Hurry, hard, but where? Curling venue not in plans
Games bid fails to identify location
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.