Hall of Fame curler Kevin Martin addresses a crowd at Sons of Kent Brewing Co. in Chatham. May 10, 2018. (Photo by Matt Weverink)

Kevin Martin Promotes Grand Slam of Curling

Momentum leading up to the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling event is ramping up.

The event is set to take place in Chatham from September 25-30.

Kevin Martin, ambassador for Grand Slam of Curling and commentator on Sportsnet, was in Chatham Thursday at Sons of Kent to promote the upcoming event.

“It’s just a little bit different than a traditional amateur curling event, it’s a lot more freewheeling, a lot more exciting,” he says. “There are eight end games, five-rock rule; so a lot of rocks in play.”

The Princess Auto Elite 10 event involves 20 teams split into an even amount of men and women. During the event Martin says athletes will likely be around in the community — possibly at local curling clubs, when they’re not on the ice competing.

“They’re down to earth people and they definitely love to meet the fans from around the area,” he says.

Martin adds the event comes at an interesting time since it falls at the end of the quadrennial, with the Winter Games having recently finished in February.

“Most [of the teams] have new lineups so it would be interesting to watch who’s Reid Carruthers got, who’s Mike Mcewen’ got, who’s Jennifer Jones got,” he says. “So many of the teams have changed and the first time to see it will be here… There’s only one event that starts off a quadrennial and lucky enough it’ll be here.”

In addition to the exciting aspects of the game and when it’s taking place, Martin says it’s great to see the inclusiveness of the game — not just between men and women but between different age groups.

“A healthy sport in my mind is one where the average age of the champion continues to go down,” says Martin. “We’re starting to see 24, 25, 26-year-old’s winning at this level. It’s really quite fantastic, and the only way that can happen is with young people being exposed to big events.”

Of the events, Martin says there will be equal prize amount for teams — regardless of gender.

Organizers say the event is about 60% sold out so curling fans are being urged to get the tickets now. A TV audience of at least 1.8-million viewers is expected for the event.

The Grand Slam of Curling is one of many events Chatham-Kent will play host to. For this event specifically, the average economic spin-off is around $1.3-million.

-With files from Matt Weverink.