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Ice, rocks and money to the house

Andrew Hill has been hard at work since Sunday turning the hockey rink at the South Okanagan Events Centre into a curling rink.

The Penticton man is one of many volunteers and athletes who will be at the SOEC this week for the World Financial Group Continental Cup.

The event will not only be an opportunity to see the world’s best curlers in action, it is also expected to give a boost to Penticton in the slow winter months.

“This is fantastic. I love to see  all the people I see on TV,” said Hill. “And it’s very good in the off season, winter, to have this.”

Although he didn’t attach an actual dollar amount,  Al Cameron, director, communication and media relations, said the event means money in the bank for  local businesses with players and their families staying at hotels and eating at restaurants.

A TSN crew of about 40 people will be broadcasting 30 hours from the cup, bringing further exposure to Penticton.

“We are happy to be here,” he said. “The Canadian Curling Association embraces the opportunity to come to a market like Penticton and showcase our sport and the community.”

The ninth edition of the Continental Cup, Thursday to Sunday, will  feature Team North America taking on Team World in a unique competitive format, featuring the  greatest names in the game.

Many of the athletes competed in the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver and will be returning for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Each side consists of three men’s and three women’s teams selected on the basis of their success over the past season of competition.

On Wednesday, the teams practiced for the challenging four days ahead,   while volunteers kept busy cleaning the ice and making the rounds.

Scotland’s Eve Muirhead,  a rising star on the international curling scene, said it was a nice venue in a nice city and promised plenty of excitement for spectators.

“This is beneficial to Penticton,” she said. “And to show you how high class this is, it’s going to Las Vegas next year.”

Norwegian curler Thomas Ulsrud described the town as snowy but nice and said he was looking forward to entertaining the crowd with some top curling.

Volunteers Cathy and Wayne Martyn from Calgary have visited Penticton on the May long weekend for years, so they jumped at the opportunity to come back in winter.

They like other volunteers say the curling event is another way to put Penticton on the map.

“I guess the economic effect is obvious in some ways. More importantly it gets more people familiarized with Penticton and hopefully the fact it is televised will spread the word Penticton is a pretty nice place, “said Wayne Martyn.

Mayor Dan Ashton said the city was proud to host the prestigious event at the SOEC.

“This is incredible for the city,” he said. “It’s a big international event and it showcases our events centre.”

To purchase tickets go to www.curling.ca/tickets.



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