Penticton scores Continental Cup curling event

Kim Kirkham visioned bringing a large curling tournament to Penticton, but she had no idea what was coming.

Kim Kirkham watches as Warren Hansen

Kim Kirkham watches as Warren Hansen

Kim Kirkham visioned bringing a large curling tournament to Penticton, but she had no idea what was coming.

Kirkham, who is heavily involved with the Penticton Curling Club, approached the Canadian Curling Association about hosting a national event.

Instead, Penticton is getting something bigger — the 2013 World Financial Group Continental Cup — an international tournament started in 2003.

“It’s a big event,” said Kirkham, who is the host committee chair of the event scheduled for Jan. 10 to 13 at the South Okanagan Events Centre. “Cream of the crop. Very fortunate. We thought maybe the Scotties. We don’t think the venue here is big enough for the Brier but it could definitely host a Scotties.”

When Kirkham learned what Penticton had landed, she was filled with “huge” excitement.

“This is really, really big,” she said. “Six best teams from North America and six best form the World. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Warren Hansen, director of event and media relations for the Canadian Curling Association, made the announcement in the Vault at the South Okanagan Events Centre this afternoon.

The unique four-day international curling competition features a variety of disciplines.

“In conjunction with our event partners from both the United States Curling Association and the World Curling Federation, it is certainly a great opportunity to host the Continental Cup in the beautiful City of Penticton,” said chief executive officer of the Canadian Curling Association Greg Stremlaw. “Our site visits during the event review process clearly established that both the community and South Okanagan Events Centre are world class and we look forward to sharing the highly entertaining World Financial Group Continental Cup with the fans in the host community and all of southern British Columbia.”

The 2013 World Financial Group Continental Cup will celebrate its ninth edition in Penticton. It will also be the third time British Columbia has hosted the Cup, following Chilliwack in 2006, while Langley will stage the 2012 renewal in January. Since it began in 2002 in Regina, North America holds a 4-3 edge over Team World. There were no Cups held during the 2005-06 and 2009-10 seasons.

For more on this story, check Wednesday’s issue of the Penticton Western News.