Later this year, Prince Albert will play host to the province’s top curlers.
On Friday morning, the city’s Golf and Curling Club announced that it will host this year’s provincial mixed curling championships, to be held March 21-25 on the curling club’s eight ice sheets.
The winning team of the tournament will represent Saskatchewan at the national mixed championships this year in November. A date range and a location have not yet been announced by Curling Canada.
The P.A. curling event will be set up with a different format, according to project co-chair and media relations director Bryan Rindal.
Unlike previous years, when participating teams had to go through rounds of regional and zone play, 2018’s tournament will accept entrant teams on a first-come, first-served basis.
“There will be a maximum of 24 teams allowed. So, if you are considering entering, get your entry in early, because if you’re entry number-25, you’re not going to get in,” he said.
According to the website for CurlSask, the deadline for teams to submit entry applications is March 6 at 12 p.m. CST.
The website also states that, “After the maximum of 24 teams have registered all other registrations will be kept on a waiting list.”
Rindal explained how he and the host committee hope to see spin-offs from mixed-doubles curling; London, Ont., is currently hosting the Olympic qualifying tournament for mixed doubles, which is called the Continental Cup.
“It’s really gathering strength in Europe, and has started to really gather strength here in Canada and in Saskatachewan.
“We’re hoping that the Olympics’ introduction of the mixed doubles will ensure that we get our 24 entrants, and that people start coming and recognizing that there is life after losing out of the Scotties or the Brier. The mixed (format) is a perfect step to go there.”
He also praised the large volunteer effort that will make the annual tournament go.
Meadow Lake hosted last year’s mixed provincial championship. Colton Flasch and his team from Prince Albert won the championship 9-8, beating team Jason Ackerman from Regina.
This time next year, Prince Albert will host the national junior men’s and women’s curling championships. That tournament will run from Jan. 19-27, 2019. Games will be played at the city’s Golf and Curling Club and at the Art Hauser Centre.