Rock On! Curling Canada Unveils PointsBet Invitational, Curlers And Fans React

Written By Robyn McNeil on June 22, 2022
Curling stones on ice. Curling Canada announces PointsBet Invitational coming to NB in the fall

Curling fans can look forward to new teams, a new format, and new ways to be entertained at Curling Canada’s newest championship, the PointsBet Invitational.

The week-long tournament, announced earlier this week, goes down Sept. 21-25 at Willie O’Ree Place in Fredericton, N.B. The first major of the 2022-23 season event combines Canada’s best men’s and women’s teams. It’s also the first of a quadrennial leading to Italy and the 2026 Winter Olympics.

PointsBet Canada’s Ontario online sportsbook sponsors the event.

Invitational showcases partnership with PointsBet Canada sportsbook

The new format for Curling Canada’s Season of Champions features 16 men’s and 16 women’s teams in a single-knockout tournament.

More than $350,000 in prize money is on the line.

“The drama and emotion of a single-knockout bracket tournament is well-chronicled in sports such as tennis and the NCAA basketball championships,” said Curling Canada’s CEO Katherine Henderson.

“We expect our new event to bring that kind of passion and excitement to curling. It’s also a chance for us to showcase our partnership with PointsBet, and, happily, finally bring a major championship to Fredericton after a couple of disappointing years of cancellations due to the pandemic.”

Fredericton gets its groove back after pandemic cancellations

Fredericton was to host the 2020 Home Hardware Canada Cup and 2022 Continental Cup. However, we all know the pandemic cancelled the best-laid plans.

“It is truly an honour to host the inaugural PointsBet Invitational,” said Wayne Tallon, host committee chair.

“After having had two events cancelled due to COVID, we are looking forward to the opportunity to host this event. For our fans and volunteers, it will be exciting for them to watch all the new teams compete in their first big event. We look forward to working with the City of Fredericton, Curling Canada and the title sponsor PointsBet to roll out the red carpet for the players, coaches and fans.”

PointsBet Canada online sportsbook prioritizes fan connection

The PointsBet Canada Invitational is the first curling event sponsored by PointsBet Canada, Curling Canada’s official sports betting partner. It’s also the first time a sportsbook operator is the title sponsor of an event like this in Canada.

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“Since Day 1 of our partnership with Curling Canada, we have made it a priority to offer new and exciting ways for fans to connect with the sport we all love,” said Nic Sulsky, PointsBet Canada’s CCO.

“Whether it is the Trailer Park Boys throwing rocks with national champions Kevin Koe and Kerri Einarson, or events like the PointsBet Invitational, we are committed to working with Curling Canada to excite the existing supporters but to also attract the next generation of fans.”

Celebrity invitational

Following Friday’s “Elite Eight” rounds, there will be a Celebrity Invitational. Fans will get to see Canadian celebrities joining elite curlers on the ice for exhibition games.

The announcement of who will be hitting the ice will follow, but you can likely already make a few decent guesses of who might be around.

With only around 1,000 initial seats available, tickets will likely go fast.

The full-event 2022 PointsBet Invitational package sells for $249. A package guarantees a single ticket and seat selection for all ten draws. It also includes access to celebrity match-ups.

Prize money increases with each win. Top teams earn $50k

Curling Canada has yet to release the fields. But, tentatively, the 32 teams will include the top 12 teams according to the revamped World Curling Team Ranking System.

All 32 competing teams receive $5,000 for travel and accommodations and will earn more for each win in the single-knockout tourney. That’s $3,000 for a first-round success, $6,000 for a quarterfinal win, $12,000 for a semi and $24,000 for overall the winners. The two top teams each collect $50,000.

PointsBet Invitational announcement receives warm welcome

“We’re thrilled to see the PointsBet Invitational make its debut in New Brunswick,” said Bernard Savoie, president of the New Brunswick Curling Association.

“We’re also very happy to see Fredericton finally get its opportunity to host a major curling championship after the disappointments of the past two seasons.”

Novice curler Marsha Stagg said she’s looking forward to the new competition.

“It’s fantastic to see high calibre curling returning to the Maritimes,” said Stagg, who curls out of the Mayflower Curling Club in Halifax, NS.

“This new invitational from PointsBet is an exciting way to start the season. I’m excited to see how the new teams are working. There were a lot of changes for some big lineups at the end of last season. These matches will be the first chance to see some of these players together.”

According to Stagg, curlers in her circle want to see the event televised. Even if only on YouTube or live streamed.

A broadcast announcement will follow, as per Curling Canada’s release.

Photo by Aleksandra Suzi, Shutterstock
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Robyn McNeil

Robyn McNeil is a Nova Scotia-based writer and editor. She lives in Halifax in an empty nest with a mischievous cat and a penchant for good stories, strong tea, cheeseburgers, yoga, graveyards, hammocks, gardening, games, herb, and hoppy beer.

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