The slide to success

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Kevin Martin went out on top. The famed Canadian curler, who announced his pending retirement Friday night, captured the season-ending Players Championship, the final of which was held Sunday on the ice at Credit Union Place.

On the women’s side, Olympic gold medalist Jennifer Jones took top honours.

Great results from great skips, but with the ice melting and the lights now dimmed, how did Summerside perform?

J.P. Desrosiers, director of Community Services with the city, said the Island-stop of the Grand Slam of Curling circuit was a great success.

It was a fantastic week, both logistically and with the attention showered on the city by having the event televised nationally on Rogers Sportsnet, the chief sponsor.

The event was a year and a half in the making for the host committee and included nearly 200 people behind the scenes, 185 of whom were volunteers.

Any event that can garner 185 volunteers ought to be considered a success in terms of community support. That said, there were a few concerns raised by some about the number of empty seats at the over 4,000-seat stadium. But that doesn’t worry Desrosiers, who indicated that the number of bums in seats was up from 2012, when the city last hosted the event.

Indeed, with more than 4,000 seats, even with 1,500 people inside Credit Union Place, a crowd can look sparse. Optics can be deceiving and are not always indicative of the overall success; that would depend on the expectations of organizers.

But how does (or has) the city benefitted economically overall?

Desrosiers says he has received input from the business community, noting that hotels and eateries report traffic was up, a good sign to be sure.

Desrosiers’ department is planning to do a soft economic impact assessment, internally, from the event to get a sense of how things went. It is expected in four to six weeks.

There are risks whenever an event like this is held but considering this is our second go-round, the Grand Slam will likely be trumpeted as a winner – why else would the city have lobbied to host it a second time?

There will always be boo-birds for any event but when a community can bring in 24 teams of four and the accompanying support, and a crew of 65 from Sportsnet, for five days, there are lots of benefits, and that doesn’t count the TV exposure and any fans that made the trip.

This event seems to be a winner so let’s hope we see more like it, especially during slow times of year and not just at Credit Union Place but all areas of Prince County.


Organizations: Community Services, Credit Union Place

Geographic location: Iceland, Prince

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