'Peg touted for major Canadian event

CHAD SCARSBROOK -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:48 AM ET

It was another great showing by Winnipeg curling fans and, as a result, a major Canadian event could be on the way to the MTS Centre in 2009.

Six-thousand spectators took in the final of the World Curling Tour's BDO Classic Canadian Open yesterday, with attendance about 39,000 for the five-day event.

"Winnipeg is the Yankee Stadium of curling," said Paul Boutilier, executive director of the WCT, yesterday.

Because of the support, the city is one of three in the running to host the Players Championship in 2009 -- an event which goes a long way in deciding the Canadian Olympic teams for 2010.

Halifax and Vancouver are also being considered.

"Winnipeg certainly has a great chance after building this to get that event," said Boutilier.

The Slam, a partnership between the WCT, the Children's Hospital Foundation and the MTS Centre, won't be back next year because the Brier will be in Winnipeg, but "it will definitely be one of the four major events" in 2009 Boutilier said.

The question now is whether that event will be the Players Championship. A decision on the venue will come by the end of April this year.

BATTER UP: Ben Hebert was practising his baseball swing during a timeout when it happened.

The lead for Kevin Martin was warming up when the head of his broom flew off and hit a woman in the crowd several rows up.

"I was just stretching," Hebert said. "My back gets sore from sweeping. I do that lots. I guess I should have done it with my other broom, obviously I didn't know the head was loose. Whoa, that's a scary thing."

Hebert hopped the on-ice barricade, ran up the stairs and gave the woman an apologetic hug.

"She said 'It's OK, no worries, go play well.' It didn't hit her hard but still. Next time maybe I'll head out to the chiropractor before I work on my baseball swing in an arena."

The Martin team ended up signing the broom and presenting it to the fan.

BITER: Many of the curlers noted the Winnipeg Slam was the premier of all WCT events. Randy Ferbey called it "best event all year," praising the fans and the ice, made by Stonewall's Mark Shurek.


Videos

Photos