Now that the 2019 B.C. Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships are over, many of the people involved are feeling very positive about Quesnel’s ability to host such a big sporting event.
It was about two years from the time the idea of hosting the men’s curling provincials was put out there to the time the provincial trophies were presented to Team Cotter and Team Wark after the finals of the Jan. 29-Feb. 3 event, which saw the men’s and women’s provincials combined for the first time, and one of the common themes is how the whole community supported the idea from the very beginning.
“The community was behind us 100 per cent,” said Blair Hedden, president of the Quesnel Curling Centre. “The community support, the volunteers, the businesses, it was easy, actually. Never a hurdle. Everybody said yes”
Hedden recalls they were inspired by the West Fraser Centre being completed in September 2017.
“The curling club manager [Dave Plant] approached me and said ‘what do you think about hosting the men’s provincials,’” he said. “I said ‘that’s a great idea, why don’t we do that,’ and that kind of got the ball rolling.”
Hidden says they were met with enthusiasm at every level.
“Nobody said no,” he said. “Nobody said ‘I don’t think so,’ or ‘we can’t,’ and we just went on and kept going on and bringing on great people.”
Ceremonies/Committee chair Charlene Lawrence can’t say enough about how the community came together to host the event.
“It’s always such a pleasure to work with the community of Quesnel because when we host events like this, everybody steps up,” she said. “We had 34 sponsors, and any time we ever needed anything, somebody was always there to give us a helping hand or to provide us what we needed. We had 14 committee heads and 170 volunteers. That speaks volumes.”
Lawrence feels the whole community should be very proud of the event it just hosted.
“I think the week went very, very well,” she said. “When I was asked to come aboard, there was so much passion at the Curling Club that I knew these curlers were going to curl … so I felt my job coming aboard was to make sure everybody had a really good time, and we want them to come back and visit us. We wanted to show them everything that Quesnel has to offer, and our hospitality was second to none. We’ve had so many compliments.”
Lawrence heard many curlers say this was the best provincials they’ve been to.
“Curling on arena ice is very different from curling on regular curling ice, and they enjoy that, and more than that, hosted them very well, from the banquet to the welcome baskets and to our hospitality rooms,” she said. “The volunteers stepped up, and it was very well done. I just want to thank everybody. There were so many people helping.”
Chief Officials Daryl Kirton and Vonda Hofferd were impressed with the volunteers who worked as officials in Quesnel.
“We have an amazing group of volunteer officials, approximately 40,” said Kirton. “This is their first major event, and they’ve been doing a great job.”
Hofferd says often, there are already trained volunteer officials in the city that his hosting a major curling event, but here, they started from scratch. They ran two training courses, and volunteer officials gained experience at their cash spiel, but the provincials was their “inauguration,” she explains.
“They have stepped up; they’ve been absolutely amazing,” she said. “We’re giving them probably more tutelage than what is normal at events like this, but they’re just filling in as if they’re seasoned veterans. It’s a great bunch.”
Quesnel Coun. Laurey-Anne Roodenburg was excited to see such a high calibre of curling in Quesnel and especially to see our own local team (Brady Waffle, Dave Vatamaniuck, Mike Pagurut and Eric Eriksson) in the tournament.
Hosting these kinds of events is what the City of Quesnel’s strategic plan has been working toward, she noted.
“I think we did a phenomenal job,” she said. “When you look at the staff and who they had working as committee chairs and volunteers, they had the right people to do it up right.The teams were so happy with the reception they got here and the friendliness they received. That’s who Quesnel is.”
City staff will be bringing a report to council about the economic impact of hosting the 2019 B.C. Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships later this month.