REGINA — Officials gathered at the Cooperator’s Centre in Regina Thursday to announce that the SaskTel Tankard provincial championship will be returning to the Queen City in 2022.
“I know that many community members have been waiting for this announcement for some time,” said CurlSask executive director Ashley Howard.
The men’s tournament is set to take place on Feb. 9-13 in 2022, with an arena full of spectators cheering on the province’s top 12 curling teams to a coveted spot at the Tim Horton’s Briar.
It will be the 94th edition of the championship, which was cancelled in 2021.
“Regina marks a perfect return for us. It's a host committee that's had success in the past and we’re really excited to see them do it again,” said Howard. “I think everyone is anxious to get out of the house and get to a live sporting event, and this is the perfect place for it.”
Regina last hosted the Tankard in 1989, said chair of the bid committee Bernadette McIntyre, and seeing the event return to the Queen City will only add to its history of big curling moments.
Bob Sonder from Curl Regina said the organization is excited to play host to the championship, and offered thanks to those who helped secure a successful bid.
“Our volunteers and curlers are very primed and excited to welcome this event to Regina at this time,” said Sonder.
Regina curler Kirk Muyres, second on Mark Dunstone’s team who represented Saskatchewan at last year’s Briar, also expressed excitement at potentially competing in the Regina rink once again.
Team Dunstone is hoping to find victory at the Olympic trials in November, said Muyres, but wouldn’t be disappointed to settle for another shot at heading to the Brair.
“I think getting to play a Tankard in your hometown, in the Cooperator’s Centre over there, is a pretty nice consolation prize,” said Muyres.
Organizers hope that hosting the championship in a larger community will help to up the enthusiasm levels, especially as curlers who hit the sheets this past year did so with said audiences at all.
Around 40 local and provincial curling events were cancelled last year, said Howard, and many clubs didn’t operate at all due to the pandemic.
“I think it’s those challenges and issues we faced over the past year, but also in the spirit of the resiliency that the curling community has shown, that really makes today's announcement extra special,” said Howard.
The 2020 Tankard is expected to function much like a pre-pandemic curling event, with fans in the stands and all the other expectations of a CurlSask event.
CurlSask also previously announced that the women’s provincial championships will be held at Assiniboia in January.
Howard confirmed that the separate dates for the men’s and women’s dates are due to the Olympics schedule this year.