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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.
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.’’
Much like the other two-person version of curling — mixed doubles — stick curling is relatively new and both versions share similarities, although there are also differences. The biggest difference with stick curling is that delivery sticks are used to deliver the curling rock from a standing position, rather than having the curler slide out from an ice-level rubber hack.
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.’’
The maximum number of points that may be scored per end is six.
Stavert said having the nationals here will be a nice little boost for the restaurants and hotels.
“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.’’
The defending open division champions are Tom and Rae Campbell from Winnipeg, Man.
The official opening ceremony will be in Cornwall on Sunday at 3:45 p.m.
Game scores will be accessible at peicurling.com.
Everyone is welcome to drop in to either of the clubs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to watch. The final games will be held at Cornwall around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3.
See rosters, B2.