Thursday, November 24, 2011

Surprise! Edmonton gets the Brier

To the surprise of no one, the Brier is going back to Edmonton. And the Canadian Curling Association is already preparing an expansion to its vault to handle all the profits.

As Con Grikowsky states in his story, Edmonton is rightly the curling capital of the world. And Warren Hansen offers up a reason why:

“The fact teams from Edmonton, on the men’s side, have been very successful over the last 10-15 years has had a huge impact on the sport in this area,” said Warren Hansen, director of event operations for the Canadian Curling Association.

True, but come on Warren, just 10 or 15 years? Edmonton's dominance has to go back all the way to 1974, doesn't it? That was when it all started to roll. 

Seriously, there’s little doubt that when it comes to hosting big events, Edmonton is the centre of curling’s universe. It hosts the attendance record for the Brier, hosted a tremendous Olympic Trials and has has welcomed the world final too. But I might argue that when it comes to curling seeping into the culture of the community, Winnipeg might still lay claim to top spot. Or certainly a tie.

But back to Edmonton, which has owned the provincial spot in the Brier since back when Ed Lukowich was chewing on straw. With Ferbey, Martin and Koe all dominating for a period, it’s probably a good bet that the 2013 Brier will feature an Edmonton rink. I know, I’m going out on a limb there, right Ferbey?

“I’ll go on record and say it’ll probably be an Edmonton team at that Brier,” said Ferbey. “There’s still two great teams here. Koe’s still playing competitively. Martin’s still playing competitively. They ain’t getting any weaker than they were a couple of years ago."

It will also be the last Brier for one of the city’s own – if he makes it – Kevin Martin. He’s said he’ll retire after 2014 and the Olympics, should he make that again. That would put the date for hanging up his slider February 2014, meaning he wouldn’t play the 2014 Brier in March. Now if he doesn't make the Olympics? Perhaps he might change his timing. But 2013 would certainly would be a great Brier farewell for probably the best to ever toss a rock. 

With an Edmonton team in the fold, attendance records are possible. In Curtis Stock's piece in the Journal, Hansen even points to a number, saying he'd like to get to 300,000. The current record is 281,985. That really shouldn't be a problem. 

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