Teams are beginning to qualify, tickets are being snapped up, final preparations are starting to take form, all with the goal of making the Canadian women’s national curling championship another success for Moose Jaw.
“It’s crazy to think it’s a month out, we’ve been here for so long,” said Maddie Kelly, Curling Canada marketing co-ordinator. “But at this point, we’re finalizing some stuff, finalizing sponsors, finalizing tickets and just doing one last push.”
The tournament has seen its first six representatives qualify, with a further five qualifying this weekend, including Saskatchewan. Once the draw is finalized on Feb. 3, that’s when the major run on tickets is expected.
“Once everyone knows who is playing when, that’s going to be the big rush,” Kelly said.
A wide variety of ticket packages and single draw tickets are currently available on the Scotties website, through the Mosaic Place box office or by calling 306-624-2050.
Things kick into high gear from an infrastructure point of view on Sunday, Feb. 9 when the Scotties organizing committee takes over Mosaic Place. Work gets underway at 1 a.m. that night with the goal of having everything set and in place for the Wild Card game at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14.
“They start flooding the ice and taking down the boards that night,” Kelly said. “It’s quite a process and as soon as they can start doing it they get to work because it’s so particular.”
Curling Canada has once again assigned legendary ice-maker Dave Merklinger to the event, drawing on his years of experience at national-level tournaments, including the 2015 Scotties at Mosaic Place.
Work on the HeartStop Lounge will begin on Feb. 10, with the installation of the floor and rigging taking initial priority. It, too, will be open for the first game.
And then there’s the small army of volunteers, over 400 of which will need training in preparation for their week of work.
“This event wouldn’t work properly without everyone helping out and there are no small jobs,” Kelly said. “So we want to make sure everyone is comfortable, they’re all scheduled and know what their role is. Then making sure there aren’t any fires we need to put out. The opening weekend kind of is where you see what’s working and not working and by the Monday of the event you get it rolling and it starts to figure itself out.”
Fans looking to figure out if live curling is for them will have the perfect opportunity during the aforementioned Wild Card game. The contest – featuring the top two Canadian Team Ranking System rinks not already qualified – has invariably featured teams that have gone on to reach the championship pool and seriously contend for the title.
The best part? The game is absolutely free, with fans welcome to pack the stands.
“Last year one of our biggest days of ticket sales was after the Wild Card game because people were thinking ‘I really want to see more of this’,” Kelly said. “And hey, it’s Valentine’s Day, so it’s the cheapest date in town. And the HeartStop Lounge will be open after, so you can even kick it all off over there afterwards.”
For more information on the 2020 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, be sure to check https://www.curling.ca/2020scotties/