Hearts still could be heading to Kingston

DOUG GRAHAM, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

KINGSTON, Ont. — The Hearts aren't in the cards for Kingston — at least not for the next two curling seasons.

However, Kingston's hopes of hosting a major curling event still appear to be very much alive.

The Canadian Curling Association’s announcement that the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts is going to Red Deer, Alta. has squashed hopes Kingston would land the national women’s curling championship in two years.

However, the chief executive officer for the Canadian Curling Association, Greg Stremlaw, indicated Kingston remains in the picture for hosting a national event.

“Kingston continues to remain on the CCA radar screen and we remain highly interested (in placing) some major curling championship there,” said Stremlaw, adding that dates or an exact event had yet to be confirmed.

“Since 2012 didn't crystallize, Kingston is certainly being looked at for 2013 or is under consideration.”

Ken Thompson, who had been spearheading the Kingston bid to host the 2012 Tournament of Hearts, remained very upbeat about the possibility of the city hosting the top event in women's curling.

“All I can say is that there will be a media conference on Nov. 19 at the K-Rock Centre,” said Thompson, a member at the Cataraqui Golf and Country Club and the chair of the 1991 Brier in Hamilton.

It could work out even better for Kingston if the city lands the 2013 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

That event will be the last national championship before the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The country’s top women’s rinks will all be gearing up for play at the Canadian trials to determine Canada’s entry for the Olympics. While teams still may be tinkering with lineups in 2012, squads will be firmly in place for the 2013 Scotties. The winner in 2013 will automatically go into the Canadian trials and will be a step closer to becoming Canada’s rink for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The Kingston news conference will be in the midst of other CCA announcements coming to award the 2012 Brier, the Canadian juniors and the world women’s championship.

The 2011 Brier is in London, the Canadian juniors are in Calgary and the world men’s is in Regina. Canada alternates yearly with hosting either the men or women’s world championship.

The awarding of the 2012 national junior championship is of local interest because Napanee is courting the event — with plans to play games at the Strathcona Paper Centre and the Napanee Curling Club. There will be 26 rinks (men's and women's) involved in the junior championship.

Only the Brier, which was first held in 1927, has been around longer than the Canadian junior championship.

Stephen Paul, chief executive manager of economic developments for Lennox and Addington, is heading up the Napanee bid.

The town hosted a successful Ontario men’s curling championship in February, which the CCA has obviously noted.

“Napanee is most certainly in the running for one of our events. We are in discussions at this point,” Stremlaw said.

“Napanee has shown with the Ontario Tankard and other events to be a very capable spot for some events.”

Stremlaw said the announcement on the host site for the Canadian junior would come in the next month.


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