Hurry, hard, but where? Curl­ing venue not in plans

Games bid fails to iden­tify lo­ca­tion

Calgary Herald - - CITY + REGION -

If Cal­gary bids and wins the right to host the 2026 Olympic and Par­a­lympic Games, the plan is to re­use the ma­jor­ity of venues from the 1988 Win­ter Olympics in the city and Can­more.

But the draft host­ing plan pre­sented to city coun­cil Tues­day by the bid cor­po­ra­tion Cal­gary 2026 failed to iden­tify a venue for curl­ing.

The pre­sen­ta­tion re­newed de­bate over a new NHL arena in Cal­gary. The city and Cal­gary Sports and En­ter­tain­ment — which owns the NHL’s Flames — have been at a stale­mate over who should pay how much for a new arena.

But where the curl­ing venue will be lo­cated was also in the spot­light.

Curl­ing was a demon­stra­tion sport held in the Max Bell Arena back in 1988.

Men’s and women’s team curl­ing have been full medal events since 1998.

The ad­di­tion of mixed dou­bles at this year’s Win­ter Olympics in Pyeongchang means the curl­ing venue would be oper­at­ing ev­ery day of the Games.

“Curl­ing, we’ve had pre­lim­i­nary dis­cus­sions with a num­ber of lo­ca­tions and venues through­out the prov­ince,” Cal­gary 2026 chief ex­ec­u­tive Mary Mo­ran said. “We just haven’t landed on it.

“We’ve had pre­lim­i­nary con­ver­sa­tions with Ed­mon­ton. It will be a con­sid­er­a­tion, for sure, for curl­ing, specif­i­cally. It’s not just Ed­mon­ton.

“There are a num­ber of fa­cil­i­ties we could select from.”

Cal­gary has yet to de­cide whether it will bid for an­other Win­ter Games.

City coun­cil has re­served the right to pull the plug on a 2026 bid at any time, although a plebiscite ask­ing Cal­gar­i­ans to vote on it is sched­uled for Nov. 13.

The In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee’s dead­line to bid is in Jan­uary. The host city will be an­nounced in Septem­ber 2019.

Cal­gary 2026 pegged the to­tal price tag of host­ing those Games at $5.23 bil­lion, with $3 bil­lion of that jointly funded by the city and pro­vin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ments.

If Ed­mon­ton even­tu­ally does host Olympic and Par­a­lympic curl­ing, it wouldn’t be the most dis­tant venue from Cal­gary.

The ski jump in Whistler, B.C., is the pro­posed site for that sport and nordic com­bined.

It is a legacy venue from the 2010 Win­ter Games in that city and Van­cou­ver.

The draft host­ing plan pro­posed spend­ing about $500 mil­lion to up­grade eight venues that were used in ’88, in­clud­ing McMa­hon Sta­dium, Sco­tia­bank Sad­dle­dome, Olympic Oval, Can­more Nordic Cen­tre, Nakiska Ski Re­sort, WinS port’s ski hill and slid­ing track, as well as a pair of build­ings on the Stam­pede grounds for the me­dia cen­tres.

The only two new venues pro­posed were a multi-pur­pose field house, which has long been at the top of Cal­gary’s wish list, and a mid-size arena be­tween 5,000 and 6,000 seats.

The field house would be the fig­ure skat­ing and short-track speed­skat­ing venue in 2026.

The arena would serve as the sec­ondary hockey arena, with the pri­mary rink the Sad­dle­dome.

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