The annual Windsor Home Hardware Mixed Curling Bonspiel begins tonight, Feb. 22, at the Windsor Curling Club. New this year is the addition of four teams to the tournament, bringing the total to 24 teams.
“It is difficult to predict winners as a tough field is entered, making for what should be a wide open affair,” said Tournament Co-Chair Mark Kehoe.
The winning teams from last year will all be returning in hopes of a repeat.
There will be five rinks skipped by local curling members — Bud Thompson, Mike Porter, Mark Chow, Rae Winklear and Ron MacCormack.
Rinks from elsewhere include Marty Gavin out of CFB Halifax, who also curls some out of Windsor. A member of Gavin's team will be Jocelyn Nix, from the Glooscap Curling Club, who placed second in the Ladies Provincial Championship in January. Glenn MacLeod from CFB Halifax will be along as will Kevin Saccary, of Dartmouth.
Kehoe commended Jeff Redden, from Windsor Home Hardware, for making the tournament so popular. Prizes will be awarded to 12 of the 24 teams.
Windsor curlers dominated at last year's competition. Kehoe finished 4-1 in the A Division, Richard Barker, who is co-chairing the tournament with Kehoe this year, finished 4-1 in the B Division, while Ron MacCormack was 3-1 in the C Division and Bud Thompson 3-2 in the D Division.
Other activities for this huge curling bonspiel for Windsor include a dance Saturday night and a silent auction with proceeds going to the Sandra Schmirler Foundation.
The auction opens Feb. 22 and will conclude late Saturday afternoon. The general public is encouraged to drop by the club and make a bid on any of the items. More than $2,250 was raised at last year's event. Kehoe said they are aiming to raise more than $2,000 again this year.
The Sandra Schmirler Foundation raises money for babies in crisis through direct giving to neonatal care across Canada. Schmirler was a three-time women's World Curling Champion and a former Olympic gold medalist who died from cancer in 2001.