Players' Championship Notebook

Jason Simmonds
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SUMMERSIDE -- Notebook for 2014 Players’ Championship:

Grand Slam of Curling

This is the second time in three years the Players’ Championship will be hosted at Eastlink Arena.

“This facility is perfect,” said event manager Jennifer Bradley. “As far as the number of seats, it’s not too big, it’s not too small. It’s very spacious, the staff is incredibly welcoming and helpful, and from my perspective it is the perfect venue to host a curling event in.”

Preparations were in full force at Eastlink Arena on Monday.

“Things are incredible here,” said event manager Jennifer Bradley. “Given the fact we have been here in the past, the volunteers are incredibly helpful and the City of Summerside was well prepared for this event. It’s going to be a really great, well-oiled week, I think.”

The winning skips of the 2012 Players' Championship – Stefanie Lawton and John Epping – in Summerside are both back again this year.

A total of three Prince Edward Islanders will curl in the event. Geri-Lynn Ramsay of Summerside is with Crystal Webster’s rink from Calgary, Alta., while Adam Casey of Seven Mile Bay and Brett Gallant of Charlottetown are with the Brad Gushue foursome from St. John’s, N.L.

Rogers Sportsnet will broadcast 11 draws, which will result in close to 30 hours of live coverage. The schedule is as follows: Thursday at 1 p.m., 5 p.m., and 8:30 p.m.; Friday at 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 8:30 p.m.; Saturday at 1 p.m.; 5 p.m., and 8:30 p.m., and the finals on Sunday at 11 a.m., and 5 p.m.

“It’s very rare to see that much live coverage coming from one spot,” said Bradley. “There will be a lot of promotion coming from Summerside, and we’ll focus in on the volunteers and how essential they are to running an event. . .

“It will be promoting Summerside all week, and information the rest of the country may not know about this beautiful city.”

Rob Faulds, Joan McCusker, Richard Hart and Mike Harris will call the action for Rogers Sportsnet.

Volunteers

Overall, approximately 175 volunteers will work the event, including 24 drivers.

“One incredible thing here is we have dedicated drivers for each team,” said Bradley. “The local (car) dealerships have been so gracious to offer up and work with us in a partnership throughout the week to give us a few vehicles from each dealership.”

One of the neat things about curling is how fan-friendly and accessible the athletes are.

“It is unlike any other sport,” said Bradley. “You can have someone lose a blowout, go have a beer and they are open to chat, photos and autographs. They are such a gracious bunch of athletes and people, they are incredible to be around.”

Geographic location: Summerside, Calgary, Alta, Charlottetown

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