By Mark Squibb | Vol. 32 No. 20 (July 31 2019)
Grand Slam Curling is returning to Conception Bay South and the town welcomed it in a big way this past weekend.
The Town and Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling hosted the first ever Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling Community Fest at the CBS Arena to promote the 2019 Boost National, which is coming back to the rink Dec. 10 – 15 after a successful run at the venue last year.
The Boost, one of four majors on the curling circuit, will feature 15 of the best international men’s and women’s curling teams.
Teams will compete for points toward the Pinty’s Cup, awarded to the overall season champions, and $250,000, as well as a spot at the Humpty’s Champions Cup in Olds, Alta.
Team Ross Paterson of Scotland and Ottawa’s Team Rachel Homan are the current champs.
Olympic gold medalists Brad Gushue and Jamie Korab, along with Olympic gold medalist and World Curling Hall of Fame inductee Kevin Martin, were at the July 27 event in Kelligrews to highlight the coming action.
Korab lead a question and answer period, probing Gushue and Martin about their curling memories, the future of the sport, and how the sport has evolved.
“The last 10 years have really changed. And I think part of (the reason for) that is the Grand Slam,” Gushue said. “We get to compete so much on TV that we get a lot more exposure. Even after we won the Olympics and I travelled around the country, you got recognised a little bit, but certainly the last couple of years, because we’ve had six or seven Slam events, plus the Brier, plus some other TV events, the amount that we get noticed has increased drastically. And I think that’s great for the players, because it provides us a lot of opportunities for sponsorships and opportunities to travel the world. We’ve been to China, Korea, Russia, which probably wasn’t happening 20 years ago in the sport. And that’s going to continue to grow.”
The audience also had a chance to meet the ‘rock stars’ and ask questions of their own.
The nearly $17,000 in monies raised from the 2018 Boost National 50/50 draws was also distributed to seven local non-profits.
St. John’s Ambulance received $3,000; the CBS Library Board received $2,892; the CBS – Paradise Food Bank received $2,892; the CBS Skating Club received $2,000; Conception Bay Regional Hockey received $2,000; the Conception Bay Junior Renegades received $2,000; and the Conception Bay Senior Blues received $2,000.
There were also bouncy castles on site, face painting, free hotdogs, and live entertainment.