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[17 Sep 01]

(Text copied from CCA Press Release)


WINNIPEG, June 29, 2001

The Winnipeg Arena will be the stage for the 2003 Ford World Curling Championships, it was announced today by the World Curling Federation (WCF) and the Canadian Curling Association (CCA).

The 2003 Ford Worlds will be played at the Arena from April 5-13, as 10 men's and 10 women's teams will battle for world titles. Canada has won 26 men's titles since the championship began in 1959 and 12 women's titles since that championship was inaugurated in 1979. The current world champions are Canada's Colleen Jones of Nova Scotia and Peter Lindholm of Sweden. Both won world titles at the 2001 Ford Worlds in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Winnipeg is the first site to be announced for curling's 2003 Season of Champions events, with the Ford Worlds being the final championship of the season.

In making the announcement, Roy Sinclair, President of the World Curling Federation, said, "I am very pleased to announce that Winnipeg will host the 2003 Ford World Curling Championships. I know that the city and surrounding areas will show wonderful support. It's always great to come to Canada for world championships. We haven't been here since 1999, when a very successful Ford Worlds was held in Saint John, New Brunswick. We look forward to another excellent event and wish the organizing committee good luck in its preparations."

Last December, the WCF and CCA came to a four year agreement whereby Canada would stage a world juniors and a Ford Worlds in alternate years, beginning in 2002. Kelowna, British Columbia, was announced several months ago (March 16) as the site for the 2002 World Juniors.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity presented to Winnipeg to be the site for the 2003 Ford Worlds," said Zivan Saper, who, in making today's announcement in his last official duty as outgoing president of the Canadian Curling Association, will now assume the role of president of the host organizing committee. "Winnipeg and its surrounding communities represent tremendous ethnic diversity and I am confident that the championships will be very well supported. I'm hopeful that we can attract upwards of 150,000 fans for the week. In addition to the world calibre curling they'll see, I'm sure they will also enjoy the entertainment and camaraderie in the Pondhoppers Pub, which we tentatively plan to locate in a tented area adjacent to the Arena."

The 2003 Ford Worlds will likely be the last major sporting event held in the Winnipeg Arena before the city's new arena complex is constructed. While the curling event will be managed by the Canadian Curling Association, it will mark the first time that the men's and women's world championships will be jointly underwritten by the WCF and CCA.

"Ford is pleased and proud to be title sponsor of the Ford World Curling Championships for the ninth consecutive year," said Kevin Zimic, Manager of Sponsorships and Marketing for Ford of Canada. "As a global company, we believe it's particularly fitting to be involved with the global sport of curling."

Winnipeg is no stranger to Canadian and world curling championships. Most recently, the city staged a very successful 1998 Brier, which attracted almost 150,000 fans. It has held four Briers in total (1940, 1952, 1970 and 1998). The city also hosted two previous worlds, in 1991 and 1978 (men only).

An attendance record was established at the 1991 Worlds as an estimated 250,000 curling fans attended the championships over nine days, watching Norway's Dordi Nordby and Scotland's David Smith win world titles. In 1978, the men's world title was captured by Bob Nichols of the United States. The province last hosted the Ford Worlds in 1995 at Brandon's Keystone Centre, as 264,706 fans attended (148,557 in arena; 116,149 in 'Curling World').

Tickets for the 2003 Ford Worlds are expected to go on sale by the end of this year or in early January of 2002. The seating capacity at the Winnipeg Arena will approach 11,000. Five sheets of ice will be used for each draw.

Meanwhile, the 2002 Ford Worlds will be held in Bismarck, North Dakota, from April 6-14. Canada will be represented there by the winners of The Scott Tournament of Hearts, February 23-March 3 in Brandon and the Nokia Brier, March 9-17 in Calgary.

Warren Hansen
Manager of Event Operations and Media
Canadian Curling Association
(604) 266-1106
cell: (604) 329-9850
Zivan Saper
2003 Ford Worlds Host Committee
(204) 694-6787
(204) 955-9202



(c)2001, World Curling Federation, all rights reserved. No duplication is allowed without permission.