For the second time in less than a month the curling spotlight in our province is shining directly on Central Alberta.
After Sylvan Lake hosted the provincial women’s championship, in January, Lacombe is home to the Alberta Boston Pizza Cup where the best men’s rinks will battle for a berth in the brier.
“It’s pretty important to our members and to the community to have an event like this,” said former Lacombe Curling Club manager Colin Hodgson.
He was part of a large committee of volunteers who put together the bid to host this prestigious event and he is also a member of the Charlie Thomas rink from Calgary so he’s involved on the ice where he honed some curling skills as a kid.
“It’s kind of a dream. It’s nice to be able to play in front of friends and family because they don’t necessarily get to make the trek out to some of the venues we play at,” said Hodgson.
But it’s not really a home ice advantage situation for Hodgson as the ice they will play on is created under the roof of the main hockey arena in Lacombe while the curling rink is transformed into a lounge area.
“Jamie Bourassa is here, he’s making the ice and he is one of the best ice technicians in the world. He’s done briers and world championships so it’s not going to be bad by any means. It’s going to be really great ice. That’s going to be guaranteed.”
Another guarantee you can throw out there is the level of curling ticket holders are going to witness with defending champion Kevin Martin and another former provincial, Canadian and world champion Kevin Koe in the field.
Package that up in a cozy barn like the Lacombe Arena and you have the recipe for a great five days of action on the four sheets of ice.
“It’s going to be a fairly electric atmosphere with the small building,” said Hodgson.
“Once you get into the big buildings sometimes it’s not an ideal situation but in small building like this, let’s pack the place and it’s going to get loud in here. It’s really great to have fan interaction so we want to hear it. The cheers and jeers are sometimes not a bad thing for us.”
The curling runs until Feb. 9th.