Camrose to host Continental Cup

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:46 AM ET

CAMROSE -- They're still doin' the Continental in Western Canada.

A week before the 2007 Continental Cup returns to Medicine Hat and a year after the event was held in Chilliwack, B.C., curling's 2008 version of the Ryder Cup will be held in the Rose City.

The Dec. 18-21 event will be held in the gorgeous Edgeworth Centre, a 2,500-seat arena facility opened in September.

North America has battled Europe to a 2-2 draw since the format was introduced in the event's inaugural go at Regina in 2002. The highlight of that event featured Edmonton rivals Kevin Martin and Randy Ferbey cheering for each other.

Camrose will have several interesting wrinkles:

- With the emergence of the Chinese women's team at last year's worlds, 2008 will be the first Continental Cup billed as North America vs. The World. Asian countries have embraced curling and chances are good teams from that area could be nominated by the World Curling Federation.

- TSN's new role as curling's primary television source means 28 hours of the event will be telecast for the first time ever.

- The adjacent party room will be called the Continental Divide.

While the announcement had local organizers dancing for joy, there was a different dance about the event scheduled for the 2009 mid-December time slot.

That would be the Olympic Trials.

Based on the record turnouts in Edmonton for the 2005 Brier and 2007 men's world championship, Edmonton has been touted as a slam dunk to host the Trials.

Hold on a minute, cautioned Warren Hansen, manager of event operations and media for the Canadian Curling Association.

Kamloops has thrown its hat into the ring with a million dollar guarantee, backed by the B.C. government. The thinking is to keep the biggest event leading up to the 2010 Olympics in B.C.

"Pretty much," said Hansen, when asked if this is turning into a bidding war "(Today) I'll be having some discussions with this (Edmonton) group. What I'm trying to put together is a complete financial rundown resume of the option of the event being held in Kamloops vs. the one being held in Edmonton."

It may not be a slam dunk yet, but the legacy fund from the two previous Edmonton events should give this city's hopes of hosting the event some good ammuniton.

"The CCA is in a position now where money is an important consideration," admitted Hansen.

The CCA board has to consider up-front money and risk-reward factors. In this case, it's going to be hard to shut up the money.

"Many people would say Edmonton should be a slam dunk vs. Kamloops, but there's things we have to weigh," said Hansen.

"Certainly, with Edmonton the potential is bigger, but so is the risk. We have a lot of costs we'd face in Edmonton we wouldn't face in Kamloops. We know in Kamloops we'd probably sell it out very quickly because it's a smaller building."

Hansen expects the final announcement will be made at the 2008 Brier in Winnipeg.


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