Fun 'n' games at Corral

ANGELA MACISAAC -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:08 AM ET

The Players Championship hopes to become the Super Bowl of curling.

The World Curling Tour's Grand Slam season finale will be more than just the games on the ice, organizers promise.

Grand Slam president Paul Boutilier said yesterday he expects to fill the Stampede Corral for the April 12-16 event, its inaugural year for including a women's side.

"It's great value to see the best on both sides," he said. "If you're going to go anywhere around Easter, it's a great opportunity to come into town and see the best players in the game."

Jim Perry, a co-chair along with 1985 Alberta champ Susan Seitz, said the five days will help grow the sport of curling.

"We're going to be re-branding the sport and making it more appealing," Perry said. "It will be an experience, not just the game. We want to build energy around it for this year and years to come."

The $250,000 Players Championship arrives in Calgary after two years in St. John's, N.L.

After welcoming a women's tour, the Players Championship needed room to expand. It is committed to four years at the Corral.

"When we were going to grow this with women's and men's teams together, Calgary was the obvious choice," Boutilier said.

"There are so many great teams in Alberta and a lot of curling history in this great city and a wonderful economy. All the components fit."

Shannon Kleibrink, Cheryl Bernard and Heather Rankin will represent Calgary on the women's side, while the men's draw is yet to be finalized but Calgary's John Morris will among the field.


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