Curlers invade Toronto for Players' Championship

The Players' Championship began play Tuesday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, inside the...

The Players' Championship began play Tuesday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, inside the renovated Maple Leaf Gardens. (ANIL MUNGAL/Sportsnet)

GEORGE KARRYS, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:21 AM ET

TORONTO - The world's top curlers are hoping a legendary old barn, Maple Leaf Gardens, still has some magic in the ice.

Now known as Mattamy Athletic Centre, the Gardens is hosting The Players' Championship, the final curling event of the season. Thirty of the top men's and women's teams are battling for some $325,000 in prize money and Grand Slam series bonuses, with the finals taking place on Sunday, April 21.

"It's pretty cool," said Team Kevin Koe lead Nolan Thiessen. "You walk out to the ice and there's the white roof, there's so much history. Elvis played here. When you think of all the bands that played here, all the events ... "

Koe's Edmonton crew started strongly Tuesday night with a 5-3 opening-draw win over defending Players' champion John Epping of Toronto Donalda. Koe, who fired a scintillating 95 in shooting percentage, built a 2-1 lead and added steals in the third and fourth ends to pull away.


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