When the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling stop in Grande Prairie next month, it will be the largest ever event for the tour. There will be 64 teams taking part in the HearingLife Tour Challenge, with previous events maxing out at 60.
The event was originally slated to happen in November 2020, and will finally come to the city from October 18th to 23rd at the Coca-Cola Centre. Two-time Olympic champion and Edmonton-born curler Kevin Martin was in the Swan City Wednesday to kick off the celebration, and says Grande Prairie and regional curling fans will be in for a treat.
“That’s the biggest event the Grand Slam of Curling has ever put on, so it’s a major undertaking, a huge amount of volunteers. These are all the best teams in the world that are here, the ice will be fantastic, lots of curl, lots of high scoring games, it’s something that we are really looking forward to.”
The event, which is being put on thanks to a co-sponsorship between the Grande Prairie Curling Centre and City of Grande Prairie, will also feature more than a handful of local athletes including Jordan Steinke, Andrew Dunbar from Grande Prairie, Fahler’s Kyla Skrlik, as well as Scott Webb, Janais DeJong, and Kristie Moore from Sexsmith.
With several hundred people from around the world visiting Grande Prairie for the tour, the economic impact is pegged at more than $3 million. Martin says athletes on the circuit know and enjoy plying their craft in this part of the world, and it’s more than just the facilities that make them want to continue to come back.
“But the biggest thing when it comes to Grande Prairie is just how friendly everyone is, and that’s what the curlers have come to know. 170 volunteers already? That is a huge number.”
Those interested in adding to the volunteer numbers can get in touch with the Grande Prairie Curling Centre. There will be 22 draws needing between 70 and 80 volunteers each.