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Sarnia to host masters at Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event

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Troy Shantz

Some of the world’s best curlers are coming to Sarnia next year.

The Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling tour will make its first stop of the 2020-21 season at the Sarnia Arena on Oct. 20-25.

“It would be the highest level of curling. It’s the same people you see in the Olympics,” said Michael Hearse, general manager of the host Sarnia Golf and Curling Club.

The round-robin bonspiel will feature 15 of the top men’s and 15 of the top women’s teams from around the world competing for the Masters crown.

The Sarnia stop is the first of six series stops with teams vying for their share of a $2.1-million purse.

It’s the first time Sarnia-Lambton has hosted any Masters or Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling events, said Tourism Sarnia-Lambton.

Sportsnet, owner and broadcaster of the series, approached the Sarnia Golf and Curling Club because the community is known as a curling hotbed, said TSL marketing co-ordinator Vicky Praill.

The Progressive Auto Sales Arena might seem a natural venue for a six-day tournament, but organizers prefer the look and feel of the Brock Street Barn, she said.

“They actually like those sort of smaller community rinks, the ones that have character,” Praill said.

“They want to make sure the stands are full. They’d rather sell-out than have 2,000 people in an arena with half the seats empty.”

A few days prior to the event, crews will convert the home of the Sarnia Legionnaires into five sheets of world-class curling ice, shaving back layers before adding paint, logos and the finely pebbled surface needed for curling ice, explained Hearse.

“It’s quite an operation.”

Sportsnet will broadcast more than 27 hours of coverage from Sarnia Arena Oct. 20-25, TSL said.

Qualifiers have yet to happen so the curlers participating are not yet known.

Tickets went on sale Dec. 12 at 10 a.m. and are available at www.ticketscene.ca/GSOC. An early bird ticket package for the full six-day event and 18 draws is $175 plus HST/service charges.

For more, visit http://thegrandslamofcurling.com

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