The Canadian men’s curling championship will be staged in Saskatoon for the sixth time March 3 – 12, 2012 … its first appearance there under the Tim Hortons Brier banner.
If history holds true, the latest edition promises fans a distinct western flavour.
The Brier’s first trip to Saskatchewan’s “Bridge City” came in 1946 after a three-year break during World War II. Billy Rose skipped his Albertans to the Tankard title in front of 22,000 enthusiasts at the Saskatoon Arena.
Attendance grew significantly in 1965 with more than 52,000 coming out to see Terry Braunstein’s Manitoba team claim the national championship in the wooden structure the locals fondly referred to as “The Barn”.
The popularity of the sport had soared by 1989 and a record-setting crowd of 151,538 packed the recently constructed Saskatchewan Place as Pat Ryan won his second straight Brier for Alberta, with Randy Ferbey at the third position.
The West took another title in 2000, this time at the hands of British Columbia’s Greg McAuley. And it was a major triumph for the city as Saskatoon shattered the all-time attendance record. The final count of 248,793 fans passing through the turnstiles still stands as the second highest in the history of the event, surpassed only by Edmonton in 2005.
In 2004, the East would finally break through when Nova Scotia’s stunning final-end comeback ended Ferbey’s hopes for a fourth consecutive Tankard. But, even that had an ironic western twist – Nova Scotia skip Mark Dacey was born and raised in the host city.
With the expansion of the venue – now known as Credit Union Centre – to a seating capacity of 14,200, expectations are running high for another record-setting championship week in the west.
Make your plans now to play a part in curling history – tickets are available by clicking here.