Monday, November 23, 2015

Hardline Curling Brush Update - November 23rd, 2015

Since we opened in 2010, Hardline Curling has built its business on the foundation of one core value - Integrity. Whether dealing with customers, pro-shops, players, the equipment we sell, or the game, our integrity has never been and will never be compromised.

Over the last 2 months, Hardline and those who use its products have been unfairly targeted by groundless accusations and harmful insinuations with respect to the innovative and successful  Hardline icePad curling brush. These accusations have compromised the integrity and trust of not only our company, but of those who play with our gear, whether they are elite or recreational club curlers.

Hardline Curling will no longer sit quiet. Whether it’s on social media or our blog, we will answer those who are failing to give the straight facts. We receive countless emails and calls supporting us, and we owe it to everyone who has put their faith and hard earned dollars into our gear.
Concerning recent WCF rulings, it is important to note that the Hardline icePad is not banned as some have claimed. There are two modifications (inverting the cover and removing the plastic insert) that have to be made for approval in WCF events only, but the icePad is not banned.  In fact, our teams playing in the European championships continue to play with an approved version of the icePad. 

We have been in contact with the WCF concerning equipment. We have made a number of recommendations that would be fair for all suppliers. We have asked the WCF to set parameters as to what is acceptable in terms of performance of brush heads before testing begins. We have asked that Hardline representatives be present for all testing. We have asked what and how tests will be conducted. We have asked Curling Canada to provide all testing data from previous years so we can compare to present day testing. All of our requests have been denied without explanation.

Our recommendations to the WCF even included taking out all intellectual property from suppliers’ pads, with the WCF choosing the fabric. For example, no plastic insert of the icePad, no foil in the Balance Plus pad, no ridges in the Goldline, Asham and Performance pads. Straight fabric on foam. Our opinion is this would ensure fair play for everyone at the Elite level. The WCF did not respond to our recommendation.  While it is an extreme and in our view unnecessary measure, this would ensure fair play if all inserts were removed.

The WCF’s most recent ruling was to take out a part of the icePad’s intellectual property, the plastic insert. The WCF have stated that their decision was based on preliminary test results. We have asked for all the data concerning these tests and the results. Again, the WCF has refused to send us any of this data. 

Hardline believes the WCF has made these recent decisions based on a flawed process and without having concluded all testing required to reach a fair and equitable conclusion. Hardline has engaged legal counsel to, among other things, push for full and complete transparency behind the WCF’s decision-making and to enforce Hardline’s rights as an innovative and hard-working manufacturer. 
We stated long ago that any decisions reached should involve all the major stakeholders including players, associations and manufacturers, coming to a decision together regarding what the guidelines should be and what the testing will include going forward. We have also stated that once all the guidelines are set on what is or is not acceptable, an independent testing facility should conduct testing on all products with players and representatives from each stakeholder to oversee all the testing. All results should immediately be given to all stakeholders. This is the only way to ensure a transparent process and optimal solution for all stakeholders.

For the last 4 years, Hardline has manufactured top of the line and innovate equipment without complaint. The recent spate of complaints and accusations are unfounded and damaging to Hardline. Despite making several requests, we have been provided with no evidence to support these exaggerated allegations, such as reports that the icePad makes rocks “move like a joystick”.  We have been sent no evidence because we believe none exists. There is no truth to these allegations. 

Hardline will continue to strive to provide excellent customer service, out-innovate, and out-perform the competition. We are not going away. We are Hardline Nation.