Grand Slam coming back to Winnipeg

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:11 AM ET

A Grand Slam event will return to Winnipeg next season.

And yes, there will be a Grand Slam series once again.

The World Curling Players' Association is currently negotiating with both the Manitoba Curling Association and MTS Centre to decide on the dates to once again host the Canadian Open that was so well-received last January, WCPA president Paul Boutilier confirmed from St. John's, Nfld., yesterday.

"But there will be a challenge to the Winnipeg guys to break a new attendance record," Boutilier said.

Last weekend's Players' Championship in St. John's drew a total of 56,178 fans, cracking the Winnipeg mark by more than 7,000. And the Slam will return to Newfoundland for a third straight season, and possibly more, Boutilier said.

BOTH MEN AND WOMEN

The Winnipeg Slam, which will again raise funds for the Children's Hospital Foundation, may even have a lucrative new title sponsor. In fact, there is talk that the event could include both a men's and a women's cashspiel simultaneously in the near future.

Although there had been concerns that the Slam could lose both its current title sponsor and IMG, which has been bankrolling the series, Boutilier was not worried.

"(IMG's) Kevin Albrecht is a huge supporter of curling, and he's even further involved in his new position (at IMG)," Boutilier assured. "Despite what you may have heard, his involvement will continue."

Although the WCPA is still negotiating with its current title sponsor, it has already received applications from others, Boutilier said. And indications are that Sportsnet will announce soon that it has renewed its Slam deal.

The WCPA is also looking to move one Slam event to either Europe or the U.S. next year, Boutilier said. That could explain rumours that there may only be three Slam events during the coming season, an Olympic year.

The World Curling Tour is also expected to announce a new title sponsor soon.


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