A 'great atmosphere': volunteers chip in at Pinty's Grand Slam tournament

For Thunder Bay's Joanne Kranyak and Janet Wright, this week's Pinty's Grand Slam curling tournament was a chance to give back.

Tournament wraps up on Sunday at Thunder Bay Tournament Centre

L-R Angela Kepes, Joanne Kranyak, and Janet Wright are volunteering at the Pinty's Grand Slam curling bonspiel in Thunder Bay. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

For Thunder Bay's Joanne Kranyak and Janet Wright, this week's Pinty's Grand Slam of Curling tournament was a chance to give back.

Both are volunteering at the event, which started Tuesday and wraps up Sunday.

For Wright, this week at the Thunder Bay Tournament Centre marks her fifth time at a Pinty's Grand Slam, but first as a volunteer.

She said the event is "extremely well-organized."

"We get to meet wonderful people, have a great time, give back to the community, watch some curling if we have a moment," Wright said. "It's great."

The Pinty's Grand Slam bonspiel is being played at the Thunder Bay Tournament Centre. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Both Wright and Kranyak were stationed at the tournament centre's box office area on Friday morning, both wearing the bright-red jackets that identify the event's volunteers. Both said the crowds had been large and enthusiastic as they watched the on-ice action.

"It's exciting to see the people that you see on TV here, in person," Kranyak said. "You can see the economic impact. The Best Western is really busy, the canteens here are busy, the Valhalla's busy, so it's just nice to see. There's people from Sioux Lookout, and Beardmore, and Terrace Bay all coming in for the weekend to enjoy the curling, so it's good for Thunder Bay."

But it's not just the fans making the trip. There are volunteers who've travelled long distances to help out at the Thunder Bay event, as well.

"I met people yesterday, two volunteers who live in Pickering, who came here because they have a sister-in-law here and they had a place to live," Wright said. "They've been volunteering for the last 20 years at international curling events all over the place, and they loved it here. They said that this is one of the best that they've ever been at."

Another volunteer, Kranyak said, is from Saskatchewan.

"Her mother lives here, so any type of volunteer event or community curling event, she comes down and volunteers and visits her mom and then heads back home," she said. "It attracts all sorts."