Pintys Grand Slam of Curling
by Scott A. Sumner
It had been 16 years since this level of curling had been to Thunder Bay and the local fans were out in force to see the best curlers in the world!
This event series started in 2003 when the guys kind of boycotted the Brier for a few years to get the attention of the CCA back then. The players are now treated much better. There has been a few
management transitions in between with the players running it to ice sport and now since 2012 the broadcaster Sportsnet bought the property and owns the Grand Slam of Curling, said Pierre Charette, Competition Director for the Grand Slam of Curling. There is a management team in place to run these events in which I am contracted to be a part. We have 7 events with both men and womens competitions with 15 teams each usually, except for the elite 10 event we have and the Canadian Open has a 16 team. This Thunder Bay event duplicates the exact conditions with a tier 2 division as well, to give them more curlers a taste of what the grand slams are all about and get them motivated to move up and take the next step. The last few years tier 2 winners are now in tier 1, so it has been a good stepping event.
The last time this event was held in Thunder Bay was in 2002 when Pierre Charette played in the event at the Fort William Gardens. I have played curling in Thunder Bay many times before but it has
been 16 years since then and your airport is much better now! said Charette.
The prize purse for the Pintys Grand Slam of Curling is $300,000 in total with $100,000 in each Tier 1 for the men and women and $50,000 in Tier 2. The winners of Tier 1 get $25,000. The teams pay an entry
fee of $1000 to $1200. If they win each each game in the round robinand dont advance to the playoffs they win $ 2000 in Tier 1 and and $1000 in Tier 2.
The live broadcast around the world started Thursday with curling from Thunder Bay and we are the only curling event this weekend. We get great numbers for SportsNet even in the afternoon matches. This is live curling with the best teams in the world. said Charette. Today I am sending out the invitations for our next event in December in Newfoundland and we always have the best field possible. This weekend
in Thunder Bay we have the Shuster Mens 2016 Olympic Golf Medal team, Brad Gushue and Dean are here. You have to go at least 2 and 2 in the round robin to get in a playoff.
Thunder Bays Krista McCarvelle had a difficult event but won her last game.
I love curling, played this game for about 30 years, but havent for the last 5 years. This position is a way for me to stay close to the game. Ive played against all these teams in the past and was the
oldest t guy on tour. It is nice to see the new teams coming up. said Charette. In this series we try different things like the 5 rock rule that came from us and make the games so much better with more action .
The Thunder Bay Tournament Centre is a fantastic venue for this event according to Charette. Having the two ice sheets connected is fabulous for me as I stagger the draws by 30 minutes and can just walk
100 feet to the other side to keep an eye on the games. The ice here is amazing so far. The colder it is outside the better it is for the ice inside. Players like it consistent all week.
The economic impact is great for Thunder Bay. You are talking about 240 curlers with their entourage- the trainers, coach, and families spending a week here. They have to stay here, get out and eat and maybe have a drink. It also gets the people out as we havent been here for 16 years. Thunder Bay is a great curling town and Im amazed it took so long to come back. Im sure it wont take that long again to
return. notes Pierre Charette.