People at the Hearts

ALLISON GRAHAM -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 12:28 PM ET

There is definitely a buzz surrounding the Scott Tournament of Hearts. A sense of anticipation was expected at the opening sponsor's reception on Thursday night at the Lamplighter Inn, however, it seems the excitement has extended to the general public as well.

That kind of enthusiasm was exactly what Peter Inch of Roy Inch and Sons, the chairperson of the host committee, was hoping would be created when he envisioned London as the host city for this prestigious women's curling event.

For Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco, welcoming national competitors to London is becoming old hat -- she has had plenty of practice during her two terms in office.

The same could be said for John Winston and the rest of the team from Tourism London. Although right now the focus is curling, Winston was beaming as he rhymed off the tally of upcoming sporting events to be hosted in our city over the next couple of years -- these are definitely exciting times for putting London on the map.

Of course, sponsors are critical to execute tournaments of this magnitude and with Andy Henry in charge of sponsorship fulfilment and working away behind the scenes, it looks like things in this department are well under control.

Having Scott Paper Ltd. as the title sponsor for 25 years running is a great way to get started when looking for money to make the event successful.

The 25th anniversary solidifies the Scott Tournament of Hearts as Canada's longest running corporate sponsorship in amateur sport. As this tourney grows in popularity year after year, the Hearts is said to be responsible for taking women's curling to the next level of sport. I suspect Olympic gold and bronze medals for Canadian curlers will just add to this increase in popularity.

Someone who has witnessed first-hand Scott Paper's commitment to curling is Colleen Jones. The curler and CBC broadcaster has participated in 20 of the 25 Scott Tournament of Hearts.

The London Free Press has the privilege of hosting Colleen and her fellow Nova Scotia teammates Kim Kelly, Mary Anne Arsenault, Nancy Delahunt and Mary Sue Radford for the tournament.

Each of the major sponsors was presented a team jacket and representatives from the companies had dinner with their corresponding team. Next to Scott Paper, the big wig in terms of investment into Hearts is the UPS Store -- formerly Mailboxes Etc.

Ralph Askar, the president and chief executive of the UPS Store, was unavoidably detained so Malcolm Houser, the chief operating officer accepted the honorary coach jacket from Jennifer Jones, the skip for Team Canada and no relation to Colleen.

Others wearing a coach's jacket home included Shawn Wright, Superior Computers, New Brunswick; Jim Detlor, Rogers Wireless, Ontario; Bill Hall, Pattison Outdoor, Quebec; and Brian Rainey, vice-president sales and marketing for McCormick Canada, who hosted Alberta for a tour of the company's facilities earlier in the day.

The three London Ford dealerships -- Courtesy, Highbury and Oakridge -- joined forces to provide transportation for the tournament. Accepting the jackets were Cal Turgin, Courtesy, Mike Ferriera, Oakridge, and Chahid Yassine, Highbury.


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