Shaunavon has been announced as the short notice host community for the 2014 SaskTel Men's Tankard, with 16 of Saskatchewan's best men's curling teams descending on the community on Jan. 29 to Feb. 2, 2014.
The Shaunavon Curling Club stepped forward to host the five-day provincial curling championship in 2014 in place of previously announced Moose Jaw. Moose Jaw had backed out as the scheduled hosts of the 2014 championship in the beginning of December after utilizing a large amount of manpower to host the Capital One Canada Cup of Curling. Moose Jaw set a new Canada Cup of Curling attendance record during the Dec. 2012 event and Moose Jaw's Tankard committee did not want to burn out their volunteers by hosting a second major event in such a short timeframe.
"So we were kind of in scramble mode to make sure we had a place for the Tankard next year. We just thought that Shaunavon maybe was a good place with the new arena facility," admitted Saskatchewan Curling Association Executive Director Amber Holland.
"The Curling Club there has always told us that they would love to host any event, especially now with the new facility and obviously having a couple of newer hotels there has helped with hosting events there."
Shaunavon's Crescent Point Wickenheiser Centre arena ice will be converted into four curling sheets for the five day provincial curling championship, allowing the men's championship to remain on arena ice as opposed to a club curling facility.
"We'd prefer to have this event in an arena setting, obviously because it's great atmosphere for the fans and the players, and good preparation for the team eventually going on to the Brier."
Saskatchewan's champion next year will advance to the 2014 Tim Hortons Brier in Kamloops.
The Shaunavon Curling Club will be hosting back-to-back events, as they are already playing host to the Provincial Juvenile Open Championship on March 14 to 17. This provincial championship is for competitors 17 years of age or under, with winners decided in a men's division, women's division, and an open recreational category. There will be an eight team, triple knockout format for the mens and womens division, while the open recreational event features a two pool round robin followed by a Page Playoff.
Holland notes that curling is not a hard sell in the Southwest, where numerous Southern and provincial championships have been held over the years.
"We're going to pretty much a hot bed of curling because it is well supported in the area."