That’s a wrap on the 2020 BC Curling Championships, with Team Cotter clinching a record-breaking ninth BC title and trip to the Brier after defeating the tenacious young Team Tardi, while Team Brown won the women’s division to earn a berth in the national Scotties tournament.
Looking back over the week, Cranbrook Curling Club president Rick O’Neill had only good things to say.
“I think the biggest thing was the level of competition,” he said. “If anyone dropped by they just could see the players and everything else and how good it was and how close you are to them.”
O’Neill said the atmosphere in Western Financial Place was tense, with all eyes on the game, during the women’s final between Team Brown and Team Wark. On the men’s side, he said the young Team Tardi made the veteran Team Cotter work for their win.
“Team Tardi, I think everyone knows of them being junior champions,” O’Neill said. “They were nothing but a class act. They gave team Cotter a run for his money and I guess in this particular case you can say the veteran won over the newbie but Team Tardi — they’re not going away. You can see from how they play that they played almost like a veteran team, so you know what it’s old versus new and that’s exactly what happened.”
In the end, O’Neill said Cotter stepped up and did what they knew they needed to do, employing their years of competitive play to make the right shots.
“They’re veterans and they knew what to do and when to do it and you could literally hear a pin drop at certain times from that because of the shot making.”
Team Daniels came away with the bronze distinction in the Women’s division, while Team Longworth claimed bronze in the Men’s.
Beyond the high-calibre level of play, O’Neill also remarked on the success of the event as a whole and the economic boost it created for the city.
“The economic benefits for Cranbrook — it was immense,” he said. “The hotels all had an uptick in attendance, the restaurants were up, obviously the pubs and stuff like that, so it was a very large economic boost to the City of Cranbrook.”
He also said that after talking to a lot of the players, many of them remarked on how beautiful the city of Cranbrook and the surrounding natural area is.
“So it was a great tourist draw, I guess would be the word I would use on that. People coming out that may not have been here before, a lot of teams and players, some may not have been here before and a lot of them brought their families this year which was a little bit different than the Grand Slam we held a couple years ago, so you had more B.C. people showing up, obviously because it was the BC Championships.”
He said he was pleased with the fairly decent turnout they had throughout the whole tournament, and said that the sponsors who all stepped up and the volunteers who worked tirelessly to pull it off were all amazing.
“Several of the players felt it was kind of a Brier atmosphere,” O’Neill said, “the professionalism by the volunteers and the committee and everything else, it was top notch.”
He said that hosting the tournament was huge for the Cranbrook Curling Club as well, with a big boost in visibility and added wisdom they can take into future tournaments.
“I think overall for the curling club it meant an increase in knowledge or in what we have to offer. A lot of the players met some of our players and for the Curling Club, as any sports facility, you want to get your name out there and I think we did it big time.”
Though O’Neill said that there was some talk with Curl BC about another potential event down the road, while it may be possible, it likely won’t be for a few years.
“Obviously after doing the Grand Slam and doing this event you end up with a little volunteer burnout so I think it’s going to be one of those that we will look at but it will definitely be a few years down the road.”
He said he hoped everyone who came out enjoyed themselves and felt it was well worth it.
“We had the price point that we thought for families was great, we got positive feedback all the way around and at the end of the day I just hope that everyone liked the value of what they got.”