Some of the best curlers in the world will be descending on Red Deer as the 2016 Red Deer Classic World Curling Tour event gets set to kick off at the Red Deer Curling Club later this month.
“We’ve got 32 men’s teams and 22 women’s teams from across the globe,” said Red Deer Classic Organizing Committee director Dustin Eckstrand.
The event, which runs from Nov. 18th – 25th, will feature some of the biggest names in curling including several former Canadian and world champions.
“It’s the biggest curling event for Red Deer most years, aside from years when we host either a Brier or a Scotties, it’s about as big as it gets for us,” Eckstrand said, adding he wanted to thank the event’s sponsors for their contributions this year.
This year’s field of competitors includes a number of recognizable names on both the men’s and women’s sides, including three-time Brier champion and defending 2016 world champion Kevin Koe’s team, two-time world champion David Murdoch’s team of Scotland and defending Red Deer Classic champion Mick Lizmore’s rink on the men’s side.
On the women’s side, spectators will be able to see defending Scotties champion Chelsey Carey’s rink in action, a team which includes Red Deer product Jocelyn Peterman at second.
They’ll be in tough though, as the women’s field includes a large roster of top-notch competitors.
Defending Red Deer Classic champion Kelsey Rocque’s team makes their return to the Pidherney Centre ice while 2006 Olympic bronze medalist Shannon Kleibrink’s rink will also make an appearance.
“A lot of high-end — a lot of teams from the Slams that people watch on Sportsnet. You’re going to see a lot of those teams there for sure,” Eckstrand said, adding there will also be the chance to see local talent test their skills against some of the best curlers in the world.
“You get to see a combination of high-end curling and you also get to see local teams compete too,” he said, noting that when he says local, he’s referring more to Alberta teams.
“You do see upsets. You see Alberta teams that will be in the provincials this year compete with teams that you would see on the world stage, which is kind of neat. And the other nice thing is it’s right on your back door. You get to watch them play on your own club ice, which I think is kind of a neat experience for people.”
Eckstrand also noted one of the cool things about seeing some of these stars live, especially for people who curl themselves, is the ability to see how those curlers approach the game.
In addition, some of the proceeds from the event go to support junior curling.
“It’s a great way to support local curling and come out and see some high level curling talent.”