The country’s finest master’s level curlers are in Guelph this week for the 2017 Master’s Curling Canadian Championships. The eight sheets of ice at the Guelph Curling Club on Woolwich Avenue in the north end of the city are all in use. The semi-finals are on Saturday, the finals on Sunday.
Ticket sales have been brisk, organizers said Monday, as competition got underway. They were quick to point out that “The Iceman” Al Hackner, winner of the 2006 Canadian Senior Curler Championship, is among the competitors. Hackner represents Northern Ontario.
“This is a very big event for us to host,” said Tom Nolan, an event organizer with the Guelph Curling Club. He added that Guelph’s club was one of the few remaining eight-sheet rinks in the province.
There are 24 teams competing in the championship, 12 women’s teams, 14 men’s. Each team had to do a lot of winning to get to this stage, Nolan and fellow organizer Fred Quinton said. They had to win their way out of their respective regions and provinces in order to compete for the championship.
“We’re very impressed with the calibre of play,” Nolan said.
“It’s darn good curling,” Quinton said. “There have already been some surprises in the outcomes.”
There are 150 volunteers making the weeklong event happen. A committee of a dozen has been organizing it for about a year. About $60,000 was raised from sponsors, with Hy-Grade Steel Roofing being one of the largest supporters. Over 40 club members made donations to the event.
There are two host teams, Team Curtis from the Galt Curling Club on the women’s side, and Team Lyle from the St. Thomas Curling Club on the men’s. There are teams from all 10 provinces, and two of three territories.
“This is good for the club, and great for the community,” Quinton said. “Guelph is a good curling town.”
The club at 816 Woolwich Street had a good crowd to open the competition Monday morning.
Rogers is providing live-streaming of the event.