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CCA, WCF to continue Continental Cup/WFG to sponsor

OTTAWA, October 14, 2009…The Canadian Curling Association (CCA) and the World Curling Federation (WCF) have reached a partnership agreement to continue to stage the unique Continental Cup of Curling.

In addition, it was also announced that World Financial Group (WFG) will become the title sponsor of the Continental Cup, which is patterned after golf’s Ryder Cup, featuring Team North America versus Team World, in a variety of curling disciplines.   It began in 2002 in Regina and has been contested six times (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008), all in Canada, with the sides currently knotted at three wins apiece.

While sites and dates have not yet been confirmed for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Continental Cups, the World Financial Group has signed a contract to be the title sponsor of the event for the next two editions, with an option for a third year.

“After considerable dialogue, the Canadian Curling Association is genuinely excited to have reached an agreement on a new partnership with the World Curling Federation to see the Continental Cup continue for the next quadrennial,” said Greg Stremlaw, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Curling Association.

“Many of our athletes are passionate about how great this event is and we are happy to have injected an unprecedented level of long-term financial stability and consistency into it.  Clearly, the ability to make this possible has become a reality with a new title sponsor and we are honoured to welcome World Financial Group as a national partner with our organization.”

“We are most happy to welcome World Financial Group into our partnership with the CCA, allowing us to continue the Continental Cup in a stronger financial position, thanks to their support,” said Les Harrison, President of the World Curling Federation.  “This competition has been an important showcase of the world’s most talented curlers in a very unique format, which has enabled us to develop and promote our sport through a variety of disciplines.”

The Continental Cup competition involves 12 teams (three men’s and three women’s for both Team World and Team North America) in a four-day event, featuring regular Team games, Mixed Doubles, Singles, Mixed Skins and Skins games.   Each segment awards points for wins (or ties), with the first side to reach 200 points declared the winner.

“World Financial Group is very excited to become the lead sponsor of the 2011 Continental Cup,” said Rick Williams, President, World Financial Group of Canada.  “Our commitment to sponsor the Continental Cup is an example of our commitment to supporting curling in Canada, which began four years ago with our sponsorship of the Randy Ferbey team.  The participation of curling teams from across the globe parallels our reach as a global financial distributor – to help individuals and families become financially independent.  We look forward to working with the Canadian Curling Association and the World Curling Federation to make this a very successful event.”

World Financial Group (www.worldfinancialgroup.com <http://www.worldfinancialgroup.com> ) is a financial services marketing organization whose affiliates offer life insurance and a broad array of financial products and services. Through its independent associates in the United States and Canada, World Financial Group strives to help middle-income individuals and families to plan for their financial futures and work toward their goals. In Canada, World Financial Group Insurance Agency of Canada Inc. offers life insurance and SEG funds.  Mutual Funds and Scholarship Plans, in select provinces, are offered through WFG Securities of Canada Inc.

The first World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Monsanto, will be staged in January of 2011, a different time frame from past Cups, which were contested in late November or early December.

TSN, the exclusive television network for the CCA’s Season of Champions, is expected to provide comprehensive coverage of the 2011 Continental Cup, similar to its coverage of the 2008 renewal and the first three editions of the Cup from 2002-2004.

At the inaugural Cup in Regina in 2002, Team North America pulled out a last rock victory when Canada’s Kevin Martin defeated Sweden’s Peja Lindholm in the final men’s skins game to win 207-193.

In 2003, Team World (then Team Europe) turned the tables with a 208-179 victory in Thunder Bay. In 2004 in Medicine Hat, before a record four-day crowd of 42,317, it was North America’s turn again, notching a 228-172 win.

The 2006 renewal, staged in Chilliwack, British Columbia, featured all of the medal-winning teams from the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy, as Team Europe pulled even with a 229-171 victory.

In 2007, the Cup returned to Medicine Hat, and once again, North America prevailed, 290-110, this time clinching the Cup in record fashion on Saturday evening, prior to Sunday’s final women’s and men’s skins games

Last December, the Cup was contested in Camrose, Alberta and won by Team World, which evened the score at three victories apiece with a 208-192 tally.

Over the years, the world’s finest curlers have participated in the Continental Cup, including such illustrious skips as Norway’s Pål Trulsen, Thomas Ulsrud and Dordi Nordby, Sweden’s Peja Lindholm, Elisabet Gustafson and Anette Norberg, Scotland’s David Murdoch, Hammy McMillan, Rhona Martin and Jackie Lockhart, China’s Bingyu Wang, Switzerland’s Mirjam Ott, Germany’s Andy Kapp and Andrea Schöpp, Canada’s Kevin Martin, Jennifer Jones, Kelly Scott, Glenn Howard, Brad Gushue, Colleen Jones and Randy Ferbey and Debbie McCormick of the United States.

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