Calgary Curling is about to become a Mecca.
Curling Canada officially announced on Tuesday that the Scotts, Briar, men’s world championships and mixed doubles national championships will all be held at the Canada Olympics, following reports that CBC Sports has hosted the city of Alberta for the first time to several important bone spirals.
There is no timeline at this time when events occur.
There are also two Grand Slams of curling events for the Calgary Curling Bubble.
Curling said Canadian officials are in talks with government and health officials at all levels to move forward with a secure protocol, using the many lessons learned from the NHL and NBA bubbles.
See | CBC Sports Devin Herrox, Colleen Jones discuss Calgary Curling Hub:
With six-time Scottish winner Colin Jones on the rise in COVID-19 cases in Calgary, there are still concerns about how the incident could happen.
“This is great news for a lot of people,” Jones said. “On the other side of the coin, however, COVID cases are on the rise across the country, with much fear over how regional championships will take place.
“Provincial associations are currently meeting as we speak. Surveys are being conducted asking curlers how this should be.”
Curling received a request from Canada to host an international event in Canada, according to an email sent to CBC Sports by the Canadian Heritage Department – which will be the Men’s World Curling Championship.
“Plans to reduce the risk of import and spread of COVID – 19 in Canada will only be authorized if they provide strong protocols,” the email said.
“The authority is conditional on ongoing support from regional and local public health authorities and the regional government, as well as a risk mitigation plan developed and implemented by Curling Canada and assessed by Canada’s Public Health Agency.”
The curling frenzy often begins with the women’s curling crown ornament Scotis. All events are played without fans at The Markin Mockfile Center in Winsport’s Canada Olympic Park.
While there is still a lot of detail to be said about player and coach safety, Alberta Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Women’s Status Leila Sharon Ahir said it was a good thing for the province.
“This series Championship curling events is a fantastic opportunity for Alberta to show the world once again that the ability to host major Hub City sporting events is second to none,” she said.
“We look forward to providing an amazing and memorable curling experience for all players, participants and fans.”
The Scots were originally going to Thunder Bay in Camel, but the pandemic canceled those plans. Pre-event tickets sold out. However, the 2022 Scots got to the Thunder Bay.
Briar is going to play in Kilovana, but now it’s going to happen in Calgary Bubble as well. This is the first time the Scots and Briar have played in the same city in the same season.
‘I trust Curling Canada’
Defending Briar champion Brad Gushue was surprised to find a way to get Curling Canada curlers back safely into the pebble snow.
“Every player I spoke to wanted this to happen and [is] Glad it’s going to happen, “Gushue said.” I heard some players were a little hesitant, but they were very low and in the middle.
“I believe in doing Curling Canada in a safe way. Our team is on board.”
Gushue said his team had had several conversations about what life would be like in the Calgary bubble, including being away from family for almost two months.
“It’s very hard to swallow. To be honest, this is something we have discussed at length with our families,” Gushue said.
“There may be some teams that don’t do this. It’s hard to do when you love the sport and you want to compete.”
Gushu, who missed the Maple Leaf due to the epidemic in Scotland last year, hopes to retain his Briar title and regain his place in the Men’s World Championships.
See | Gushou was disappointed with the cancellation of the Curling World Championship:
“Losing the world championship is not the end of the world, but it makes you cry a little when you are a competitive curler,” he said.
“It weighs on me. There are times when people bring in worlds in the summer and it sucks that I’m not going there.”
Gushu also plans to play in the mixed doubles national championship and two Grand Slam events in the Calgary Bubble.
Preparing for a shortage of fans
Gushu is already preparing to grind curling for six to seven weeks in a row, there are no fans inside the arena to cheer him on.
“I eat genitals,” he said. “Not having them is a challenge for me. I’m working with our sports psychologist on how to handle it. I do not know how it affects me.”
Gushue says his Newfoundland and Labrador team have only played in two games this season – one season in their career.
And they couldn’t even be a full team.
Geoff Walker is in Alberta with his wife Laura and their newborn baby. Walker decided to stay in the province for two weeks before playing with Team Gushu because he did not want to leave and be detained.
“I still haven’t seen Geoff in person since the night we won Briar,” Gushue said. “How do we get together to practice and play?”
Regional restrictions make playdowns a puzzle
This is a question that many of the top curling teams in the country are asking these days, as most of these four players live at least one player from the province – the limits are different in every jurisdiction in the country, making it very challenging to get curlers together on the ice.
This brings up the issue of regional playdowns.
As many provinces impose strict rules around conventions, curling associations are trying to make plans to securely and fairly elect regional and regional delegates to attend both national championships.
The announcement of this Calgary Curling Bubble from the Roar of the Rings Olympic qualifiers will take place in Saskatoon from November to December.
This is a crucial quadrilateral for Canadian curling as the men’s and women’s teams will not be able to reach the podium for the first time at the 2018 Olympics.