Brandon may be annual Slam stop

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:09 AM ET

The Grand Slam\'s stop in Brandon could become an annual event.

The World Curling Tour confirmed yesterday that the Wheat City will host the Slam\'s Canadian Open at the Keystone Centre, Nov. 6-9, 2003, as The Sun first reported.

\"If it\'s successful, it could come back every year, which would mean that we wouldn\'t be getting the Olympic trials here again,\" Brandon\'s Reid Lumbard, who had been trying to land the 2005 trials, said recently.

\"I\'m very excited to see this event in Manitoba,\" WCT executive director Chad McMullan said in a press release. \"Brandon is definitely one of the top curling communities in the world as shown by the strength of their volunteer force and history of event hosting.\"

The $100,000 cashspiel will be held in conjunction with the Manitoba Livestock Expo.

\"Not only are we going to be hosting the best curlers in the world but also the best fans in the world,\" said John Macialek, the spiel\'s chairperson.

Sportsnet will once again broadcast both a semifinal and the final nationally.

A new format has been unveiled for the event, where eight western-based teams will face eight eastern-based teams. One team will still win the top prize but there will be a bonus paid to the teams on the winning side. Teams will qualify through WCPA rankings.

Weekly packages of $69-$79 will be available through Ticketmaster.

Meanwhile, the second Slam event will be held in December and the third will go to Prince Albert, Sask., in late January, which means there will be no conflict with the CCA\'s Canada Cup this season.

\"The WCPA has sanctioned the Canada Cup so all of our players will be allowed to play in it,\" McMullan said. \"We\'re trying to avoid conflicts (with scheduled CCA events) this year.\"


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