The reason Victoria will host the World Men’s Curling Championships in 2013 isn’t complicated: the city’s well-liked.
“(The World and Canadian Curling associations) love Victoria. For them to come back here again within eight years tells you how much they like it,” said Keith Dagg, chair of the event.
Key to winning back the championship, which Victoria first hosted in 2005, is the prime location of the Victoria Curling Centre. The centre, formerly known as the Victoria Curling Club, does more than share a parking lot with the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
“Our facility will be the entertainment hub for the event, providing a refreshment garden and entertainment,” said curling centre general manager Bill Chester. “The tourney goes all week and there’s time to fill between the three draws per day.”
Chester was vice-chair for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian Women’s Championship at Memorial Centre in 2009, overseeing the curling centre’s Heart Stop Lounge. He’ll likely be involved in a similar role in 2013, and will be one of the hundreds of curling centre members who’ll pitch in.
“It takes around 700 volunteers to make the event happen and the curling centre will generate two thirds of that,” Chester said. “We did the same thing in 2005 and 2009.”
In terms of numbers, Victoria’s is the biggest curling club in B.C. with 927 members registered in 2010.
“We’ve remained strong over the years, with the World Men’s, Scotties and Olympics all helping that,” Chester said.
“And the Canadian Curling Association has even stated that events like this would not happen in Victoria if our facility wasn’t located where it is,” added Chester.
Victoria has yet to put a men’s team into the world championships, though numerous women’s and junior teams have represented Canada nationally and internationally.
But the region isn’t without its favourites.
Back in February, Victoria’s Neil Dangerfield rink (Dennis Sutton, Darren Bowden and Glen Allen) came close to making the Brier men’s Canadian championships when they suffered a narrow 6-4 loss in the provincial final to Jim Cotter (Kelowna).
The Victoria Curling Centre plays a major role in developing the game locally by hosting a school curling program with 2,000 kids last yearb as well as hosting the Optimist Club of Victoria’s high school curling league, which had 22 teams, Chester said.
Tickets for the 2013 World Men’s are expected to go on sale in March.