After months of planning and preparation, Liverpool is ready to welcome 28 junior curling teams from across Canada to the 2014 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Curling Championships Jan. 18-26, the largest event ever hosted in the community.
The draw schedule shows three draws daily played on eight sheets shared between the Liverpool Curling Club and at the converted event centre, Queens Place Emera Centre. The list of teams is growing daily as each province hosts its qualifiers and announces who will represent them at the Nationals.
Joined by a team of 150 volunteers, the host committee says it has been overwhelmed by the community’s eagerness to get involved and the events they've added through the Championship Festival. Chairman Greg Thorbourne says it's all coming together just as he imagined it would.
While the championship officially begin Saturday, Jan. 18, with the opening ceremonies, transformation of the venues has already begun at the Liverpool Curling Club with the conversion of four sheets to three. The transformation of QPEC will begin on Jan. 12 as the host committee ice team takes over to create the five sheets that will be ready for the team practices on Jan. 17, and host the semi-finals and the TSN live broadcasts of the championship games for the women on Jan. 25 and men on Jan. 26.
Between games, the host committee has worked with the community to integrate local experiences into all aspects of the program for the teams as well as the spectators. Complementing the draw schedule set forth by the Canadian Curling Association, the Championship Festival includes nine days of special events, meals and experiences.
Storefronts at businesses throughout Liverpool will showcase curling displays, many will have local ‘artist in residence’ as well. The Queens Arts Council has been co-ordinating ‘Artspiel’ to introduce visitors to the area’s artists. At Queens Place Emera Centre both the Queens Arts Council and Acadia First Nation will host demonstrations by a variety of talented local artists throughout the championship.
Thanks to the students at the Liverpool Regional High School, even the streets will be swept up in the action. Students carved out and painted oversized curling stones that will hang from street poles along the route between the Curling Club and QPEC.
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- Team Fay defeated in semifinals at Canadian Juniors
Folks won’t go hungry during the Championship either. In addition to the restaurants, there are chowder dinners, a lobster luncheon along with the host committee’s café at Queens Place Emera Centre and Liverpool Curling Club that feature locally infused menu options. Each evening curling enthusiasts will have plenty to take in as well. There are nightly pub nights with live Nova Scotian music, parents’ nights and dances as well.
As the event approaches, vice-chair Donna Hatt says they have been delighted to have the event embraced so positively by their partners, community, volunteers, and sponsors. More than two dozen sponsors have come together to assist us with every aspect of the event.
“We’d created various levels of sponsorship that would engage government, businesses and the community in meaningful ways” said Hatt in a media release. “Our goal was to creatively fulfill our hosting needs for everything from vehicles and computers to promotions and marketing and everything in between. Our creative approach has served us well, we’re feeling very confident and comfortable as we head into the championship.”
As the junior teams start packing to head to Liverpool, final details are being attended to, volunteers are undergoing training, families are booking into the area hotels and the Town prepares to welcome the Canadian Juniors, and the host committee closely watches ticket sales with expectations of having the stands filled for the opening ceremonies and championship days with healthy audiences throughout the week.