Madame Presidente wants you

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

Madame Presidente wants you.

That's the way Jackie-Rae Greening insists on being addressed these days, being the president of the 2007 men's world curling championships and all.

It's not that the title has gone to the radio personality's head. Oh no, not at all.

In fact, at yesterday's news conference announcing full-event packages go on sale this weekend, J.R. was downright humble, if not benevolent.

"We're definitely going to kick some butt," said Greening. Not sure if she was referring to her subjects who plan to somehow dodge the ticket wicket.

Package prices are about the same as the record-setting 2005 Brier. With a modest goal of 200,000 for the second of three huge curling events scheduled for the city, that level should be relatively simple to attain.

Greening knows Edmontonians are much more likely to part with their money than Winnipegers, who set the existing attendance record of 153,571 in 2003.

"I think we're being conservative," said Greening. "I want to be proven wrong. I think Edmonton and area is going to really catch the excitement of how different the worlds is."

Greening dared go where the old guard of Edmonton's curling mafia feared to tread when she agreed to take on the honcho role.

"The worlds is definitely something now," said Greening. "As you watch the Olympic coverage right now, you can see it - we're definitely not the dominant nation any more.

"Edmonton didn't go after it before because it couldn't have filled Rexall Place. I think we can with the world championships ... at least put a lot of people in it."

Episode III of Edmonton's Rock Wars trilogy is expected to be announced late next month, when chances look good the city will be named host of the 2009 Olympic Trials.

"You'll see the same calibre of curling at the worlds, if not better, than you see at the Brier," said Greening.

2005 world champ Randy Ferbey agrees the world has definitely caught up to Canada.

He went through it in Victoria last year, his sixth worlds.

"If you're referring to how competitive it's becoming compared to 1988 and 1989 ... it is tougher," said Ferbey, who appeared in those worlds as a third for the Hall of Fame rink skipped by Pat Ryan.

"In those days, there's two to four teams we could have played left-handed and beat them," said Ferbey. "Now, that's totally changed. You need the whole complement and you can't take them too lightly.

"They come over to Canada, play four or five events. They're using our resources - Canadian coaches and psychologists. They're catching up. In the next five, six or seven worlds, Canada will be the favourite, but I guarantee you Canada will not win five, six or seven.

"It's going to be a toss-up for years to come."


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