Though nearly a year away, the planning process continues in the efforts to bring in a Grand Slam curling event to Cranbrook.
The event, which will feature over 60 international professional curling teams in two separate tiers, will require the use of Western Financial Place and the Memorial Arena.
An official with the Grand Slam of Curling tour will be in Cranbrook in January to gauge the ice plants in both facilities and a final decision will likely be announced at the end of that month, according to Todd Pellerin, who is the co-chair of the committee working to bring the event to Cranbrook.
“If we’re not the city chosen, because whatever infrastructure is not in place, then they’ll go to another town,” said Pellerin. “It’s ours to lose. We were guaranteed this a while back in a different format, but this is a much bigger format than what we were guaranteed, so if we don’t get this, then we’re probably not going to be in line for at least a couple years for something else.”
The top tier of curlers will get underway at Western Financial Place, while the lower tier will use the Memorial Arena.
“We’re not going to have a problem with Western Financial Place, what we’re worried about is the Memorial Arena, because the Tier 2 level is going to be potentially held in that facility,” Pellerin said.
“Normally this event is held in a twin-rink type of facility but because of the proximity between Western Financial Place and the Memorial, they’re willing to consider that.”
Pellerin is anticipating a huge tourism draw to Cranbrook for the event, which will attract spectators, in addition to over 60 curling teams, coaches, support staff and media coverage from Sportsnet that will include over 18 broadcast hours.
“As far as we know, we’re on board, the curling club is on board and has agreed to provide the lions share of the guarantee on the tickets and the city on the smaller share,” Pellerin said.
Professional curlers who have competed in the Grand Slam of Curling in the past include heavy hitters such as Kevin Koe, Glenn Howard, Brad Gushue, Rachel Homan, Val Sweeting and Jennifer Jones.