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London to stage 2011 Tim Hortons Brier

LONDON, September 18, 2009…The 2011 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by Monsanto, will be staged in London, Ontario, it was announced today by the Canadian Curling Association.

The 82nd edition of the Canadian men’s curling championship will be played at the 9,100 seat John Labatt Centre, March 5-13, 2011.  It will mark the 30th time that the province of Ontario has hosted the Brier since it began in 1927 in Toronto.

The last Tim Hortons Brier in Ontario was held at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton in 2007, when won by Ontario’s Glenn Howard.

London previously hosted the 1974 Macdonald Brier when it was played at the London Gardens and the 1981 world men’s curling championship.   Recently, the city successfully staged the 2006 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the Canadian women’s curling championship, at the John Labatt Centre, where the third highest attendance figure in the championship’s history of 105,065 was generated.

“The Canadian Curling Association is genuinely pleased to bring the Tim Hortons Brier back to the province of Ontario,” said Greg Stremlaw, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Curling Association.   “We feel that the City of London is the ideal location for this event to be highly successful. It is a privilege to award this prestigious event to London for the first time in almost 40 years.”

The hosting of the 2011 Brier would not have been possible without the support of the Ontario Government and local MPPs Deb Matthews, Chris Bentley and Kahlil Ramal.  The province is investing $500,000 to assist in the staging of the Canadian Men’s Curling Championship at the John Labatt Centre in London, which will help to boost the local economy by attracting out-of-province visitors and generating more economic activity in the community.

“London is proud to host the 2011 Tim Hortons Brier. This event will bring Canada’s top curlers, attract huge crowds and intense media attention, and showcase our city as an excellent place to hold other major sporting events,” said London West MPP Chris Bentley.

“I am delighted that our provincial government could partner with the City of London to bring the Tim Hortons Brier to Ontario.  It will attract tens of thousands of visitors to London,” said the Honourable Monique Smith, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism.  “The economic impact of the Brier will be felt across the entire tourism sector in London, supporting jobs, increasing economic activity in the region, and showcasing the London region to Ontario and the rest of Canada.”

The host committee chairman is Peter Inch, who held a similar position for the 2002 Canadian Seniors in St. Thomas and the 2006 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

“The Host Committee would like to extend its appreciation to all of the hard working volunteers from the 2002 Canadian Seniors Championships and the 2006 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, supportive partners from the City of London, as well as the Province of Ontario,” said Inch.

“What at the outset may have appeared to be an insurmountable task to accomplish, the support, dedication and commitment by the volunteers and partners in successfully hosting such previous national curling events have clearly contributed to London obtaining the Brier.  Please join us at the state-of-the-art John Labatt Centre for what surely will be a spectacular 2011 Tim Hortons Brier.”

The Brier has been played in 31 cities across Canada, from Victoria to St. John’s.  Manitoba has won a record 26 Briers, while Alberta is next with 24. Ontario has won nine Briers. New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Yukon/Northwest Territories have yet to win.

“Monsanto Canada is once again very pleased to be able to lend our support to the 2011 Tim Hortons Brier and we look forward to another exciting week of great curling,” said Trish Jordan, Monsanto Canada’s Director of Public Affairs.  “I know the people of London and surrounding area, as well as those fans who will travel to London from across the country, will be treated to the best men’s curling has to offer. It is sure to be a great week of curling and entertainment.”

The Brier attendance record is 281,985, set by Edmonton in 2005 at the first Tim Hortons Brier, which eclipsed the former mark of 248,793 established in 2000 in Saskatoon.  When London hosted the 1974 Brier, won that year by Alberta’s Hec Gervais, attendance for the week was 48,170.

“Tourism London is honoured to partner with the Canadian Curling Association in presenting this prestigious event to London and Southwestern Ontario,” said Cheryl Finn, Tourism London, Manager, Sport Tourism.  “London has a rich sport hosting portfolio and I have no doubt that the Brier will enhance further London’s reputation as a leader in sport tourism.  We give you our pledge that we will work diligently and in full collaboration with the Canadian Curling Association to ensure the athletes and fans are left with a memorable experience.”

Tickets for the 2011 Tim Hortons Brier are expected to go on sale in late February of 2010.

“We are elated to host the Tim Hortons Brier at the John Labatt Centre.  This event is considered by many to be amongst the most prestigious events in men’s curling and will add to the history of great curling events that have been held here,” said Brian Ohl, General Manager of the John Labatt Centre and Regional Vice President, Global Spectrum Facilities Management.

The Brier competition involves 10 provinces plus teams representing Northern Ontario and Yukon/Northwest Territories playing a round robin, leading to the Page Playoff system involving the top four teams.   The first and second place teams meet in the Page 1 vs 2 game, with the winner advancing to the final while the loser goes to the semi-final.  The third and fourth place teams meet in the Page 3 vs 4 game, with the winner advancing to the semi-final while the loser is eliminated.

The 2011 Tim Hortons Brier will be televised exclusively and extensively in Canada by TSN, from the round robin, through the Page Playoffs, semi-final and final.

Since 1980, when the first Labatt Brier was held in Calgary and a playoff format was introduced, 19 of 30 Brier winners have gone on to win the world men’s curling championship.  The latest was Alberta’s Kevin Martin, who won the 2008 Tim Hortons Brier in Winnipeg and the world men’s curling championship in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

The winner of the 2011 Tim Hortons Brier in London will represent Canada at the Ford world men’s curling championship, at a Canadian site and date to be announced.

Meanwhile, the 2010 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by Monsanto, will be held at the Metro Centre in Halifax, March 6-14, with the winner then representing Canada at the Capital One world men’s championship, April 3-11 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

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