PORT HAWKESBURY: One of the most high profile sports events to visit the area in quite some time wrapped up last Sunday as Team Morris got the drop on Brad Jacobs and company to capture the Princess Auto Elite 10 title.
With the game all square in the eighth end, Morris sat four stones in the house but not shot rock. It all came to Team Morris fourth Jim Cotter making the final throw of the championship game. And what a shot it was as Cotter wound up and pulled off a beauty angle raise to chip out Jacobs’s counter and capture the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title with a 1-up victory.
It’s the eleventh time John Morris has found the winner’s circle in the series, but it was his first win with Cotter, second Tyrel Griffith, and lead Rick Sawatsky.
The event ran from last Thursday morning to Sunday, and it brought with crowded parking lots at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre, at local restaurants, at hotels, coffee shops, gas stations, and pretty much everywhere else in town.
Pulling off an international event doesn’t happen by accident, as the volunteer effort saw various people throughout the town and general area pitch in. It’s estimated that at least 85 folks – many from the Strait Area Community Curling Club — were volunteering over the four-day event.
Monetary aid also came in the form of assistance from the province and the federal government.
On March 15, Rodger Cuzner, Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-Canso, announced the Government of Canada would assist with funding. The money came through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)’s Business Development Program, and was announced on behalf of Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
The feds offered $87,000 in funding. An additional $35,000 was presented through the Province of Nova Scotia’s Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
“What we know is that, for a great event, you certainly need a great facility, and the Civic Centre certainly provides that,” Cuzner said, adding that he commends the community for having the vision and work ethic to make the Civic Centre a reality.
“It’s an award-winning facility,” he said. “[It was built with] the mindset that the community could host events like this, and they’re to be commended on a night like tonight.”
Having so many people visit Port Hawkesbury is a nice way of buoying the total amount of business done in the town, Cuzner said, while adding to the profile of the town across Canada – and internationally.
“We absolutely believe that it’s good business to have heads in beds,” he said. “It’s good business to let people across this country know what we are and where we are, and that when you come to this area, you’ll have a great experience. Those are essential to being successful in the tourism sector.”
“This event pays immediate dividends, but also long-term dividends.”
Kristi Petrushchak, the Senior Manager of the Grand Slam of Curling for Sportsnet, noted that she and her team felt people in the area were making it easy for curlers to want to come here.
“We can’t do this without the support of the volunteers and the committees, and the hospitality that is just so overwhelming for all of us when we’re going to a community,” she said.
“Our goal is to make sure that you all have fun. The curlers all have such a great time. Thank you so very much for welcoming us here and hosting us.”
Speaking on behalf of the town and Civic Centre was Paula Davis, the Director of Marketing, Recreation, Tourism and Culture for Town of Port Hawkesbury. She said the town was thrilled to receive the governmental funding, and also thrilled to see the curlers arrive.
‘‘This event not only highlights the tremendous resource that our community volunteers have become, but also builds upon our Town’s capacity to host prestigious sporting events,” she said. “We are so excited to welcome the coaches, athletes, fans and media to our region.’’