Estevan is back in the national sports spotlight.
The Home Hardware Canada Cup curling competition is in town until Dec. 9. It has brought eight of the best women’s curling teams and seven of the best men’s teams in the country to Estevan for five days of fantastic curling.
It’s the second marquee curling event to come to Estevan this year. The SaskTel Tankard was here in January and February, and that was a great event.
But the Canada Cup is an even bigger notch in the belt for curling in Estevan. It’s a marquee national sporting event with a deep field. TSN will be here to televise all of the action.
The stars we have seen at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and the Tim Hortons Brier each year will be in Estevan.
It will be a great showcase for our hospitality sector, for Affinity Place, for our people, for curling in Estevan and for the community as a whole.
Hopefully the Estevan area will embrace this opportunity.
For starters, we hope to see lots of fans at Affinity Place. When we see footage of the seats at Affinity Place, we want to see lots of people in the stands. Granted, it will be tough for the 9 a.m. and the 2 p.m. draws on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to be at capacity. People have jobs.
And while it’s great that local school students will be able to attend those draws and watch some of the great curling, they won’t be able to fill all of the seats.
We definitely want to see big crowds for the evening and weekend contests.
We certainly hope that the people coming to Estevan for the Canada Cup will marvel at Affinity Place, like so many before them have. We hope the ice will be great.
We hope the community will roll out the red carpet for the curlers, for those travelling with the curlers, the officials, the Curling Canada representatives, and even the TSN crews. Let them know you’re happy they’re here and that they’ll enjoy their stay.
This is a big event for the restaurants and the hotels in Estevan. It could also be a big event for our retail sector.
When you have an event like the Canada Cup, you get a big economic spinoff. People are coming to the city who normally wouldn’t be here. And while the visit is just for a few days, it’s still money for local businesses that wouldn’t be there otherwise.
Finally, it’s a great week for the curling club. Granted, the games themselves will be at Affinity Place, rather than the Power Dodge Curling Centre. But the social area will be in the curling club, so curlers will still be visiting the rink.
It’s a chance for these curlers coming into Estevan to get to know the people who compete, volunteer and work at our curling club on a weekly basis.
(On an unrelated note, thankfully the curling club received a makeover and some fresh paint for its exterior earlier this year. The double green colour scheme had to go).
We expect the Canada Cup will have a strong social element, which is a beautiful part of the sport.
The curlers who will be in Estevan are among the best in the world. Their precision and their skill when throwing the rocks the length of a sheet of ice, often with minimal margin of error, is sensational.
But once the games are done, and the day is finished, most curlers are more than willing to laugh and socialize and interact with the public, sign autographs for fans and help promote the sport to youths.
Estevan has shown it can host the big events. It has had multi-sport events like the Saskatchewan Summer Games, hockey showdowns like the Western Canada Cup, and other events like conferences and concerts.
We have shown that we can host the biggest event in Saskatchewan curling.
Now it’s time to prove that we can host one of the biggest events in Canadian curling.
If we succeed, then this won’t be the last time we get a big curling event in the city. In fact, they might even get bigger.