After hosting a World Curling Tour men’s event last year, the Swift Current Curling Club is upping the ante this year with a 30-team women’s event, followed by a 24-team men’s two weeks later.
The Western Showdown debuted last October when Kevin Koe won the 24-team event over the Thanksgiving weekend.
“As a result of how successful the IG Wealth Management Western Showdown was last last year, we decided to double down and create a women’s version of the Western Showdown,” explained SCCC General Manager Chris Haichert. “We’re quite excited that RBC Dominion Securities has jumped on board to be the title sponsor of this event and ultimately they’re what’s making this happen.”
The new women’s event will take place on October 13-16.
“I was amazed at the popularity of this event. We initially wanted 24 teams and we filled up instantly and created quite the waiting list to the point where we increased it up to 30 teams due to the popularity of the event.”
The field includes teams from across Canada, Italy, Scotland, Korea, Germany, Japan, China, and Sweden.
The event will be headlined by three-time defending World Champion Silvana Tirinzoni from Switzerland.
“The neat thing about this event is it is one of the largest international women’s curling events in Canada. Not too often do you find events that have more than 16-24 teams and we have 30 and over half of those teams are international, coming from across the pond,” said Haichert.
Also in attendance will be Daniela Jentsch, a two-time European bronze medalist out of Germany. Isabelle Wrana is a two-time Swedish champion and 2018 Olympic silver medalist Eunjung Kim of Korea will also be in Swift Current.
“It’s just loaded with international talent. We’re quite excited to bring the world to us here in Swift Current right in our curling club,” said Haichert, who noted that the inaugural women’s event will feature a $45,000 purse.
Haichert said the timing of the event lined up well with other events on the World Curling Tour and Grand Slam calendar.
“I want to give credit to the City of Swift Current and what the City and Curling Club has done in the past. There’s no question the 2010 and 2016 Women’s Worlds were extremely popular and very well run events. Without question that gets people talking about Swift Current being a great curling destination. We’re known for being able to put on great events in Swift Current. That plays a big part why when they see a major bonspiel put on in our city that they’re are jumping at the chance to be able to come here because we are known for the excellent events that we put on in this city with regards to curling.”
The second annual men’s Western Showdown will take place on October 28-31.
“We have the top teams in the world that are coming back and the reason they are coming back is how successful this event was last year. The curlers on tour talked about it and they talked about us running a first class event for them,” said Haichert.
The event will be headlined by 2022 Olympic gold medalist Niklas Edin, a five-time world champion, arguably the greatest curler to ever step foot on the ice.
“I compare this to Wayne Gretzky coming to skate on your hockey ice,” said Haichert. “It is quite an honour to have him coming”
Koe is the defending Western Showdown champion and multiple-time world champion and will be back in Swift Current with a revamped rink.
Among the other rinks to watch are Matt Dunstone, Colton Flasch and John Epping.
Also highlighting the men’s field will be Steve Laycock, a 10-time Briar participant.
“He’s got a newly formed team with some local content in Swift Current here. It’s exciting to see him back on tour and hopefully they can make some noise,” said Haichert.
Haichert won a World Junior title with Laycock in 2003 and is now playing second for him, while Cabri’s Shaun Meachem is playing third.
“It’s going to be humbling to right on my home ice to be battling against Niklas Edin and Kevin Koe and Matt Dunstone. We’re going to do our best with our local flavour here to represent Swift Current and Southwest Saskatchewan amongst these champions for sure.”
A full event pass for each event will be $40 for all four days. There will be four draws per day and a day pass will be $20. A single draw pass will be $10.
Tickets will be available at the door with rush seating. To guarantee a spot inside the facility curling fans are encouraged to email the curling club at email@example.com and then pay by etransfer.
The SCCC will be using all six sheets of ice for the Western Showdowns. Spectators can watch from the lobby at ice level or upstairs in the club lounge. The event will also be streaming every draw on every sheet of ice. Fans can find the link to watch at scccurlingclub.ca.