It’s time to rock on in Port Elgin as a week of world-class curling begins with the start of the 2023 Tankard/Scotties Provincial championships presented by Bruce Power and the Port Elgin Curling Club.
The week began on Monday, January 23rd, with a meet-and-greet in Rotary Hall at the Plex that gave fans, volunteers and curlers a chance to get together before the opening ceremonies.
“An event like this could never happen without the volunteers,” said Steering Committee Chair Doug Flowers. “We have 245 volunteers who are covering every aspect of the week’s event.”
MC Dave Middleton also informally interviewed each of four top players, Austin Snider, Jamie Smith, Rachel Homan and Glen Howard.
For larger view, Click on Image
Austin Snider is competing before his team is off to the World’s Jr. championships in Germany. “This is a good opportunity to get in some really good games before we head off,” said Snider. Jamie Smith added that “It’s very exciting to be here and to see if we stack up against the other teams and some of the best curlers in the world.|
Rachel Homan, who has a young daughter said that “… all curlers at this level make sacrifices when it comes to family but we are doing what we love.”
Glenn Howard, who admitted to turning 60 years of age, said that he has played in more than 40 events. “The last two (Tankards) in Port Elgin have been the most organized and most sponsored of any I have participated in. Kudos to the community and the many volunteers. No location has ever held two Tankards in a row so this says a lot and maybe we can look at number three.” When asked if the day would come when he would stop competing, he said that he loves playing with his son, Scott. “I love being out on the ice and competing but when the fun is gone that’s when I’ll quit.”
Fourteen local clubs in the region are also benefitting from this year’s ticket sales as fans had the opportunity when buying a ticket to specify a club they would like to help out. Local clubs divided $10,500 this year which was 25 per cent of ticket profits. The event has sold 85 per cent of tickets with some daily and game tickets remaining at the door.
In addition, six local charities will also benefit from the proceeds of all 50/50 tickets sold throughout the week.
At the Opening Ceremony, stands were full as curling fans came out to watch as the teams were lead in with the traditional piping by bagpiper Steve Wolfe and flag bearers.
A moving rendition of the National Anthem was performed in three languages by Saugeen First Nation performer Christine John – Ojibway, English and French, and was accompanied in Sign language by Brielle Hagen
Before the traditional ceremonial opening rock was thrown by major sponsor Port Elgin Chrysler’s Craig Beck, with sweepers Saugeen First Nation Chief Conrad Ritchie and Deputy Mayor Diane Huber, as Bruce Power’s Maggie Tieman directed the play, Deputy Mayor Diane Huber welcomed everyone on behalf of the Mayor and Council and the community.
“We understand that many of you (curlers) brought friends and family and we appreciate your coming to our community,” said Huber.
Following the Opening Ceremony it was time for play to begin as the ladies took to the ice to begin the Scotties qualifying games.
In the featured game, Rachel Homan of the Ottawa Curling Club stole 4 in the 5th end on the way to a 10-2 win over Susan Froud of the Alliston Curling Club.
Other winners included Hollie Duncan, Isabelle Ladouceur, Carly Howard, and Lauren Mann.
The Tuesday morning draw at 9:30 a.m. includes the start to the men’s Tankard side, most notably featuring games with Glenn Howard and John Epping.
Then, at 2:30 p.m., Mike McEwen sees his first action.
At 7:30 p.m., Glenn Howard returns to the ice as does Rachel Homan.
Day and game tickets are available at the door.