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Edmonton to stage 2009 Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials

The Canadian Curling Association (CCA) today announced that the city of Edmonton will stage the 2009 Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials, which will determine Canada’s representatives for their shot at world glory.

The Trials will be held December 6-13, 2009 at the 15,000-seat Rexall Place. Eight men’s and eight women’s teams will compete in a round robin format, with the top three teams advancing to the playoffs. The first place teams go to the finals, while the second and third place teams play in semi-finals, with the winners also advancing to their respective finals.

The process to qualify 16 men’s and 16 women’s teams for the Trials ‘pool’ has been underway since last season. Ultimately, four teams of each gender will qualify directly into the Trials, based on their overall performance (Canadian Team Ranking System) and specific event wins from the 2006-07 season through the 2008-09 campaign. To date, Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones is the only team to qualify directly into the Trials by virtue of winning three of the specified events.

The other four men’s and four women’s teams for the Trials will be determined in a Pre-Trials qualifier, which will be hosted by Prince George, British Columbia, November 10-15 at the 6,000-seat CN Centre. This event will be a triple knockout format involving 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams, whereby the A and B winners and C finalists will qualify for the Trials.

In making the announcements today, Greg Stremlaw, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Curling Association, said, “The CCA was thrilled to have been in a position to have two unbelievably competitive bids for the 2009 Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials… from Edmonton and from Kamloops. In the end, we felt that the combination of the negotiated hosting fee, the fan base and previous record crowds in Edmonton for both the Brier and the world men’s and the chance to expose this sport to that many more people in a major venue was just too hard to pass up.”

“Quite frankly, we could not have gone wrong with either proposal but this is a solid business decision.”

This event has garnered an incredible amount of attention already and for good reason.

“We’re also very encouraged and excited by the fact that Prince George took the initiative in wanting to host the 2009 Pre-Trials event. The demonstrated community dedication and city leadership have provided us with every confidence the city will make this competition a great success.”

Edmonton holds the attendance record for a Brier, 281,985, set in 2005 and also established a Ford world men’s record of 184,970 in 2007.

“As a curler and a curling fan, I’m obviously ecstatic about the Trials coming to Edmonton,” said 2009 Trials Host Committee Chair Jackie-Rae Greening, who held a similar post for the Ford world men’s in 2007. “We have the same core team together that staged last year’s world men’s, so we’ll hit the ground running with the event less than two years away.”

“Tim Hortons is proud to support the 2009 Curling Trials which will determine who will represent Canada,” said Bill Moir, Executive Vice President, Marketing, Tim Hortons. “Tim Hortons and Canadian curling share a rich tradition and we are thrilled to be associated with what will no doubt be an exciting event.”

TSN will provide blanket coverage of the 2009 Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials, which is being presented by Monsanto, including coverage of all draws. TSN will also carry approximately 14 hours of live coverage of the pre-Trials qualifier.

“Both the pre-Trials event and the Trials will feature the best curling teams in Canada, all vying for a spot at capturing a gold medal,” added Trish Jordan, public affairs director with Monsanto Canada. “If you are a curling fan, it just doesn’t get any better than that and we are honoured to continue our support of curling in Canada by sponsoring these events in Prince George and Edmonton in 2009.”

“Prince George is excited to have been selected to host the 2009 pre-Trials competition,” said Host Committee chair Neil King. “We look forward to being a part of this new and exciting event as some of the top Canadian women and men curlers compete for this opportunity.”

Prince George also successfully hosted the 2000 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

The Trials will be the fifth such competition to determine Canada’s representatives at the Winter Olympics.

In 1987, the Labatt National Curling Trials were held in Calgary and won by Vancouver’s Linda Moore and Calgary’s Ed Lukowich. Moore would go on to win a gold medal while Lukowich received a bronze medal at the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, when curling was a demonstration sport.

In 1997, the Trials were held in Brandon, Manitoba and won by Toronto’s Mike Harris and Regina’s Sandra Schmirler. Schmirler went on to win a gold medal at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano (Karuizawa), when curling became an official medal sport, while Harris earned a silver medal.

In 2001, the Trials were in Regina and won by Edmonton’s Kevin Martin and New Westminster’s Kelley Law. Martin would win a silver medal at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City (Ogden), while Law won a bronze medal.

At the 2005 Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials in Halifax, Brad Gushue of St. John’s and Shannon Kleibrink of Calgary emerged victorious. Gushue then won a gold medal in Turin (Pinerolo), Italy, while Kleibrink earned a bronze medal at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games.

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Warren Hansen
Manager of Event Operations and Media
Canadian Curling Association
warrenhansen@telus.net
(c) 604.329.9850

Greg Stremlaw
Chief Executive Officer
gstremlaw@curling.ca
(c) 613.799.9993