Lethbridge has set out the welcome mat to the world as the city hosts the top men’s curlers from around the globe. The 2019 Pioneer Hi-Bred World Men’s Curling Championship is taking place this week at the Enmax Centre, running through to the gold-medal game April 7.
It’s the city’s third time in seven years hosting a world curling championship, and Lethbridge’s success at staging the 2012 World Women’s Curling Championship as well as the 2017 World Mixed Doubles and World Seniors Curling Championship no doubt played a key role in bringing the men’s event to the city this year.
Lethbridge has a long and impressive track record of putting on major sports events and the world men’s curling competition will only add to that glowing resume. It’s a feather in the city’s cap that goes far beyond simply having the facilities capable of staging such prestigious events. Perhaps even more important is having the people — the virtual army of willing and capable volunteers — needed to carry out all the work necessary to ensure an event of this magnitude runs smoothly.
In that regard, Lethbridge is indeed fortunate. The city not only has people with the organizational experience and drive to get things done, but always seems to be able to deliver on the volunteer front. That is crucial because without the necessary number of volunteers, the gears of the whole operation start to slip and an event can quickly fall into disarray. It likely doesn’t take too many poorly run events before a community’s reputation will hinder its ability to attract noteworthy events.
Lethbridge has no such problem. When the city was announced last year as the host for the 2019 World Men’s Curling Championship, Resby Coutts, chair of Curling Canada’s Board of Governors, noted, “We know Lethbridge has a proven track record of success when it comes to hosting world-class curling championships, on and off the ice, and I’m positive 2019 will be no exception. I had the privilege of attending the 2017 World Mixed Doubles and World Senior championships, and saw first-hand how passionate the City of Lethbridge is about the sport of curling.”
The city also played host to the 2007 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Canada’s women’s curling championship, the first year the event was played under the Scotties banner, and staged the Canadian mixed curling championship in 2000.
Those are just the curling events. Lethbridge has served as the venue for numerous other major sporting events including the Canada Winter Games in 1975, Skate Canada International in 1990 and 2015, the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge in 2005 and the Tour of Alberta in 2014 and 2016.
Such events not only bring short-term economic benefits for the duration of the event, but help raise the profile of Lethbridge and southern Alberta, producing further spinoff benefits in the longer term.
During the time that the visiting international curlers and their fans are in Lethbridge, they can expect a warm southern Alberta welcome and a well-organized curling event. Those are long-held Lethbridge traditions, and they serve our community well.