I was back on the ice for a regular curling game the other night, my first in three years. Owing to injuries and a son who played hockey all over hell’s half acre, I haven’t slipped the slider on for some time and it showed – my poor skipper!
Anyway, several of the guys on the ice are involved in the Grey Power World Cup and said things are going along swimmingly except that the icemakers aren’t getting in quite as soon as they hoped. They will be about eight to 10 hours behind sked when they get the surface so you wonder if that will affect the early draws.
Aside from that, I hear ticket sales are quite strong with lots of interest in recent weeks.
The last curling event in the Hershey Centre was the 2003 Ontario men’s final and from an attendance standpoint, it flopped. (From a financial standpoint, it was a winner as there was great sponsorship in place.) But that was during the era of the boycott and there was no star power to speak of. This time, with five top Canadian men’s teams in place, it’s nice to see the Toronto curling community – one of the biggest in Canada, if not the biggest – responding.
I’ll bet that outside of David Murdoch, however, not many of the international teams are known personally, just by the fact they’re representing a country.
It’s also nice to see that the folks behind the event have gone where no Brier has dared go and scheduled matches at times that will draw the biggest crowds. For instance, all five Canadian teams are on the ice for the opening draw, none playing each other. Thursday night you have Gushue vs. Howard; Friday night it’s Martin vs. Ferbey.
I talked to Glenn Howard about the shootout last week and he’s pumped for it as I imagine all the players are.
It’s all pointing towards a great event.