Fredericton bids to host curling's Tournament of Hearts in 2024

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Fredericton wants to host the 2024 Tournament of Hearts. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press/File - image credit)
Fredericton wants to host the 2024 Tournament of Hearts. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press/File - image credit)

Fredericton is officially in the running to host the 2024 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Event bid chair Wayne Tallon made the announcement Monday, saying they'll be pulling out all the stops to persuade Curling Canada to hold the event at the Aitken University Centre.

Tallon said this means showing Fredericton can fill the more than 3,200 seats in the venue, so a presale is being held.

"We are asking that people and businesses support our bid by putting a down payment on Scotties tickets," Tallon said. "For $25 a ticket you can help us show Curling Canada how much we all want the Scotties here in Fredericton."

Gary Moore/CBC
Gary Moore/CBC

Tallon said both the Canada Cup and the Continental Cup, which were both supposed to be held in Fredericton, were cancelled by COVID-19. But an important relationship with Curling Canada was built, he said.

The 2024 Tournament of Hearts would be a boost for the local economy, he said.

"With an economic impact of upwards of $5 million, this event will have a substantial impact on our businesses that were hardest hit by COVID during the last couple of years," he said.

The skip of Team New Brunswick, whose team won bronze at this year's Scotties, was excited about Fredericton's bid.

"I can remember having a lump in my throat just thinking about how real that could be," said Andrea Kelly.

Kelly said she's been fortunate to play in 10 Scotties tournaments.

Philip Drost/CBC
Philip Drost/CBC

"To think about this event coming to our home province, our home city and to play with everybody who supports us and to all the fans in the stands and what that would do and the buzz in the city, it's just amazing it's so exciting to think about," she said.

Kelly predicted a lot of anticipation for the event if it's held in Fredericton, especially after the cancellation of other tournaments in the city because COVID.

"There's going to be so much interest in an event like that here," Kelly said.

"There are so many curling fans and supporters here and we have a great curling base to begin with."

Kelly said she would love to play in front of a hometown crowd, as she did when her team won the Canadian junior curling championship in 2005, but she knows there are no guarantees.

"I know, obviously, that there's no shoe-in for us to be able to represent the province at that event. We still have to go through the same process we do every year in winning provincials so there's that factor.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press
Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

"There'll be a lot more pressure, a lot more weight on us if the event is here to play in."

Curling Canada confirmed there are other cities interested in hosting the Tournament of Hearts in 2024.

"The bidding process is confidential and we don't release information on what cities are bidding," Al Cameron, spokesperson for Curling Canada, said in an email.

"If the cities choose to go public with their bid, that is entirely their decision."

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