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National curling tournament will rock Summerside

Summerside Scene
by Peggy Miles

Silver Fox (photo: Peggy Miles)The last time the Canadian Seniors Curling Championship was hosted in Summerside, Colleen Pinkney’s third stone broke the zipper on her Nova Scotia team jacket in the middle of a game. She asked a volunteer if there was a place in town where she could take it for a fix. “Leave it with me,” said the volunteer who rushed out to the shop of a downtown seamstress. The zipper was fixed and the jacket returned to the Nova Scotia player in time for the next end of curling.

And that is precisely why Summerside has upheld its reputation as Canada’s Tournament Town, known as the little city that can host big events.

That last national senior curling championship was hosted back in 2009 and the volunteer who took care of the jacket was Irene Delaney. Her husband Carl is the Chairperson for this year’s event, returning to Summerside and the Silver Fox Curling & Yacht Club from March 16—24. He gave me an update recently about his committee’s plans in these weeks and days leading up to the event.

Carl tells me that the Fox is the only curling club in Canada that will have hosted the Canadian Seniors three times – a vote of confidence from the Canadian Curling Association and a testament to Summerside’s ability to host major sporting events.

Featuring both men’s and women’s play, there will be 96 competitors on the ice during the 9 day event. “Other than the Scotties and the Brier, this is the best curling you’re going to get” says Delaney. He’s right—the event boasts former Scotties and Brier participants and champions (and even Olympians like Russ Howard who played for Team New Brunswick at the 2009 event in Summerside). Even though the word “senior” may evoke an image of curlers past their prime, make no mistake about it—the quality of curling will be top notch. It’s a terrific opportunity for curlers young and old to interact with Canada’s curling elite.

Spouses and family members will accompany the players and the influx of visitors to Summerside will be evident around town. The economic spin-off for the event is expected to be over 1.5 million dollars—a welcome boost for Summerside and the province in the winter season.

Carl says that the event would not be possible without the support of an “excellent volunteer core”. Over 150 local curlers and community members will serve as timers, statisticians, drivers, hospitality ambassadors, entertainment coordinators and much more. The event is guided by a host committee of 18 members.

Carl is a familiar face at the Fox. He’s been in the business of organizing national sporting events for a long time. “Summerside is a sports capital…it’s important that we keep that reputation going.” Count this latest event as a checkmark on the community’s long list of hosting accomplishments.

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