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Curler Chris Schille kicked out of Saskatchewan playoff game

Chris Schille sweeping for Brad Gushue at the 2008 Brier. (CP)

Here's something you don't see every day. Actually, it's something you might not see on any day.

Details are still emerging, but the ejection of a player in a Saskatchewan men's playoff game has curlers on twitter abuzz.

Chris Schille, second on Brock Virtue's team, was tossed during the B Event final on Saturday morning, as Virtue battled Josh Heidt's foursome for a spot in tonight's 1 vs 2 playoff game.

Schille was apparently given the heave ho by an official during the second end, when he admittedly kicked a rock into the corner of a sheet.

Schille took to twitter shortly after, to tell his side of the story.

Schille got some support from at least one other curler, Ben Hebert, lead for the Kevin Martin foursome that will once again battle for an Alberta men's championship next week. He made his displeasure with events known on twitter as well.

Curling is a sport with a deep-rooted tradition of fair play and polite demeanor, but that has, perhaps, slowly been changing recently.

Crowds at the Olympic Games in Vancouver cheered misses by teams taking on their rooting interests. That, traditionally, has been a no-no in spectator etiquette but some feel it's not actually out of line. More hooting an clapping by spectators was evident at last month's Continental Cup in Penticton, B.C, as every now and then a miss by Team World was met with at least a little bit of an outward display of glee.

John Morris famously broke a broom over his knee during round robin play at the 2007 Brier in Hamilton, Ontario, leading to a chorus of boos raining down on him. Not everyone thought it was such an egregious breach of curling etiquette, however.

Last week, at the Alberta Scotties, young skip Laura Crocker slammed her broom on the ice after missing a shot in the fifth end, then slammed it again as she made her way off the ice for the break.

Personally, I see no problem with a player expressing their disdain over a turn of events during a game. My immediate reaction to Crocker's outburst was "good for her." Showed her passion. Showed how much she cared about performing well in a playoff game. I liked that she cared that much. Rather than excoriate players for the occasional show of emotional dismay, we should appreciate it. As long as it doesn't become an ongoing habit with them and a disruptive force whenever they step out onto the ice, what's the real harm?

Knowing that I wasn't there to witness the events leading to Schille's ejection, I'm not really prepared to offer an opinion as to whether it was deserved. Was it just a simple kick of a rock? Were words exchanged? Is there something more to this than meets the eye?

Don't know. So, it's possible this was just an overzealous official. It's also possible that Schille overstepped the bounds of acceptable behaviour on the ice and deserved an ejection. We'll stay tuned. Could be that more details will emerge.

By the way, Virtue's team, despite playing with just three members for the balance of the game, emerged victorious, with a 5-3 decision over Heidt. Schille, will take part in the 1 vs 2 playoff game Saturday night.

Mike Harris responded to that with some humour tweeting a a sarcastic note of support to Schille:

Threesome wins over opponents may not be rare at curling clubs across Canada, but they are at this level. Rare in that teams don't often have to play with just three members, never mind because one of their mates was tossed by an official.

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