By Herald on January 8, 2021.
A major curling event is drawing into southern Alberta once again.
And this one completes an impressive sweep as it was announced Friday morning the 93rd edition of the Tim Horton’s Brier is hitting the pebbled ice at the Enmax Centre March 4-13, 2022.
The landing of the Canadian men’s championship makes Lethbridge just the fourth city to host all four Season of Champions events, including the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the World Men’s Championship and the World Women’s Championship.
The other three Canadian cities to boast that honour are Winnipeg and Brandon, Man. and Saint John New Brunswick.
“Given the challenges of last year, we can’t wait to put on a show for the nation by hosting one of our sports most prestigious championships,” said Lethbridge Curling Club president Mike Mulroy. “It puts Lethbridge in rare company with very few cities in this nation that have hosted all the major national and world curling championship events. We could not be more proud to do so.”
With the event 14 months away, the field of teams, of course, has yet to be decided.
But over at the Lethbridge Curling Club, general manager Kirk Mearns said volunteers are already putting their names on the dotted line to be a part of the event.
“We’re already getting requests to find out where to volunteer,” said Mearns. “Of course, that’s not open yet, it’ll be a little bit before Curling Canada gets that out, but we’re going to need 400 volunteers and we have all the confidence we will get those very quickly. Our members of the club are very excited. They love these things and it’s a big part of the curling community.”
Interested volunteers can watch Curling Canada’s website (http://www.curling.ca) for updates later on.
“We’ll have input with that, but it will all be through Curling Canada,” said Mearns.
Of course, the always-popular Brier Patch will be an easy trek across the parking lot over at the Servus Centre as it was for the World Men’s Curling Championship in 2019.
“We’re planning a couple of different ways to expand that and make it a bigger experience. It’ll be fun,” said Mearns.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on as the calendar turns to 2021, Mearns and the host committee have already glanced ahead and considered what will happen should the pandemic still linger in 14 months.
To help with that, they’ve turned to the Enmax Centre and its main resident, the Lethbridge Hurricanes, to help monitor the potential COVID situation.
“We’ve worked with the Enmax on it because well before the Brier starts the Hurricanes will have started their season,” said Mearns. “So they will have worked through all of those protocols, whether we’re at full capacity or at 75 per cent. Whatever it is, the Enmax will have had probably three or four months to really work out those protocols.”
A former Calgary Herald reporter, Curling Canada Director, Communication and Media Relations Al Cameron has seen his fair share of curling events hit the ice in southern Alberta.
“I think I’ve probably seen more curling games at the Enmax Centre than any other arena in Canada, having been there for a couple of Scotties and a World Women’s Championship, the World Men’s Championship and now, finally, with the Tim Horton’s Brier coming in. It’s just a superb facility,” he said.
Cameron noted the timing of the Brier and acknowledged the Hurricanes and Hurricanes general manager of business operations Terry Huisman – who attended Friday’s Zoom conference – for opening their doors.
“One of the big things about hosting a Tim Horton’s Brier is it’s in March and that’s the stretch run to the playoffs and I know the Lethbridge Hurricanes are very graciously allowing us to come into the building.”
Cameron said Brier ticket plans will be announced later this year and added to watch Curling Canada’s social media channels as well as their website for updated information.
Jill Richard, executive director of the Alberta Curling Federation, credited local organizers who for striving to host a high-profile event during trying times.
“I think it’ll provide us with a beacon of inspiration as we move into the future and hopefully a time we can be together again and celebrate our sport and the resiliency of all of us,” she said. “I want to acknowledge the bravery and dedication of those who continue to believe in this event in the midst of uncertain times. The people who will bring it all to life, the people of Lethbridge, the host committee and the members of the Lethbridge Curling Club, the staff at the Enmax Centre and the many devoted volunteers, we know this event will be event will be hosted with both gratitude and pride.”
Lethbridge Mayor Chris Spearman welcomed the chance to show off Lethbridge with yet another major curling event.
“This is going to give us a chance to showcase our city, how we build on curling, how we invest in curling and how we inspire others to be part of the sport,” he said. “Thanks to our Lethbridge Curling Club for having the energy and enthusiasm in putting together and excellent bid. We have wonderful volunteers in our city who will support this. We’ve had a number of national and international curling events and they’ve all gone really well and had great community support. We’re looking forward to this and we can’t wait until March of 2022. It’s going to be a tremendous success.”
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