The Order of Merit World Team Ranking system is undergoing another post-Olympics review to work on continuing to improve how teams are ranked to ensure a proper snapshot of how teams rank compared to each other.
In co-operation with Nolan Thiessen of Curling Canada and consultation with many of the players currently playing on the World Curling Tour, we have come to a consensus on four key points that we're looking to implement for this upcoming season.
1. Under the previous system, players carried points forward with backend players receiving 25% of last season's points and frontend players receiving 15% of last season's points towards forming their new teams. There was an additional team component of 20% that teams would maintain if the lineup had 3 or more players returning for the next season. For 2018/19 season, this will change to 25% across the board, with the team component returning in 2019/20 along with continuing an even split of the remaining amongst all four player positions.
2. Another issue identified was the greater importance placed on early season events under the previous system, which allowed teams to max out events early and rise through the rankings purely on quantity of events played. To counter this, we are looking at a slower release of slots to count event results.
Teams will be able to count their best two events until October 10th when an additional slot will open allowing them to count their best three event results. From there, a slot will open every two weeks changing the early focus on the quality of results over quantity.
3. A review of how much value the previous season should hold on the World Team Rankings was considered and the belief among teams was that last year's results held too much weight as the season went on. To counter this, we looked at decreasing the importance of last season's points incrementally throughout the season.
Teams will start the season with 100% of last season's (YTD) points, assigned based on the points breakdown in point 1. Using the same schedule as point 2, we will decrease the value of these points by 10% every two weeks such that teams will be counting only the current season's points by early February.
This will also help fix the change-over each summer as the ranking at the end of each season will now become the new ranking to start the next season creating a better continuity among the rankings.
4. One of the challenges we've been facing in many regions as the sport evolves in some places and we continue to grow internationally is the number of teams required to run an Order of Merit event. For the 2018/19 season, we will lower the minimum required teams from 12 for men's events and 10 for women's events to 8 across the board.
This change will ensure that under-serviced regions will be better able to run events and ensure that teams will receive points.
The rest of the Order of Merit system will be further reviewed to consider small changes to the strength of field formula and assigning points per win. There will also be continued discussion over how certain types of events are counted so that we see a proper balance and fairness in access to events.
This review is expected to be completed by August 1st with a future announcement to be made to finalize the system for the next Olympic cycle.