Today, the Canadian Curling Association announced that it’s taking its big shoot-out to Kamloops. The Tim Hortons Brier is headed to the BC interior and the Interior Savings Centre.
While this had been rumoured for a while, the announcement is still a little surprising. It’s not that the fine folks in Kamloops won’t do a great job – they’ve hosted big curling events in the past. It’s that Kamloops would be regarded as a smaller centre for hosting the Brier. The arena only holds 6,000 spectators. By my accounting, that will make it the smallest arena to host the big rock show since, well, since Kamloops back in 1996.
It was really the following year when the Brier went to Calgary that the era of big arenas took over. Two years ago, it was held in London, which had a capacity of about 8,000 which was considered small.
So why Kamloops? A few reasons probably. First, you can only go back to the same old places time after time. After you’ve done the Calgary-Edmonton-Regina-Winnipeg circuit, those places get burned out from both a hosting and ticket sale capacity.
Second is that it helps the game to go to smaller centres once in a while, places which have supported the game. Kamloops was the longtime host of the Canada Cup and also was the site of the 1998 World Curling Championships.
Finally, with the CCA flush again these days and with an Edmonton Brier all but certain to fill the coffers to the brim, it’s possible to take a chance on a championship that might not make money. Of course using that theory, you might say it would be the right time to take a more dramatic step and host the event in a bigger centre, such as Vancouver or Toronto. Perhaps that’s down the road.
But more than likely, this will give hope to other smaller centres who’ve been interested in getting a Brier. Places such as Brandon.
I’m sure there will be a lot of eyes on the event and the bottom line in Kamloops. It might open the door to a different circuit of host sites.
You can read the CCA's press release on the announcement here.