Over 200 volunteers helped put on the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling tournament in Lloydminster late last month. SUBMITTED PHOTO
The Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling Masters tournament showcased the best Lloydminster has to offer to thousands of local curling fans able to attend the event as well as millions more across Canada through the Sportsnet broadcasts.
Cindy Rekimowich, co-chair of the local Masters organizing committee, said approximately 1,100 to 1,400 people attended each of the Grand Slam of Curling draws at the Centennial Civic Centre during the Oct. 24-29 Masters event.
She said over 200 volunteers helped make sure these spectators were well taken care of, and the tournament itself went off without a hitch.
“It couldn’t happen without the volunteers,” said Rekimowich. “We have an amazing crew and I’m glad to be from Lloydminster. I’m very proud to be from this community because these people always step up.”
Rekimowich said the volunteer help started as soon as Sportsnet and the City of Lloydminster announced this past April that the Masters would be coming to town. She said volunteer duties included signing sponsors, program and box office sales, ushers, ticket takers, bar services, statisticians, time keepers, take down and a set up crews.
“We had a handful of volunteers who worked, and our city staff worked, with (Sportsnet) to build the ice,” she said. “They were working with professional ice makers, so it was a great value to our volunteers.”
Mark Shurek, a Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling ice technician, said a crew of about 12 local volunteers and city staff helped the three-man Sportsnet ice building team transform the Civic into a curling rink over a span of approximately three days.
He said they completed the process by first levelling the ice surface before painting it, installing the logos, placing down the foam and then flooding the sheets until they were all level.
“Once that’s done we’ve got to scrape the ice, which is the important part to shape it for the curl,” said Shurek, noting the hockey ice remained untouched under the curling sheets throughout the process.
“Once we do that we test it out a little bit and then if it’s not what we want we scrape it a little bit more. Then off of that (the curlers) start.”
Shurek said they had an amazing turnout of local volunteers to help them complete the ice-making process. He added the arena staff also supplied them with anything they needed, making the transformation an easy job.
Rekimowich noted the anticipated four-day tear down of the curling rink started right after the final match of the tournament. She said the volunteer turnout for that stage of the event also exceeded expectations.
“The volunteers are crucial,” said Rekimowich, shortly after Jennifer Jones defeated Kerri Einarson for the Masters women’s championship.
“We did a call for volunteers and there are more than probably 40 or 50 who are taking it down. It will probably be down in record time.”