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Canadian Jr. Curling Championships returning to Fort McMurray

PHOTO. Left to right: RMWB Councillor Jane Stroud, Host Committee Co-Chair Jody Cooper, RMWB Mayor Don Scott, Host Committee Co-Chair Tyler Spitzer, Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche MLA Laila Goodridge, and Regional Recreation Corporation GEO Graig Walsh. Curling Canada announced Fort McMurray will once again host the New Holland Canadian Junior Curling Championship in March 2021. MYMCMURRAY/Phil Wood.

Fort McMurray will host the best young curlers from across Canada in the 2021 New Holland Canadian Junior Curling Championship.

Curling Canada Communications Director, Al Cameron made the announcement at the Suncor Community Leisure Centre on Jan. 14, 2020.

Cameron, who attended the competition held in our region in 2013, said they welcomed the opportunity to return.

“I was here in 2013 and it was exciting; the city really got behind it. So, when the local group approached us and said they would like to do it again, it wasn’t a hard decision.”

Manitoba’s Matt Dunstone and Corryn Brown of B.C. won the men’s and women’s tournaments respectively in 2013.

Community Impacts

Host Committee co-chair Tyler Spitzer, who is also President of the Oil Sands Curling Club, said the club currently has 250-300 members.

“[Ever since 2013], our junior program has gotten bigger, so that’s one reason that bringing up these young curlers that are really the best of the best across Canada helps grow the sport in Fort McMurray at the grassroots level.”

Spitzer said the 2021 bid process really began following the 2013 competition as they remained in contact with Curling Canada.

“Showcasing the high level of talent at this event will inspire local youth and offer amazing sporting entertainment opportunities for the community.”

This would mark the sixth time Alberta will host the combined event.

Cameron said the championship would be a big draw for Wood Buffalo.

“You’re going to have dozens of teams [from across Canada], families, coaches, officials from Curling Canada, and TV production [staff]. That’s a lot of economic activity for the region, and that’s always a big driver for why cities want to host this championship.”

Speaking of media coverage, Cameron said the tournament semifinals and finals would feature on primetime television.

Curling enthusiast and Mayor Don Scott thanked the bid committee for their efforts in securing the competition.

“It’s going to be a great economic opportunity, [and] a great opportunity for young people to see curling and get involved.”

Besides the economic benefits and opportunities for young people to participate and volunteer, Mayor Don Scott said there is a cultural benefit to hosting as well.

“When people come to this community and then they go back, they become ambassadors for this region. That’s priceless, quite frankly, and I’m always so grateful for that.”

The competition features under-21 provincial and territorial curling teams.

Winners from the 2021 New Holland Canadian Juniors would represent Canada at the 2022 World Juniors.