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Curling provincials light at end of long tunnel for local club

Working on plans for the 2022 Alberta men’s and women’s curling provincials has put some pep in the step of the Grande Prairie Curling Centre. It was announced Wednesday that the city would be hosting the Boston Pizza Cup and Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts next January at the events centre downtown, formerly known as Revolution Place.

The curling centre had applied to host the 2022 Scotties in its facility back in January 2020. While Chair of the Organizing Committee Ray Mildenberger admits it was disappointing to see that plan fall through, they’re excited to be part of an even bigger event in a location that has held multiple major curling events successfully.

“We have to understand that the curling centre wouldn’t have any… grandstands or things like that so we wouldn’t be able to have crowds and, of course, we are, fingers crossed, going to be able to have crowds at Revolution Place.”

Although the curling will take place in the arena, there will be social events held at the curling centre as well.

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The 2015 Home Hardware Canada Cup and the 2016 Scotties were held at Revolution Place, along with the 2006 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship. Executive Director of the Grande Prairie Curling Centre Colin Griffith notes that on top of the city’s experience hosting major curling events, it also has hundreds of volunteers excited to roll out the red carpet.

“We have a tremendous fan base in the area and we have a whole host of curlers that love hosting and volunteering and putting on and staging events, so it’s just nothing but positive.”

Griffith adds that, after a year that has seen very little curling action due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a major event on the horizon gives them and the region something to look forward to.

“We think it’s going to develop into a very positive benefit to the community and, after the pandemic and what’s been happening with our community, it should be a very bright light at the end of what’s been a significantly long tunnel.”

The tournaments are expected to have an economic impact on the city as well, drawing in teams and fans, and create exposure for junior curling programs. It should also mean a financial boost for the centre putting them on.

Both men’s and women’s provincials will run January 3 – 9, 2022. It will be the first time they have been combined.

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