One more stop before Sochi
by Sam Corea
KITCHENER, ONTARIO – Four out of the 24 teams that came to Kitchener this week kept their Olympic dreams alive by winning their events in the Road to the Roar qualifier. Now, it’s on to Winnipeg for the December 1 start of the Roar itself, the Canadian Olympic Trials.
At the end of all the sweeping, draws, freezes and takeouts during the six days of competition at the Memorial Auditorium, Team John Morris from BC and Team Brad Jacobs from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario grabbed the final two men’s berths into the Roar of the Rings.
Jacobs, the defending Brier champion, won a tense 7-5 battle last night over 2006 Olympic gold medallist Brad Gushue of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador to become the eighth and final men’s Trials qualifier.
On the women’s side, it was all Alberta as Teams Renée Sonnenberg from Grand Prairie and Val Sweeting of Edmonton punched their tickets to Winnipeg for the chance to become Team Canada at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
“It was pretty exciting to have a field with so much talent,” said Host Committee Chair Cynthia Roth, moments after receiving a recognition award from the Canadian Curling Association. “It was great for the fans and the volunteers to rub shoulders with past and possible future Olympians.”
Roth said the committee started recruiting the more than 200 volunteers more than a year ago. They had a variety of roles during the event from shuttle driving, to ice crew, to working in the media centre or taking care of signage.
“We’ve had great crowds and we’ve been impressed with the ticket sales and community support,” added Roth. “The City of Kitchener and the arena staff have been amazing to deal with.”
In offering a big thank you to sponsors and everyone who supported the event, Roth said: “We’re a very tired but pleased group. This event has been a huge success.”
Final attendance over six days and nights at The Aud was 29,617... nearly a 20 per cent increase over the total posted in the inaugural 2009 Road to the Roar at Prince George, B.C.
[The Curling News photo copyright ® by Anil Mungal. Click on image to increase viewing size]