Curling Canada said an "officiating mistake" was made during a key fifth-end shot in the Canada Cup men's final between Team Brad Jacobs and Team Kevin Koe last Sunday in Estevan, Sask.

After an internal review, it was determined that the mistake resulted in Koe's team being told its final stone was being pulled from play, the federation said Thursday in a statement on its website.

The incident led to much confusion at Affinity Place and served as a flashpoint for critics of the new timing setup that was being tested at the competition.

"We want to give our athletes the best possible on-ice environment in which to show their talents, and we will continue to work with our on- and off-ice officials, and review all processes with regards to timing to ensure this mistake isn't repeated in the future," the statement said.

Instead of the usual 38-minute full-game timing system, teams had four minutes in each of the first five ends and 4:15 in each of the last five ends. In addition, teams had two 90-second timeouts and additional 30-second timeouts ahead of a skip's final throw in each half of the game.

Trailing 3-1 and with hammer in the fifth end, Koe's team called a 30-second timeout with 11 seconds remaining. However, the clock ran down to two seconds and was not properly reset, the federation said.

Thinking he had 41 seconds to work with, Koe delivered his final stone in time — it took approximately 36 seconds — and the throw should have been considered legal.

However, Koe's team was told as the stone was moving down the ice that the rock would be pulled, "potentially resulting in a communication lapse between vice-skip B.J. Neufeld and the sweepers," the statement said.

Koe's draw was heavy and the team missed its chance for a deuce that would have tied the game. Jacobs went on to post a 5-4 victory.

Team John Epping second Brent Laing, a teammate of Koe's over the last quadrennial, said it was an unfortunate human error made by the official.

"Obviously having played with Kevin for four years, he's methodical and sometimes he's slow," said Laing, whose team finished fifth. "They should have played a faster end but at the same time, they didn't actually run out of time. It should have never happened."

After Koe made his throw, an official advised the players by the rings that time had expired.

Before the stone stopped, Koe lead Ben Hebert questioned the official's presence and explained — mixing in an f-bomb with some coarse language — that the team was told by an official at the other end of the ice that they had enough time. Koe later tied the game in the ninth end before a Jacobs single sealed it in the 10th.

Supporters of the timing setup feel it creates more scoring and helps keep play at a steady pace while those opposed note that skip stones are sometimes rushed.

"The cons so far outweigh the pros of this system even if you do believe that it's speeding up the game or creating fewer blank ends," Laing said in an interview this week. "If it's at the expense of a key end like (Sunday) where it turns the game into a bit of a mockery, then why bother.

"The upside is not big enough."

Volunteers traditionally handle competition timing at curling bonspiels. Some are trained on the setup in the days leading up to an event.

Another area of concern is that when a 30-second timeout is called, that time is not added to the clock. Instead, an official at ice level raises an arm when the timeout begins, leaving curlers and spectators unsure of how much time may be left.

In an email, a Curling Canada spokesman said the federation holds debriefs after every event, and that all aspects of timing are being reviewed.

The regular full-game timing system will be used at all national and world championship events for the rest of the season.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Hebert was fined for using coarse language as Curling Canada said it does not publicly release details on such decisions.

Players wear microphones during games and dialogue can be heard on television broadcasts.


Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.