The Bob is ready to rock.
Beginning Thursday, Gatineau’s Robert Guertin Centre is hosting the first Challenge Casino du Lac Lemay bonspiel. Organized by Ted Butler second Dany Beaulieu, the cash ’spiel, which runs through Sunday, is unique in that it is a pro-am event sanctioned by the World Curling Tour.
Besides the 28 men’s teams playing at the arena, there will be 32 other teams in the participation section squaring off at the Buckingham Curling Club. At least one participation match will take place at the “Bob” every draw, as will the final.
Beaulieu has wanted to stage a large event in Gatineau for a while.
“We were talking about putting a ’spiel in Gatineau, but there were no dates available,” he said. “Usually at the same dates there is a ’spiel in Quebec City, but it got dropped, so it was a good time to put the ’spiel in Gatineau.”
The energetic organizer had to work fast when the dates became available last May. A friend of Beaulieu’s who works at the casino got the gambling emporium on board. The City of Gatineau is not charging the organizers for the arena as a show of support. Not only did the event fill up, but there’s a waiting list.
Two-time Brier and world champion Russ Howard leads the field, which also features top-notch Quebec squads headed by 2006 Brier winner Jean-Michel Menard of Gatineau and former Brier finalist Guy Hemmings. A number of Ontario entries like those of Bryan Cochrane and Howard Rajala are also no strangers to an arena setting.
The triple-knockout event begins Thursday morning, with Sunday’s final set for 4:30 p.m. A weekend pass is $20. Weekday day passes are $7 and weekend day passes $10. The Robert Guertin Centre is located at 125 Carillon St. in the Hull sector of Gatineau. The draw is available at challengecasinolacleamay.com.
Mississauga’s Hershey Centre is the place to be this week to preview Olympic curling as some of Canada’s potential representatives next February in Vancouver (Kevin Martin, Glenn Howard, Randy Ferbey and more) take on Olympic representatives from nine other countries in the Grey Power World Cup. CBC will stream many of the matches live beginning Thursday morning at cbcsports.ca. CBC television will air the quarter-finals Saturday at 3 p.m. The semi-final will be shown on CBC Bold at 7 p.m. Saturday, while the final is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. on the main network.
Teams battled last weekend to secure qualifying spots in the upcoming John Shea Insurance OVCA Junior Superspiel Oct. 30-Nov. 1. Local rinks that made it are Stephanie Brown, Crystal Lillico, Lauren Horton, Kurtis Byrd, Mat Cam and Ryan McCrady ... Bowie Abbis-Mills from Carleton Place and Ottawa’s Jamie Sinclair were runners-up at the Brampton Junior Cashspiel.
Curling this week
The inaugural regionals for the Dominion Club championships take place this weekend. One winner from each region advances to the provincials beginning Oct. 31.