Curling great lends support to Grand Slam event

Kevin Martin to tour Cranbrook this week to help build up hype for Grand Slam Tour Challenge taking place in November.

Kevin Martin throws a stone during competition at the Canada Cup of Curling in Western Financial Place in 2011.

Kevin Martin throws a stone during competition at the Canada Cup of Curling in Western Financial Place in 2011.

Legendary curler Kevin Martin will be in Cranbrook this week to give a high-profile presence to the official announcement by the Cranbrook Curling Club unveiling the Grand Slam of Curling Tour Challenge in November.

News of the event was broken by the Daily Townsman a few weeks ago when Sportsnet published their calendar of upcoming Grand Slam events, which included a stop in Cranbrook for the Tour Challenge.

Todd Pellerin, one of the organizers of the committee that helped land the Sportsnet event in Cranbrook, is looking forward to sharing details with the community at a Chamber of Commerce meeting on Tuesday.

“We’re just tickled pink that Sportsnet is showing a very high level of interest in making sure that the Cranbrook event becomes the success we know it can be,” Pellerin said. “They’re doing everything within their power to make that happen.”

Kevin Martin—considered one of the greatest curlers of all time—recently retired a year ago but was instrumental in the creation of the Grand Slam of Curling circuit back in 2001.

Martin will be in Cranbrook, along with Sportsnet officials, to announce the event, which will run Nov. 8-13, and help generate some sponsorship buzz.

“For us, having Kevin Martin is the best we could ever have hoped for, from Sportsnet….” said Pellerin. “When we approached Sportsnet for this event and they put a feeler out to the curlers that could possibly come, we had nothing but positive results saying, ‘Yes, lets go to Cranbrook’

“That made it a lot easier for Sportsnet to help them make the decision to come here.”

Martin has a little bit of history with Cranbrook, curling in a TSN Skins game in the 1990s and was also the 2011 Canada Cup of Curling champion when the event was hosted in Western Financial Place.

The Tour Challenge will feature not just curling action at Western Financial Place, but also in the Memorial Arena. Over 60 professional curling teams from around the world will be competing in two tiers of action—15 mens teams and 15 women’s teams in each tier—for six days.

Following the announcement at a lunch-hour chamber meeting, there will be a gathering at the Curling Club from 5:30-7 p.m. which is open for an businesses interested in sponsorship for the Tour Challenge event.

“The most important thing for me to see [Tuesday] night is the level of interest from local businesses in helping to secure sponsorship for this event, because this event will bring in anywhere from $1.2 to $1.8 million in revenue to Cranbrook,” Pellerin said.

“We are looking for our business community to step up a bit and lets get that sponsorship level where we need it, because that’s going to go a long way to getting future events; if we don’t get very good sponsorship from our local businesses, then this might just be a one-off from Sportsnet to come here.”