By Mike Carson
SUMMERSIDE – Sixteen of the world’s best men’s and women’s curling teams will be competing in Summerside in April for the GP Car and Home Players’ Championship, the final stop on the Capital One Grand Slam of Curling.
Kevin Albrecht, president and CEO of iSport Media and Management which operates the event, said teams from Canada, Europe, China and the United States will compete for the largest purse in curling in front of a national television audience with nine hours of coverage on CBC.
The event is set for April 10-15, 2012, at Credit Union Place.
“This will be the first time we’ve had a Capital Once Curling event in P.E.I. We have a brand new format this year,” Albrecht said. “We will have the top eight men’s teams and the top eight women’s teams competing in this event. This means there’s not going to be one easy game in this entire round robin.
“This is the largest prize purse in the history of curling. This is $370,000 on the line,” added Albrecht.
Prize money includes a $100,000 purse for the men, a $100,000 purse for the women, plus $170,000 for the season ending Capital One Cup.
An added attraction to the Sunday finals will be the Capital One Million Dollar Draw to the Button.
“It’s the first time that we’ve held it at the players’ championship,” said Albrecht.
Drawing from a list of qualifiers from across Canada, including qualifiers from P.E.I., “One person will get throw one rock here at the arena for a chance to win $1 million.”
There will also be a Junior Draw to the Button where junior curlers from one of the P.E.I. clubs will throw a rock for a chance to win $1,000 plus $10,000 for their club’s junior program.
Held annually since 2001, the Capital One Grand Slam of Curling is owned by the World Curling Player’s Association. It is a series of four major curling events that highlight the World Curling Tour season. The Players’ Championship is exclusively reserved for the world’s top ranked teams. Teams that have participated include Olympic medalists Kevin Martin of Edmonton Alta., Brad Gushue of St. John’s, Nfld., Cheryl Bernard of Calgary, Alta., and Thomas Ulsrud of Oslo, Norway, as well as World Championship medalists Jennifer Jones (Winnipeg, Man.), Randy Ferby (Edmonton), Glenn Howard (Coldwater, Ont.) and reigning World Champion Jeff Stoughton (Winnipeg).
The Capital One Grand Slam of Curling events are closely tied to the Canadian Curling Association’s qualifying process for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Through their performance in the Grand Slam events, Canadian teams can earn important qualifying points towards securing a berth at the 2013 Canadian Olympic Trials.
Ticket packages for the event go on sale in the mid-November and will be available online at www.cupevents.ca, at the Credit Union Place Box Office and by phone at 432-1234.