Lethbridge lining up a shot at the Olympic Curling Trials
During the past 15 years, Lethbridge has successfully hosted all but one elite curling event and that could soon change as the city prepares a bid for the 2025 Canadian Olympic Curling trials.
Lethbridge City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to provide a letter of support, as well as $900,000 in cash and in-kind services, through the Major Community Event Grant budget, to support a bid for the event commonly known as Roar of the Rings. The event would feature both men's and women's curling, with the winners earning spots at the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.
"As we witnessed with the 2022 Tim Hortons Brier, as well as all the other elite curling action held in Lethbridge, there would be significant social and economic benefits to hosting an event of this magnitude," says Mayor Blaine Hyggen, who lead a unanimous recommendation at the March 15 Economic Standing Policy Committee. "The estimated economic impact of the Canadian Curling Trials event is anticipated to rival the 2022 Brier, which saw more than $10 million in economic activity through areas such as hotels, restaurants and shopping in the Lethbridge area. Council is proud to help support this bid."
City Administration reviewed the Lethbridge Curling Club's proposal and believes it is in alignment with the intent of CC55 Major Community Event Hosting Policy and annual funding allocation to enhance the profile and visibility of Lethbridge, thereby contributing to the quality of life. There is no bidding fee paid to Curling Canada and no money changes hands until all accounting is done after the event in 2025. If the bid is unsuccessful, there is no financial impact for the City.
Bids for the 2025 Canadian Olympic Curling Trials must be submitted by the end of the June. Curling Canada will announce the host city in November 2023. The trials would run from November 22-30, 2025.
The Lethbridge Curling Club board has already engaged with and received letters of support from key community stakeholders including the ENMAX Centre, the Lethbridge Hurricanes, the Lethbridge Soccer Centre, the Lethbridge Lodging Association, Tourism Lethbridge, Lethbridge Sport Council and Curling Alberta. As the event is not until 2025, there is ample time for the Lethbridge Curling Club to further engage with stakeholders and community to ensure a successful event.
"The Lethbridge Curling Club would like to thank Lethbridge City Council and Administration for their support of our 2025 Canadian Olympic Trials bid," says Kirk Mearns, General Manager of the Lethbridge Curling Club. "These events inject millions of dollars into the local economy, plus they create a sense of civic pride that contributes to our sharing common memories, emotions and beliefs with other people. They also help build the sport by attracting young people and new adult curlers, as well as inspire upcoming athletes in curling. We are committed to bringing world class curling events to Lethbridge and we are always humbled by and appreciative of the support we get from the City and the citizens of Lethbridge."
"The Lethbridge Curling Club's passion and success in hosting events is a massive economic driver in our community," says Erin Crane, CEO of Tourism Lethbridge. "The Tim Hortons Brier saw visitors spending $10.8 million locally and the total impact provided to the province was $19.7 million. Without organizations like the Lethbridge Curling Club who host large-scale events like this, our community would not be as economically strong and diverse. The Brier also helped to promote Lethbridge across multiple media channels, Canada-wide. The Advertising Equivalent Value (AEV) for the exposure to Lethbridge was almost $25 million. We would never be able to acquire a media package without an event like this."
Other quick facts:
- All revenue from the sale of 50/50 tickets at the 2025 event would stay directly in Lethbridge and would be used to support the Lethbridge Curling Club's diversity programming, junior program, high school curling, senior accessibility as well as "Rocks and Rings" outreach programs, initiatives and equipment
- Curling Canada will guarantee more than 2,000 room nights for their exclusive use, totalling more than $300,000 in room revenue. Local catering, restaurants, retail businesses and tourism attractions would all benefit directly from expenditures
- Local talent would be showcased at the Patch lounge at the Soccer Centre
- Tourism Lethbridge has committed to lead efforts to create adjacent events to showcase Lethbridge to visitors and to engage local Lethbridge residents
- The event would continue to showcase Lethbridge as a destination for hosting prestigious provincial, national, and international sporting and non-sporting events