As the first tournament in the new Capital One Grand Slam of Curling season, the event would normally be big enough on its own. However, as The Curling News has previously reported, this one is worthy of it’s new World Cup name.
No less than 10 of the international teams headed to February’s Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games will take part, challenged by four of the top dogs headed to December’s Canadian Olympic Trials: Kevin Martin, Glenn Howard, Randy Ferbey and Kevin Koe.
A fifth Canadian team will also take part. Brad Gushue’s foursome, fresh off their victory at the first World Curling Tour stop of the season, will compete at the Hershey Centre. The Gushues are looking to win a spot into the Trials at the last-gasp qualification event at Prince George, B.C. in November.
As The Curling News reported last winter, Grey Power first jumped into the Slam sponsorship world by taking title rights to the season-ending Players’ Championship in Grande Prairie.
“We’re thrilled to be increasing our involvement with one of Canada’s favourite sports through our partnership with the World Cup of Curling,” said Catherine Smola, President of Grey Power Insurance Brokers Inc.
“We are hugely impressed by the passion Canadians have towards curling and we believe these world class events represent a tremendous opportunity for us to further connect with our customers.”
Today’s announcement comes from the Slam, the Tour and also from an organization called iSport Media and Management. This is the new home of Kevin Albrecht, the man who first built the Grand Slam property at IMG Canada and took it to Insight Sports some three years ago.
“The ability to extend our partnership with Grey Power to include two of curling’s biggest international tournaments reinforces the growth and popularity of the Capital One Grand Slam of Curling series,” said Albrecht.
“Grey Power’s brand and services have proven to be an ideal fit for curling’s passionate fan base and we are looking forward to building on the success of last year’s Grey Power Players’ Championship.”
Among the international Olympic teams headed to Hershey are reigning World champions David Murdoch of Scotland, reigning World bronze medallist Thomas Ulsrud of Norway, 2007 World silver medallist Andreas Kapp of Germany, 2006 Olympic bronze medallist John Shuster of the United States, 2008 World fourth-place finisher Fengchun Wang of China, defending World University Games champion Niklas Edin of Sweden, France’s Thomas Dufour and Denmark’s Ulrik Schmidt.
The final nation to compete in the Grey Power World Cup is Switzerland. A best-of-seven series between Ralph Stoeckli and Stefan Karnusian will declare their Olympic rep, who will then appear in Mississauga.
The 2009 Grey Power World Cup of Curling is being lauded as the first major international curling event to be held in the Greater Toronto Area since 1986, when Toronto hosted the World Men’s Curling Championship.
The Toronto Curling Association has been a strong partner of the Grey Power World Cup of Curling with strong support from all of the TCA’s 23 member curling clubs.
Following the Grey Power World Cup, the 2009-10 men’s Capital One Grand Slam of Curling series continues with The National, taking place at the Sleeman Centre in Guelph, Ont. from January 6-10, 2010; the BDO Classic Canadian Open, from January 20-24, 2010 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg; and concludes with the Grey Power Players’ Championship, an event featuring separate men’s and women’s draws, to be hosted in April (dates and location TBA).
Two additional women’s Grand Slam events get underway next month, with the Calgary’s Trail Appliances Classic on October 9-12 and the Manitoba Lotteries Women’s Curling Classic scheduled for Winnipeg on October 23-26.