatives now head to Calgary to represent the province in the Curling Canada "bubble" which will hold the Scotties, Brier and Mixed Doubles championships.
Team Silvernagle has issued this statement posted on Twitter:
"We would like to take this opportunity to extend our well wishes and congratulations to Team Sherry Anderson. We know that you will be great representatives going forward into the national Scotties event in Calgary.
"This has been a very challenging year for CURLSASK navigating through a pandemic and we thank you for going above and beyond during this challenging time. Your efforts and hard work did not go unnoticed.
"We are all Team Sask and we will be cheering hard as per usual!"
As for Team Silvernagle, despite the CURLSASK announcement, their Scotties hopes might not yet be totally dashed. There is a possibility the team could potentially still be invited to go to Calgary as one of the "wild card" entries.
It was announced this week by Curling Canada that the number of wild card entries for the Scotties and Brier has been expanded to three teams instead of just one.