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Opinion: Estevan's bid for Scotties could be a game changer

An opinion piece on the impact the 2026 Scotties Tournament of Hearts would have on Estevan.
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A dedicated committee of about 10 members leads the effort to bring the national Scotties Tournament of Hearts 2026 to Estevan. Members Pauline Ziehl Grimsrud, Helen Fornwald, Shirley Hildebrand and Pam Dechief partook in the chamber's latest Coffee Talk.

"If you build it, they will come." An iconic phrase that inspired a lot of change.

I don’t know if the committee that decided to risk and try attracting the national women's curling event to Estevan thought within the frames of that approach, but I think that’s exactly what they are doing right now.

While absolutely nothing is guaranteed, and we are definitely considered a small community for such a big event, a dedicated group with decades of combined experience is putting their time and efforts into a bid in hopes of having nationals in Estevan.

And that in itself defines this community and its leaders.

Estevan's bid to host the 2026 Scotties Tournament of Hearts is definitely about bringing a significant curling championship to our community. But it’s also or even more so about showcasing the heart and soul of Estevan on a grand stage. As we compete for the opportunity, and if we succeed, we’ll have a chance to demonstrate the unique blend of community spirit, volunteerism and passion that defines Estevan the way I see and know it.

Hosting the Scotties would be a monumental achievement, one that could put Estevan on the map in ways we haven't seen before. The economic impact alone is staggering. Curling Canada estimates an economic spinoff of $6 million, a significant influx that would benefit our many businesses and individuals directly and indirectly, as the ripple effects of such an event extend far beyond the curling rink.

Besides, the Scotties is a national event that garners extensive media coverage, providing a platform to showcase Estevan's charm and hospitality to a broader audience. Our previous success with the 2018 SaskTel Men's Tankard provincials, which gained some praise from athletes and officials alike, proved that we have the capability and facilities to host events of this calibre. So, who knows what kind of other doors it may open?

But this bid is about more than just economic and social benefits; it's also about legacy. Hosting the Scotties would inspire our youth, showcase the importance of sports and teamwork, and leave a lasting impact on our community's identity. It's a chance to inspire the next generation of curlers and to reinforce the values of dedication, perseverance and community involvement.

There are definitely some long-term benefits. A successful bid could pave the way for future events, establishing Estevan as a premier destination for other national and international competitions. This would not only sustain our local economy but also foster a culture of sportsmanship and community pride.

The Estevan bid committee shared that Affinity Place has already impressed Curling Canada, and while transforming it is a serious job, we’ve proven we have the expertise to once again turn it into a top-notch curling venue.

It’s hard to judge where we are with the bid so far. Hopefully, we’ll see some enthusiasm over the next little while, as without it, this dream won’t come true. There is definitely some excitement, as some volunteers are already lining up, eager to contribute even before we've secured the bid, the committee said. This speaks volumes about the community spirit that is alive and well in Estevan. Our volunteers have a reputation for their dedication and reliability.

I believe Estevan is ready for this. We have the facilities, the volunteers and the community support to make the 2026 Scotties Tournament of Hearts a resounding success. It's time to rally behind this bid, to show Curling Canada that Estevan is not just a small market but a vibrant, dynamic community ready to welcome the nation and fill those stands.

Let's put our best foot forward and invite everyone we know who is a curling fan or just likes big events, from all across Saskatchewan and beyond, to consider securing their tickets. There is no risk, as in case the bid is unsuccessful, every penny will be returned. But there is sure a big benefit when a national-scale event is coming to your backyard.

The committee made an ambitious move and put all their knowledge and expertise into it. Now we just need a bit of a community push to back it with ticket sales, recommendation letters and simply showing how much energy there is in the Energy City. Let’s do all we can to secure this bid and bring the Scotties home to Estevan.

The benefits are clear, the excitement is building, and the potential is limitless. Together, we can make this happen.