After months of planning and prep, Bruce Renwick and an army of Chilliwack Curling Club volunteers are ready to put on a show.
The 2019 Everest Canadian Senior Curling Championships come to Chilliwack this week, the first major event to be hosted by the CCC in their new home.
Renwick, the CCC manager, has been a supremely busy guy this week making sure the week-long event (March 22-29) goes off without a hitch.
“The building is getting better every day,” Renwick said. “There’s still the odd ideosincracy that needs to be addressed, but we’re 90 per cent there.
“With the state-of-the-art ice making facilities, the viewing that we have here, the space in the lounge and our restaurant — this is a building that’s ready to put on a really big event.”
At last count, Renwick had 145 volunteers signed up.
With so many helping hands, Chilliwack’s biggest curling fan thinks he might be able to relax and enjoy a few high-level matches.
“I’ve got lots of staff, so hopefully I’ll be able to enjoy it, and I’ll be providing colour-commentary for the CBC broadcast of this event,” he said. “That’s something I’ve done before at provincials, but never a national event so I’m looking forward to it.
“It’s mostly about filling in the blanks, and I’m sure they’ll have an announcer who will ask me some leading questions that will allow me to promote the club and the city a little bit and bring people back.”
It’s an interesting field coming to town.
Northern Ontario men’s skip Al Hackner, a two-time world champion, is one curler Renwick is keen to see.
‘The Iceman’ threw one of the most famous shots in Brier (Canadian men’s championship) history in 1985, a near-impossible shot that came to be down as the Al Hackner double (takeout).
Hackner has competed in nine career Briers, winning two.
“(Saskatchewan women’s skip) Sherry Anderson has won Canadian seniors three years in a row and last year won gold at worlds,” Renwick added. “Bruce Corte (Saskatchewan men’s skip) has participated in numerous Briers. We have some interesting people coming and it should be great curling.”
As for the teams representing B.C., Renwick has no idea which way the rocks will roll for men’s skip Wes Craig.
“Wes is known as a gambler. He either wins big or loses big and his games are always interesting to watch because he loves rocks in play,” Renwick noted. “On the women’s side, Marilou Richter is a very steady curler and I’d expect her and her very good team to be in the mix at the end of the week.”
Chilliwack stands to benefit greatly from the tournament, with an estimated $600,000-$800,000 flowing into local coffers through economic spinoffs.
Renwick says there are 600-800 hotel rooms booked.
“With the weather cooperating, people are going to be out in our community, wandering around and spending,” he said.
The event is free for spectators, with live entertainment nightly.
See curling.ca/2019seniors/ for a full draw and more info.