More than 100 curlers from across Canada and the territories will descend on the greater Charlottetown area for the Canadian Open Stick Curling Championship, March 31-April 3.
When Cornwall previously hosted the Canadian Open Stick Curling Championship in 2013, the open division was won by Cornwall’s Roddie MacLean, left, and Paul Field. – Contributed
The Cornwall and Charlottetown curling clubs will play host to 62 two-person teams with the action getting underway at 9 a.m. on Sunday.
Teams from eight provinces (Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador aren’t represented) and one territory will be competing. There are 48 teams in the open division (men and mixed) and 14 in the women’s division, which was introduced when Cornwall previously hosted the championship back in 2013.
“It’s more engaging than most people realize because you’re either skipping or throwing rocks all the time,’’ said Ernie Stavert, chairman of the host committee for the P.E.I. Stick Curling Association.
“It’s six rocks, six ends so it goes quickly all the time. A game lasts an hour. It’s much quicker than a regular curling game because there’s less rocks in play and less ends.’’
There will be about 170 games played during the championship. Besides having an open division, the event is also open in that although spots are reserved for the champions in each province and territory that chooses to participate, additional spots are available for other teams on a space-available basis.
Stavert said the sport welcomes everyone but it tends to cater to seniors.
“There’s no age restrictions but it’s designed for people with limited mobility. We have one person coming who curls from a wheelchair, but the rules are, no sweeping between the hog lines so it’s designed for people with limited mobility.’’
Stavert said stick curling has been around for about 10 to 12 years and has helped boost the sport.
“It’s become quite a positive thing for some of the smaller clubs,’’ he said, “in keeping their membership up and active. It’s particularly true of (the) Alberton and O’Leary clubs. It’s been very instrumental in keeping them viable and going.’’
“It’s part of sport tourism and we’re getting a good turnout because people from other parts of the country like to come to Prince Edward Island . . . and it’s the off-season for tourism. We’re quite pleased with the number of people coming.’’