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Having played down in juniors over the last few years I can tell you that many of the teams that used to play down in Juniors were younger, U-18 teams that were mainly looking for experience. Now that there's a U-18 championship with separate playdowns, many of these younger teams are choosing to only do their regional U-18 playdowns. This saves those younger teams time and money on traveling expenses by only doing one of those events.
I think in the long term we will see more juniors coming up though the U-18 system, it will just take a while to see it. The U-18 system allows for more competition for those younger curlers (middle school aged or so) looking to get into competitive curling for the first time, but not wanting to enter into Junior spiels only to have a bunch of 20 year olds hang 4s and 5s on them all weekend. With this better system of competition for these younger curlers it will get more of them to stick around and form teams with each other once they age out.
I believe we've already seen the first signs of this however, as for the first time since 2013(there was a junior mens team from Colorado at Wayland) MOPAC/Colorado are sending U-21/U-18 teams to a national championship.