Jennifer Jones

Grand Slam season centres on Cranbrook

Curling club gears up for Cranbrook's biggest ever sporting event.

  • Oct. 26, 2016 7:00 a.m.

Trevor Crawley

The Grand Slam of Curling Tour Challenge is only a few weeks away and it’s looking like the city will meet its sponsorship requirements, according to Rick O’Neill, the president of the Cranbrook Curling Club.

O’Neill says the club has raised $129,000 and must top $140,000 to fulfill contractual obligations to Sportsnet, which is organizing and broadcasting the event.

O’Neill delivered his update to Cranbrook city council on Monday evening.

“Everyone’s well aware that Cranbrook is notorious for selling tickets at the last minute,” said O’Neill. “Last Monday to this Monday we sold $10,000 worth [of tickets.

“So if we have $11,000 for the next three weeks … either way, we will definitely break even and I’m only talking on sponsorship payment. We have to write a cheque to Sportsnet right after this.”

A few local sponsors include the Ktunaxa Nation, Denham Ford and Great Canadian Liquor Store, among others.

Two last minute sponsors came in on Monday, however, Friday was the cutoff deadline set by Sportsnet. O’Neill says that he almost has to pick and choose local sponsors as Sportsnet has signed national contracts with large corporations and don’t want to have any conflicts with those deals.

To date, there have been 586 week and weekend ticket packages sold at a value of $96,000. Tickets can be purchased at www.tickets.cranbrook.ca, at the Western Financial Place Administration Office or by phoning 250-426-7328.

Councillor Tom Shypitka, a former competitive curler who has competed in the Brier — the Canadian Men’s national championship — voiced his excitement for the event.

“We gotta get it out there,” Shypitka said. “We have 586 packages sold right now, which is great. I think Cranbrook is notorious for those last-minute sales and I just want to try to get everyone encouraged and see if we can help out in away way.”

O’Neill says there are nine volunteer committees tackling issues such as transportation, marketing, Serving-It-Right, and security. More volunteers are always appreciated; if anyone is interested in getting involved, contact the Curling Club through their website at www.cranbrookcurlingcentre.com.

The Cranbrook Curling Centre will the the social hub of the event, while Western Financial Place and the Memorial Arena host the curling draws.

O’Neill says that the curling centre will host The Trews on Monday and have DJ’s on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday will feature the Mile High Club, Friday will feature the Chevelles and Saturday will include Mocking Shadows.

The curling will get started with one draw on Tuesday evening, while Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will have four draws throughout the day. Saturday will be the semifinals with finals on Sunday.

The curlers will include 60 professional teams from across the world as 30 men’s and 30 women’s teams will be in Cranbrook to compete in the Grand Slam’s biggest event.

There will be two tiers of competition; 15 men’s and 15 women’s teams in the top tier, with the same breakdown in the bottom tier. Team placement in the tier system is determined by Grand Slam rankings.

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