Langley joins Penticton and Sydney, N.S. in this week’s quest to host the 2018 women’s national curling championship.
A detailed bid was sent in Monday, outlining why this community should host the annual Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
It’s the second time that the Langley Curling Club (LCC) has submitted a bid to Curling Canada requesting to host the coveted curling event, explained Nigel Easton, the club’s recently retired manager and chair of the bid effort.
Langley hosted the Continental Cup of Curling in 2012 at the Langley Events Centre, and even though ticket sales weak, LCC received such rave reviews from curlers, spectators and TSN about the venue and the community that they decided to up the ante and submit a bid to host the 2016 Scotties, he explained.
While Langley lost that bid to Grande Prairie, Alta., they weren’t to be deterred, Easton said.
“We wanted to still continue to bid,” he said.
He and other members of the club have been working since early March putting this proposal together – including securing the necessary financial commitments from the municipal and provincial governments.
In addition to finding the necessary funding, LCC is responsible for coming up with between 500 and 600 volunteers – which Easton speculates will not be an issue.
During the Continental Cup, LCC rallied aid from close to 300 volunteers, and Easton is confident there will be no problem drawing in enough curlers and supporters from throughout B.C. and Northwest Washington State to assist.
There are two huge benefits to Langley, if it can host an event of this magnitude, said Easton, who agreed to put together the bid knowing that he would have more time on his hands after his retirement this spring.
He said the financial rewards are huge to a host community. With upwards of 10,000 spectators and hundreds of players attending the Scotties each year, the direct and indirect economic benefits can be a game changer.
For instance, Red Deer, Alta. hosted the Scotties in 2012. Citing revenue reports from that event, Easton said $559,000 was spent by spectators during the week-long event, and the Scotties generated $12.5 million for the province of Alberta, with $8.6 million of that spent in Red Deer – including wages and sponsorship.
The economic spin-off isn’t the only reason Easton has been so enthusiastically pursuing this bid.
If Langley is successful in its bid for the Scotties, he said the local curling club – which runs out of the George Preston Recreation Centre and is ranked one the largest clubs in the province – will receive money to assist the 800-member club celebrate its upcoming 50th anniversary.
Much more importantly, Easton added, it will receive money that will help strengthen the club’s junior curling program, including the hiring of more coaches.
If the bid succeeds, LCC must also designate a charity to receive legacy funds from the event. Easton said that would be the local KidSport organization – which means dozens of Langley children, who otherwise couldn’t afford to play sports, would be given that chance.
And, last but not least, the Scotties would “invariably” increase the profile and popularity of the sport throughout the Lower Mainland, Easton said.
And getting more people to discover the wonders and fun of curling is a good thing all the way around, he insisted.
The deadline for the bids is Thursday, June 30, and Easton expects to learn if Langley is the winner by the end of August.
Caption: Nigel Easton, retired manager of the Langley Curling Club, headed up a bid committee. They put in a proposal this week to host the 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Langley.