Red Deer will host 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts

The Scotties Tournament of Hearts is returning to Red Deer.

Sherri  Ryckman

Sherri Ryckman

The Scotties Tournament of Hearts is returning to Red Deer.

The 2012 Canadian women’s curling championship is scheduled for Feb. 18-26 at the Enmax Centrium, the site of the vastly popular 2004 Scotties.

According to Canadian Curling Association CEO Greg Stremlaw, Red Deer was an easy choice when compared to the other bids.

“It’s prime accessibility, halfway between the cities of Calgary and Edmonton. Plus the curling population and the passionate fans are really fantastic here, and it’s hard to hide the success of 2004,” he said.

The 2004 Red Deer Scotties garnered the second-highest attendance in 31 years, runner-up to only the 1998 event in Regina.

“The 2004 championship here was just phenomenal, so this is a win-win situation for the community of Red Deer, the Canadian Curling Association, the athletes and our broadcast partner TSN, who is looking forward to coming here,” said Stremlaw.

“Red Deer is easy to get to and the Enmax Centrium is a wonderful facility.”

A recent study revealed that the 2009 Scotties generated a $12-million economic spinoff for the city of Victoria, B.C., and Stremlaw said the figure for Red Deer should be comparable.

“Based on the fact people will be coming from various communities, I don’t see why Red Deer’s economic gain will be smaller (than Victoria’s),” he said.

Sherri Ryckman is the chair of the 2012 Red Deer Scotties Tournament of Hearts committee.