Now that the last rock has been thrown at the 2018 Tim Hortons Brier, fans are reflecting on an exciting week of curling.
Brenda Ferleyko said she’s thankful to have been able to enjoy her first men’s curling championship in the comfort of her hometown.
“Being part of the crowd, being in the stands and to capture all these shots — they were absolutely wonderful,” Ferleyko said with a smile.
Looking back at the week, Ferleyko said this year’s Brier rocked her world.
“It was wonderful taking part in this, and I feel very blessed that I was able to. Thank God Regina had the Brier — I wouldn’t have missed it.”
For many, a highlight was Team Alberta’s success Saturday, when Brendan Bottcher’s rink won the 3 vs 4 page playoff 6-5 in an extra end against Brad Jacobs’ Team Northern Ontario.
“It was breathtaking almost. I think when they’re that young and they have a game like that, they have everything to be proud of,” said Brier on-ice volunteer Judy Bell.
While Saskatchewan’s Team Laycock didn’t make it to the finals, Bell said they had a good run on home ice.
“They did very well. They almost made it and I’m very proud of them.”
Meanwhile, Saskatoon’s Wally Hyshka said it was just as exciting in the stands. He watched two sets of people in his section win the 50/50 draw.
“They had the tickets, they were from St. Gregor, and they got $4,933 each. They (weren’t) at the Brier since,” laughed Hyshka.
After travelling all the way from Abbottsford, B.C. to attend his 16th Brier, Tim Hordal said Regina stacks up well against all the previous host cities.
“I think (Regina’s) one of the best. The arena’s not too big, but it’s not overcrowded for doing anything you want to do here. The Brier Patch is big, roomy, friendly and the entertainment’s great,” said Hordal, adding he liked the new card-only pay system at the Patch bar.
However, as a veteran fan of the Brier, Hordal mentioned he didn’t enjoy the new format.
“Personally, I would like them to change the format. I appreciate all the provinces and territories want to be represented, but I do think it does affect the total level of competition a little bit,” Hordal explained.
This year was the fifth time Regina has hosted the Brier. It was first held in the Queen City in 1955, then again in 1976. The Brandt Centre was also home to the tournament in 1992 and, most recently, in 2006.
Organizers happy with attendance
Curling fans might be a little tired out from the Brier Patch this weekend, but that’s nothing compared to the team of volunteers who organized it all.
“Ten days, it finally caught up. You know, you’re running on a little adrenaline and then it’s over,” commented Shannon England, who was vice-chair of the organizing committee, in an interview with the 980 CJME Morning Show Monday.
He said the major snowstorm last week didn’t seem to put a damper on the event at all.
“We had a goal of 100,000 paid attendance and we’re over that. We’re probably around 110, or maybe a little bit more,” said England. “We got hit pretty hard on the Monday – Tuesday with the snow, so I don’t know if we would have hit the 120,000 that we had back in the ’06 Brier, but we’re very happy that we hit our goals.”
England noted the brand new International Trade Centre was an excellent facility and will help the city bring back the Brier sooner rather than later.