2011 World Financial Group Continental Cup awarded to St. Albert, Alberta

ST. ALBERT, Alberta, December 2, 2009…The Canadian Curling Association (CCA) and the World Curling Federation (WCF) today announced that the 2011 World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Monsanto, has been awarded to St. Albert, Alberta. The unique international curling competition, featuring teams from North America versus The World, will take place January 13-16, 2011 at Servus Credit Union Place, a multi-purpose facility whose Performance Arena, with seating for approximately 2,000, is currently home to the St. Albert Steel of the Alberta Junior Hockey League and the Edmonton Drillers soccer team.    The City of St. Albert, with a population of 58,000, is located just north of Edmonton, an approximate 20-minute drive to the Alberta capital city’s downtown core. This will mark the seventh edition of the ‘Cup’, which began in 2002 in Regina.   Currently, North America and Team World are knotted at three wins apiece. Several months ago, it was announced that the CCA and the WCF had committed to a long-term continuation of the Continental Cup and that World Financial Group would become the title sponsor, beginning in 2011.  TSN, the exclusive television network for the CCA’s Season of Champions, will provide exclusive and extensive coverage of the event. “It is really nice to see the continuance of the Continental Cup for the long term,” said CCA Chief Executive Officer Greg Stremlaw.  “The support of World Financial Group as a new title sponsor and the consistency of the broadcast coverage are going to be a huge shot in the arm for this event.   It is fitting that St. Albert, a community in the heart of one of the hotbeds of curling in this country, has been selected as the first host site of this event in the post-2010 era. We definitely have a great deal of confidence in the venue in St. Albert, the community in general, and the wonderful volunteers that will help make this a great experience for athletes and fans alike.” The Cup format brings together six teams (three men’s and three women’s) for both Team World and Team North America in various competitions during the four-day event – 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. “The World Curling Federation, along with our partner the Canadian Curling Association, is pleased to be returning to the province of Alberta for the 2011 World Financial Group Continental Cup,” said Les Harrison, President of the World Curling Federation.  “Due to tremendous government and sponsor support, as well as a strong fan base for curling, St. Albert will be an excellent host in a great facility for the most elite teams in the world to showcase our sport in a variety of disciplines.” The 2011 World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by Monsanto, will enjoy a new time slot in the curling calendar as well – mid-January – as opposed to the previous six editions which were staged in November or December. “The membership of the St. Albert Curling Club is thrilled to be hosting the 2011 World Financial Group Continental Cup of Curling,” said Mike Howes, Host Committee chair.  “Not only will this event usher in St. Albert’s year-long 150th birthday party but, with the economic benefits associated, it will also serve as a ‘Thank you to the City’ from our club for all the tremendous support we have received from the community and the local businesses over the years.” “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 sponsoring the event 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 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, the World Curling Federation and the Host Committee in order to make this a very successful event.” Full Event ticket packages will go on sale in mid-February. At the inaugural Cup in Regina in 2002, Team North America pulled out an incredible 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. The 2008 Continental Cup was contested in Camrose, Alberta and won by Team World, 208-192, which evened the record at three victories apiece. Over the years, the world’s greatest 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, Debbie McCormick of the United States and Canada’s Kevin Martin, Jennifer Jones, Kelly Scott, Glenn Howard, Randy Ferbey, Brad Gushue and Colleen Jones. -30-