Brier hopes dashed by Kingston
Doug Geddie, chair of the 2020 Brier Bid committee for St. Catharines, speaks at the press conference announcing the bid. Kingston will be awarded the Brier on Thursday.
St. Catharines’ hopes of landing the 2020 Brier have been swept away.
On Thursday, Curling Canada will announce that Kingston has been selected to host the men’s national curling championship, beating out St. Catharines, Moncton, N.B., and Prince George, B.C.
Doug Geddie, chair of the 2020 Brier Bid committee, was surprised with the choice of Kingston because he thought Moncton was the prime contender.
“They were the runner-up when it went to Newfoundland two years ago and they also have a brand new arena,” he said. “In fact, some of the St. Catharines’ SMG employees were shipped down there to help open it.
“And in New Brunswick, they realize that getting the Brier is a pretty big deal so I knew the Province of New Brunswick was willing to put a lot of money on the table.”
Kingston’s claim to fame in hosting the 2020 Brier is that it would coincide with the Kingston Curling Club’s 200th anniversary.
“I don’t know whether that’s enough to win them the bid or not, but good for them,” Geddie said.
Geddie describes the St. Catharines bid committee as being at the “lick your wounds and think about it stage.
“I still would like to host the Brier and I think this community and the Golden Horseshoe could support it, but I don’t know whether St. Catharines could follow Kingston in 2021.”
He feels it’s unlikely Curling Canada would choose to host the event in Ontario in consecutive years.
“It would have been easier to go after 2021 if it had gone to another province.”
In hindsight, the only thing the bid committee might have done differently is to have had more advance ticket deposit sales.
“We did 500 at $10 apiece and I know the other communities were selling more than that at $50 apiece,” Geddie said. “When the Brier went to Newfoundland, they sold out half their arena before they even got the bid, which was stupendous.
“I don’t know if that was a factor or not, but if you ask me, I wish we would have sold more advance tickets.”
The bid committee is going to take a look at other opportunities and not just on frozen surfaces.
“Maybe we would look at golf,” Geddie said. “I would love to see the Mackenzie Tour (formerly Canadian Tour) come to Niagara.”
The St. Catharines Golf and Country Club hosted the Canadian Tour championship in 2009 and 2010.
The St Catharines Brier bid had the support of the City of St. Catharines, the Region of Niagara, the St. Catharines Downtown Association, the St. Catharines Golf and Country Club and SMG Canada.
Curling Canada’s Gord McNabb said the St. Catharines bid was excellent, but was in competition with three other excellent bids.
St. Catharines mayor Walter Sendzik is looking ahead following the news.
“While we are disappointed that St. Catharines is not the winning bid, we remain committed to hosting a future Brier championship,” he said. “Our community has a long history of curling and hosting major tournaments, including the 2017 Scotties and this will not be the last one.”
St. Catharines and Niagara hosted the 2017 Scotties, the national women’s curling championship, and it had an economic impact in excess of $9 million.
Anyone who made a deposit on advance tickets for the St. Catharines 2020 Brier will have their refunds issued directly by TicketMaster.