The Red Deer Curling Classic has hit the City with a couple of different looks over the years but the common denominator has been the talent.
This year 32 men’s teams and 28 women’s teams will take to the ice at the Pidherny Centre Nov. 14th-17th.
“We’re up over last year and looking at what’s happening on the tour there hasn’t been an event so far that’s had more than 20 ladies’ teams or 24 men’s team,” said Wade Thurber, spokesperson for the classic. “We feel pretty fortunate to get what we’ve got.”
On the men’s draw you’ll get to see the defending champion Brock Virtue who will enter play with world junior champion Charlie Thomas throwing stones for him.
Brendan Botchee is also in the draw along with another classic champion Jamie King.
The women’s draw will feature Rachel Homan, Kelly Scott, Heather Nedohin and Shannon Kleibrink, all strong rinks, said Thurber.
He said it’s still going to take some very good curling to win it all but he admits some more big name rinks would have been nice to slot into the draw.
Thurber points out while the money and competition is solid at this event there are those rinks who are chasing the bigger purses and so getting them to come to Red Deer can be a tough sell.
“It’s getting harder because they keep making more grand slam events and so that’s bigger money and on television,” he said. “There’s five of them now and we actually had to change our date this year because they put one of those grand slams on our date.”
There is an international flavour to the classic as well with rinks from Switzerland, South Korea and Russia taking part along side some of the local talent showing up to test their skill with rinks like Dustin Eckstrand, Lowell Peterman and Harvey Kelts in the mix.
From a spectator’s perspective, Thurber said you will get to see these players arriving without a lot of rust on them after the summer even though it’s early November.
“These teams have been curling since September so it should be some good curling,” he said. “When these teams come here most of them will have had two months under their belt.”
So the bottom line is decent prize money, a first class facility, great ice and some stiff competition.
It all adds up to another solid Red Deer Curling Classic.
The first draw is Nov. 14th at 9:30 a.m.