Hagel high on Moose Jaw spirit
- Updated: July 30, 2014
When Moose Jaw hosted the 2012 Canada Cup, it marked the first national curling championship to be contested in Mosaic Place, the city’s impressive downtown sports and entertainment complex.
In the months leading up to the event, Glenn Hagel was in the process of wrapping up his three-year term as Mayor of the southwestern Saskatchewan city. He may not have had the time to get involved at the volunteer level but he and wife Karen – at the front of the line to purchase full event passes – were in the stands at Mosaic Place for every draw, helping set a new Canada Cup attendance record.
The former Mayor’s role has changed for the upcoming 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts that will bring championship curling back to Mosaic Place, Feb. 14-22. Hagel will serve as co-chair for the Canadian women’s curling championship, sharing the top position with Danielle Sicinski who chaired the 2012 Canada Cup.
“It was actually the first event I attended after leaving office,” says Hagel. “And it was the first time Karen and I had been in the arena for the full event. I had attended occasional draws for Scotties and Briers when they were in Saskatchewan, but never for the entire event.”
While the couple have been avid enthusiasts of the sport for some time, watching the action at home on television, five days in the arena during the Canada Cup dramatically changed their perspective on live championship curling.
“The live experience is always better,” says Hagel. “Not only seeing all the action on the ice but the interaction between the fans in the stands. It’s just far better seeing it live. As soon as it was over Karen went online to get us seats for the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings in Winnipeg.”
The ultimate success of the Canada Cup was obviously a significant factor in the city’s ability to lock down the rights to host the Scotties.
“There was a buzz in the stands during the Canada Cup about how much fun this is… and people asking out loud ‘do you think we could get the Scotties… do you think the Scotties could be next?’” says Hagel. “It was definitely in the back of the minds of the organizers, but the spectators in the stands were thinking the same thing.”
In terms of dollars and cents, the impact of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts on Moose Jaw could approach the $8 million level. But, beyond the pure economics, Hagel looks to what events of this stature mean to the community in terms of pride, morale and confidence.
“People are starting to realize we are capable of hosting national sporting and cultural events, as well as conventions. Moose Jaw is starting to get used to punching above our weight when it comes to hosting these kind of events.”
One of the critical keys is a solid foundation of volunteers and Hagel’s sights are focused on making the base even stronger.
“We have a core team of leaders involved for the Scotties, and most of them are from the Canada Cup,” he says. “ But we’re also consciously bringing in some new faces who aren’t necessarily coming from a curling background. It’s good to have people involved just because they love their community. That’s going to help us expand our volunteer base for the future.”
“Live it Live” at the 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw. Reserve your seats today for the Canadian women’s curling championship just by clicking here.