Fans, curlers eye Grand Slam


Enthusiasm in the curling community in Pictou County is revving up as momentum builds toward the fall and the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling Tour Challenge.

The event is scheduled for Pictou County Wellness Centre from November 5 through 10.

Donalda Buckingham and Jim Nix are co-chairing the organization that is planning and promoting the event.

“This is truly a Pictou County event,” Buckingham said. “We have been working with the four curling clubs in the county to begin the early recruitment of volunteers, and it will take a lot of volunteers. You don’t need to be a curler to volunteer and learn something new about the sport, so I encourage everyone to take a look to see how they can be involved.”

Nix said he anticipates good things in terms of entertainment and world-class curling.

He said it will be an opportunity, as well as a challenge, to secure the some 200 volunteers needed to host the event.

“We have a great base of people, but we need numbers from beyond the curling community,” he said. “We’re hoping we can fill this up by the end of March.”

Curling club presidents who attended the announcement expressed enthusiasm for the event.

“I think it’s great,” said Joel Sellers, president of the New Caledonian Curling Club in Pictou. “When the organizing committee started talking to us, everyone in the club was excited.”

Bluenose Curling Club president Marc Essiambre, an accomplished curler, said hosting the event will boost curling and the community.

“I think this is good for local curling clubs and the community,” he said. “This is the best of the best curlers we’ll be seeing and it’s nice to see this building known for something besides hockey.”

Nix said he’s glad to see the clubs’ positive response.

“We needed buy-in from the four curling clubs,” he said. “It’s been a pleasure to work with them.”

Kevin Martin, 2018 World Curling Hall of Fame inductee who will provide televised curling commentary for the event, expressed his enthusiasm for what’s ahead.

“This is going to be a lot of fun,” he said. “This is going to be great curling.”

Martin stressed what an opportunity it is for those contesting the Slam for the first time and the opportunity the second tire gives them.

“That’s the neat part,” he said. “You see the next (Brad) Gushue or the next Jennifer Jones. They’re sharpening their teeth. It means a lot to them to get on television and win. It’s great to see the sport doing so well. It’s a great time to be a great 15-year-old curler.”

Sponsorships are being secured at various funding levels for the curling event. Advocate Printing was announced as the single sponsor in the silver category.

Kevin Martin stands between Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling organizing committee co-chairpersons Donalda Buckingham, left, and Jim Nix. (Goodwin photo)