World curling competition lures hundreds to Fredericton
April 13-20 championship estimated to net province $2.5M in revenue
Curlers from more than 30 countries arrive in Fredericton this week for the the 2013 World Mixed Doubles and Senior Curling Championships.
Event co-chair Steve Kelly said organizers and volunteers have been working since last May to prepare for the competition at the Grant-Harvey Centre.
He said 350 curlers, coaches and interpreters are expected over the coming week. There will also be many others on hand for the event.
"There's family and friends, and so the world has set their sights on Fredericton for that whole 10-day span and we're expecting this wonderful Grant-Harvey complex of 2,000, 2,500 seats to be jam-packed," said Kelly.
Given the number of countries and athletes competing, the World Curling Federation estimates this will be one of the largest international curling events ever held.
While several countries with long curling histories will be present, there will also be newcomers to the sport.
"Certainly countries such as Canada, Scotland, and Sweden are very well established, but it's exciting to see the sport catching on in places like Spain and New Zealand," said local organizing committee chair Wayne Tallon in a news release.
"Those of us who have grown up with the game have always had a special appreciation for both the competition and the friendships that are built," he said. "And now, to have that fraternity growing at such a pace, it's very satisfying for everyone involved."
Kelly estimates the international competition will mean a $1.5-million boost to Fredericton's economy and another $1 million for the province.
"The hotels, the main ones that are involved with us, are already reporting being sold out for that whole April 10th to the 20th period. I'm sure that the restaurants and the amenities around Fredericton are going to be just absolutely buzzing that week," said Kelly.