Twenty-two of curling's top teams sign off on broom armistice

Team Canada skip Pat Simmons, left, and lead Nolan Thiessen celebrate defeating Northern Ontario to win the gold medal game at the Brier in Calgary on Sunday, March 8, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

The pressure to remove the latest broom heads from the world of curling has been increased even more.

22 elite level teams have signed off on a lengthy, thoughtful and detailed statement written by Team Canada lead Nolan Thiessen, a statement that appears on the Team Canada website.

The statement takes dead aim at what's been called "directional fabric" or "directional technology," a leap in broom head effectiveness so great, it has allowed curlers to control rocks in unprecedented ways, including slowing them down, and curling them more.

It is an impressive, heavyweight list of backers including reigning Olympic champions Brad Jacobs and Jennifer Jones and reigning men's world champion Niklas Edin. The list also includes Val Sweeting and Rachel Homan, who had discussed their positions on the matter with Yahoo Sports previously. Well-known names such as Eve Muirhead, Thomas Ulsrud, Binia Feltscher, David Murdoch, Mike McEwen and Brad Gushue have also ratified the agreement.

In his preamble to the statement, Thiessen explains what the latest broom technology can do and why players feel it is a detriment to the game of curling. Then, a proclamation is made:

"The teams listed below are making a proclamation that in the spirit of our sport and what it has always stood for, we will not be using directional fabric during WCT events, CCT events or the Grand Slam of Curling. All teams want a level playing field and not an arms race with technology. We have had discussions with the governing bodies of our sport and we are confident they will act in a prompt manner to create committees that will look into these concerns and ultimately look at all aspects of sweeping and ensure that fair play standards are enacted that are in line with the spirit of the sport. We hope this process is expedited as it is of importance to many teams throughout the World that are already chasing points both in Canada and abroad that enables teams to reach World Championships or help gain their countries entries into the Olympic Games in 2018 in Pyeongchang, Korea."

Another of the undersigned teams, Team Glenn Howard, had issued a statement earlier this week, sternly chastising any player or team who would not follow suit in removing directional fabric from broom heads, moving forward.

There is still some work to be done at the national and international level when it comes to this new technology. Curling Canada is keeping tabs on The World Curling Federation, which is farther down the road when it comes to instituting equipment regulations to govern its events.

For now, at least, it appears an armistice has been reached among elite level curlers.

A full investigation of the broom debate can be found here, while Thiessen's entire statement can be found here.


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