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Scotties Spotlight: The Beat and Pulse of HeartStop Lounge

In between draws and after the curling is finished for the day, the action moves to the HeartStop Lounge! The lounge provides food and beverage service to fans, as well as nightly entertainment from the event’s start to finish. Roger Powell, the Manager of Entertainment and Production, books bands that are frequently requested or have a history with the events, as well as local favourites. Bands might travel to all events during a season, or add certain events as stops on their tours. Roger says he “tries to make each event bigger than life.” It’s working; the HeartStop is at capacity every afternoon and rocking until late into the night here in Red Deer.

Ellen Harkness and Gail Koswan in the HeartStop Lounge (Photo: Lisa Shamchuk)

The HeartStop Lounge keeps volunteers busy with a number of different jobs: bartending, banking, token selling, food and bar services, and souvenir selling. Local volunteer Ellen Harkness is working as a bartender. “I’ve had the time of my life. People are very friendly. It gets very exciting as soon as the draw’s done and the lounge gets filled. It’s coast to coast.” Ellen’s favourite part of the whole volunteer experience has been “the atmosphere, and just watching the curling. And visiting with the people.” Fellow bartender Gail Koswan agreed saying “It’s neat meeting people you wouldn’t ordinarily meet. And I’ve loved watching the curling. It’s so different from watching on TV. It’s dynamic and the crowd is amazing.” Ellen spoke highly of her time at the Scotties as a volunteer commenting “It’s a first for me and I hope another event comes around again so I can volunteer. It’s something everyone should experience once in their lifetime.”

Louise McKenzie has come all the way from Victoria, British Columbia to volunteer at her second Scotties as a banker and drink-token seller. Her husband is also volunteering at this event as an on-ice official. Her favourite part about working in the HeartStop Lounge has been watching the Up Close & Personal interviews that happen daily with the curlers. “It’s a neat opportunity to meet the curlers. It’s been a lot of fun. Everyone has been so friendly and very welcoming to us out of province fans.” Louise and her husband enjoy volunteering so much they’ve already signed up for the 2013 Ford World Men’s Curling Championship event next year in Victoria!

The HeartStop Lounge keeps fans entertained well into the night (Photo: Andrew Klaver)

The fans are enjoying the HeartStop Lounge as well. Local Adam Graf thinks that “It’s neat all the curlers are walking around.” This comment was echoed by Tannas Armstrong: “One thing I really like is that a lot of the players have been in here, and their families. They take the time to socialize and talk to everyone.” She also likes that there is always something going on to keep people entertained between games, and that they show the curling on big screens during the draws. Ellen Harkness has been enjoying the HeartStop as a fan as well, remarking “We danced till the lights came on and they kicked us out. It was so much fun!”

Besides the bar and entertainment, the HeartStop Lounge is home to the EventMax souvenir store. Brenda Gibson, from Brandon, MB, is the cashier supervisor for the souvenir and merchandising area, located at one end of the lounge. She supervises a total of eight cashier employees, as well as the four customer service volunteers who work each shift. Her favourite part is seeing the different merchandise that arrives for each event: “It’s like Christmas – opening the boxes. You never know what’s coming in. People are really excited about seeing the new merchandise.” This is Brenda’s eighth event and she keeps coming back because “I enjoy it. I get to meet the people and travel around the country. The music is great. It’s just great to be here.”