Penticton impresses during Continental Cup

Kim Kirkham wasn’t ready to talk about hosting another curling event yet.

As the 2013 World Financial Group Continental Cup wound down in Penticton at the South Okanagan Events Centre, she was more than happy to express her thoughts on that.

Between skins games on Sunday, Kirkham, the host committee chair, said she’s glad to have an event like this under their belt. The experience from their efforts gives them a better understanding on how to host other events.

“We really didn’t know going into it just the magnitude of it,” said Kirkham.

The local organizing committee, which consisted of 268 volunteers, received praise from the Canadian Curling Association and players.

“It was a great event. I think the committee here did a fabulous job,” said CCA director of event operations Warren Hansen. “This is a great complex. I think we had a very exciting competition.”

Hansen said they would have liked a few more people attending, however, he said he thought they were close to 2,000 fans  a draw which to him is pretty good.

“Certainly it was respectable,” he said “It’s difficult with an event of this nature that is quite short compared to what we normally do (eight-day events). If it doesn’t come out hard right out of the gate it hurts us a bit, but certainly the last two days in all aspects the event has been great.”

Team World’s Eve Muirhead, skip for Scotland, said the event was top notch.

“There are so many helpful volunteers, everything you did, anyone could do anything to help you,” said Muirhead. “This competition was run so smooth. Overall, I think it was a fantastic event. The crowd was great. I was at the Continental Cup last year and I would say it was even better than the one last year.”

Team North America’s Craig Savill also said the crowds were great.

“The crowds were the best crowds that we’ve seen at a Continental Cup,” said Savill, lead on Glenn Howard’s rink.

“I think it was pretty darn good,” said Kevin Martin. “They were definitely loud. Penticton should be very proud of themselves. I hope the club and the organizing committee goes out of it with some money too for the local group.”

While Kelowna hosted the Canadian Open of Curling in early December, Kirkham said she hoped that event wouldn’t have a bad impact on the Continental Cup attendance-wise.

“I think if you’re a curling fan, and an event is this close to your hometown, I think you would come to it,” said Kirkham. “I’m hoping maybe it was a bit of a spin off.”

To her the event went fantastic from all aspects. She said fans loved it.

“Some people have come out to watch and have never seen a curling game,” said Kirkham. “They wanted to come out and watch the game and see these world-class athletes play.”

Hansen said Penticton is ideal to host future CCA events.

“Penticton could host everything we do except the Brier,” said Hansen, who received positive feedback from spectators. “Penticton is great to hold anything.”

Next year’s WFG Continental Cup is being staged outside of Canada for the first time as Orleans Arena in Las Vegas will host it from Jan. 16 to 19, 2014.

Hansen said the idea behind going there is providing a little spark.

“I think curling in the United States is firmly embedded in many peoples mind as a result of the Olympics,” he said. “There is a very deep awareness of it. We’re of the opinion that this might be the spark that gets things ignited down there. If curling starts to become a little more popular, stronger in the United States, is only good for Canada.”












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