The Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling announced Wednesday it has delayed the start of its 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first four events on the fall schedule have been postponed. Instead, two events that were originally scheduled for the tail end of the season — the Princess Auto Players’ Championship, April 13 to 18 2021, at the Ryerson Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto and the Humpty’s Champions Cup on April 27 to May 2 in Olds, Alta. — will go ahead. At this point, these are the only two events confirmed on the Pinty’s tour schedule.
Postponed for 2020-21 are the Masters in Sarnia that was set for Oct. 20 to 25, 2020 at Sarnia Arena; the KIOTI Tractor Tour Challenge in Grande Prairie, AB on Nov. 3 to 8; the BOOST National in Chestermere, AB Dec. 8 to 13, and the MERIDIAN Open in Las Vegas, NV, scheduled for Jan. 12 to 17.
The plan is for the Grand Prairie, Sarnia and Chestermere events to be back on the schedule for 2021-22. The Tour Challenge goes Sept. 21-26, 2021, in Grande Prairie; the Masters goes Oct. 19-24, 2021, in Sarnia; and the BOOST National goes Nov. 2-7, 2021, in Chestermere.
As for Las Vegas, the indication from series owner Sportsnet is they are working with local organizers to reschedule that event, which would have been the first international date in the series.
The MERIDIAN Open had previously been a frequent Saskatchewan spot on the Pinty’s schedule, with two events held at the North Battleford Civic Centre in 2017 and 2019.
The Pinty’s series has gained considerable interest from Battlefords curling fans because of the participation of Robyn Silvernagle and her team based out of Twin Rivers Curling Club. They have competed at several Pinty’s events over the past two seasons.
In a news release, it was noted that the series had looked into alternatives, such as staging events in hub cities or without fans. In the end, the decision was made to delay the season.
“The safety and well-being of curlers, volunteers, fans, partners and employees is of the utmost importance to Sportsnet,” said Rob Corte, Vice President of Sportsnet and NHL Production, in a statement. “Following careful thought and deliberation, we made the decision to postpone the season until we could safely deliver the world-class competition and intimate fan experience the Grand Slam series is known for.”