First we had the Scotties, then it was the Brier, and just the other week, it was the women’s world curling championships. This week, the men’s world curling championship takes centre stage. If you think this marks the end of the season, you would be wrong. In fact, your last chance this season to watch the best teams in the world battle for curling supremacy out on the ice is from April 16-21, when the Players’ Championship, the final event of the Grand Slam of Curling, takes to the ice.
Playing host to the thirty teams participating in the Players is the Mattamy Athletic Centre, which is the former Maple Leaf Gardens, in the heart of downtown Toronto. And the field is top notch. On the men’s side of the draw, we have teams skipped by Balsdon, Cotter, Edin, Epping, Frans, Gushue, Howard, Jacobs, Kean, Koe, Laycock, Martin, McEwen, Stoughton and Ulsrud. On the women’s side, we have teams Carey, Crocker, Homan, Jaeggi, Jones, Kleibrink, Lawton, Middaugh, Muirhead, Nedohin, Ott, Sidorova, Sigfridsson, Sonnenberg and Tirinzoni.
The stakes are higher than ever before, with a prize purse of $200,000. And there’s even more money on the line for Rachel Homan, winner of The Masters. Should she win the Players’ Championship, she would win a bonus of $100,000 for being a two-time winner on the women’s 2013 Slam series. (And I think she’d welcome the chance to play Eve Muirhead one more time this season, after suffering a heart breaking loss to Scotland in the semi-finals of the women’s world championships).
We have had Grand Slam curling in the greater Toronto area over the last five years, with Mississauga hosting the Masters in 2009, and Oshawa hosting the Canadian Open in 2011. But if you live in Toronto, the action is that much closer this time round: it is just a quick hop onto the subway, where you’ll head to College Station and from there it is a short walk to see the best curlers from Canada and around the world. There are four draws daily.
Tickets are now available for purchase for the full event as well as for each single draw. So, get on to Ticketmaster and get your tickets now! If you’re a member of a club that is part of the Toronto Curling Association, order your full event pass using the promo code for your club, and $25 of the purchase price will go back directly to your club. And just this week, Sportsnet announced that once full event ticket package sales hit $25,000, a $5000 bonus will be paid to the club who had the greatest percentage of its membership purchase a package. Wow!
End the season on a high note, enjoy world class curling in the heart of the city!