You won’t recognize the Clancy Richard Arena if you visit between January 24 and 28.

The arena, home of the St. Paul Canadiens and host to all levels of local hockey, will be transformed into a championship curling venue for the 2024 Sentinel Storage Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the provincial women’s curling championship.

“The first impression is going to be some pretty high standards of the athletes curling on good ice,” said St. Paul Curling Club president Troy Bohn. But he said the Clancy will have a very different look to it. 

“I think it’s just going to be that first impression of walking in the plaza and coming around the corner and seeing four sheets of curling ice out there. This is the first time that the Clancy Arena has ever had curling ice in it so yeah, it’s a big, big transformation. But it’s exciting.”

Lindsay Bertsch is the event coordinator for the Scotties. She’s excited to see the event coming to St. Paul, and she’s impressed with the way the community has stepped up to host.

“It’s very important that curling gets to different communities in the province. We have so many great facilities and great clubs that can be highlighted and represented all across Alberta, so it just makes sense to have these competitions in these awesome communities. And St. Paul is definitely one of them,” she said.

She said the St. Paul organizing committee has come through with the local sponsors and volunteers that are needed to make the tournament work, and she credits Bohn for spearheading the drive.

Bohn, in turn, says the community has really got behind hosting the championships.

“The biggest hurdle was getting sponsors, but they blew me out of the water. We still have sponsors reaching out to us, and they still want to see if there’s anything they can do. It’s been really, really impressive with sponsor support,” he said.

Curling has a large and growing following on TV, but Bohn and Bertsch both say a championship tournament in an arena is a different, more exciting way to enjoy the game. There will be grandstand seating on one side of the arena, and an “ice lounge” where spectators will be just a few feet away from the action.

Curling fans are well-known for their sense of fun, and they make for a welcoming crowd if you are a newcomer to the game. And every draw will feature four games simultaneously—great value for the price of admission.

It’s a lot different from watching from behind the glass at the local club.

“Nothing beats live curling. It’s so much better to watch it in person,” Bertsch said. “The skill that these athletes have to make these incredible shots. And when you see it on TV, maybe
you quite hear that sound or get quite the rush of the players and hear the excitement of the intensity in their voices. When you see it live, you really become part of the action.”

Tickets will be available online, at the door, or at the St. Paul Curling Club.