Road to the Roar deemed suc­cess

Journal Pioneer - - FRONT PAGE - BY COLIN MA­CLEAN

Credit Union Place (CUP) em­ploy­ees were busy Mon­day morning re­vert­ing Eastlink Arena into a hockey rink af­ter it spent the pre­vi­ous week host­ing the Home Hard­ware Road to the Roar Olympic curl­ing pre-tri­als.

The tele­vised event oc­cu­pied the Sum­mer­side fa­cil­ity from Nov. 6 to 12.

While the CUP crew was work­ing on the ice, Til­mon Pineau was en­joy­ing a cof­fee in the fa­cil­ity lobby.

Pineau has been a fan of curl­ing for a long time and at­tended sev­eral of the event’s matches.

Over­all he gave it a great re­view, but was sad that more peo­ple didn’t take ad­van­tage of it.

“The whole venue –i It was hard to be­lieve I was in Sum­mer­side. The way it was set up, it was re­mark­able,” he said.

He added, “I was dis­ap­pointed in the amount of peo­ple here. The crowd was sparse. But the curl­ing was top notch.”

As far as or­ga­niz­ers are con­cerned, the event went off well

de­spite some un­ex­pected chal­lenges.

JP Des­rosiers, Sum­mer­side’s com­mu­nity ser­vices di­rec­tor, said the event sold about 18,000 tick­ets. One ticket was re­quired to watch one draw and there were about four draws per day. Des­rosiers es­ti­mates the event brought more than 330 ath­letes and re­porters alone to the Sum­mer­side area.

In terms of eco­nomic spinoff for the area, he pointed to the Kitch­ener-Water­loo 2014 Road to the Roar, which, in a post event re­view, was shown to have gen­er­ated $2.4 mil­lion. Sum­mer­side’s event is ex­pected to have ex­ceeded that num­ber. Des­rosiers added that he was proud and ap­pre­cia­tive of the fa­cil­ity staff and the 120 volunteers who con­trib­uted an es­ti­mated 6,000 com­bined hours to make the event a suc­cess. They could have, how­ever, done with­out the high tem­per­a­tures and rain that con­spired to cre­ate chal­leng­ing hu­mid­ity lev­els in the arena on the sec­ond day of the event. To com­pen­sate for those con­di­tions, they had to drop the tem­per­a­ture in the arena that day.

“I know a lot of the fans prob­a­bly didn’t ap­pre­ci­ate be­ing kept cold. I cer­tainly was one of them, but our abil­ity to do that helped us keep the event and not lose the ice, which would have been cat­a­strophic. So as cold as peo­ple were, there are fa­cil­i­ties out there that wouldn’t have been able to do that and would have lost the ice,” he said. The event also saw a log­jam of re­quired tie-breaker games, which was prob­lem­atic for the Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­monies sched­uled to take place on the ice sur­face on Nov. 11.

“We thought we’d have the en­tire morning to set up and we ended up with seven min­utes,” said Des­rosiers.

But, again, ev­ery­one worked to­gether to pull it off, he said. “The City of Sum­mer­side just re­ally stepped up. That’s a world class fa­cil­ity,” said Al Cameron, di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and me­dia re­la­tions with Curl­ing Canada.

The suc­cess of the Road to the Roar will be a feather in the com­mu­nity’s cap if it de­cides to pursue sim­i­lar or even larger Curl­ing Canada events in the fu­ture, he added.

“We’re lis­ten­ing to ev­ery and all in­quiries from cities across Canada for our events. Ob­vi­ously Sum­mer­side’s fa­cil­ity and staff at Credit Union Place are a ter­rific group to work with, so I can safely say that we’d be in­trigued to lis­ten to any­thing they might have to of­fer.” The qual­i­fy­ing rinks from the Home Hard­ware Road to the Roar will com­pete in the Tim Hor­ton’s Roar of the Rings in Ot­tawa from Dec. 2 to 10. Win­ners there will de­ter­mine Canada’s four per­son male and fe­male curl­ing teams for the 2018 Pyeongchang, South Korea, Win­ter Olympics.

COLIN MA­CLEAN/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

Credit Union Place in Sum­mer­side suc­cess­ful hosted the Home Hard­ware Road to the Roar Olympic curl­ing pre-tri­als from Nov. 6 to 12. Event or­ga­niz­ers are prais­ing the fa­cil­ity and ev­ery­one who helped make event a re­al­ity.

COLIN MA­CLEAN/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

Crews were busy at Credit Union Place in Sum­mer­side, Mon­day, re­mov­ing the curl­ing ice from Eastlink Arena.

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