Another major provincial curling championship is making a stop in the City of Winkler in 2018. The Viterra Championship will see the top thirty-two men's curling teams in the province converge in Winkler for a chance to represent Manitoba at the Tim Hortons Brier in Regina, SK in March 2018.
"We haven't done it before. I think with a really good success, the first time, with the Scotties. We thought, why not?," said host committee chair Louis Tanguay.
The men's championship was formerly known as the Safeway Championship and Tanguay added in order to host it you needed to have a Safeway in your community, which Winkler doesn't. Tanguay noted roughly two years ago it was renamed the Viterra Championship, and there is a Viterra in the area and they were now able to host it.
"We thought it was a natural fit the first time (for the Scotties). We thought we'd put our name and we are a little surprised that we got approved so quickly," added Tanguay.
Tanguay noted he was thrilled to find out that they were awarded the men's championship now.
"When we finished hosting the Scotties, many people were absolutely thrilled and had a great time," said Tanguay. "They thought, 'when can we do the men's now'. Thirty-two teams. It's going to be busy. There will be five sheets of ice instead of four sheets of ice, because you have to accommodate the draw."
With thirty-two teams comes double the amount of athletes who are needing accommodations compared to the sixteen teams for the Scotties, which does pose a bit more of a challenge, but it's already been looked after.
As for the community, Tanguay is optimistic the surrounding community will step up once again, and show their support in terms of sponsorships, volunteering, or just helping out in any way they can.
"Everyone I spoke to after hosting the Scotties and leading up to the announcement, were excited to have the men come," explained Tanguay. "You can't make the assumption that because the Scotties were so well attended that the fever will come again. We have a year to build it up. In general terms it will be a well attended event."