The teardown inside Lethbridge’s Enmax Centre began moments after the Brier Tankard was awarded, but the success of the curling event was still evident on Monday.
“The stars of the show — the athletes — turned up and put on a great performance for the crowd,” said Brier host committee vice-chair Mike Mulroy.
“Our volunteers turned out like they always do and put on a first-class — really a world-class — event and we couldn’t be more happy at this point.”
Over 10 days, 18 rinks descended on Lethbridge to compete in 25 draws in the city’s first Brier.
Mulroy was ecstatic over how the event turned out, including the response from fans. The exact attendance is still being compiled, but he said the number of people through the doors exceeded expectations.
“With the (COVID-19) restrictions being lifted so soon before the event, we weren’t quite sure what to expect,” he said.
“People really embraced it.”
And while fans got to experience some elite curling, seeing people in the seats was also a welcome sight for competitors.
“It was a great atmosphere,” said Geoff Walker, lead for the Brier-winning Wild Card 1 rink.
“Coming off the last couple years where you’re not playing with any fans, it’s tough. So coming here, (they) just give us a little extra motivation and juice.”
“That was the one thing we missed at the Olympics,” Brad Gushue said after winning his fourth Brier as a skip.
“The fans and the excitement in the building when you make a great shot and hear that roar gets your adrenaline pumping.”
The latest in a long line of curling events hosted in Lethbridge, the Brier had been highly anticipated. Now that it’s over, Mulroy was taking stock of all the hard work it took to pull off.
“This has been on our bucket list for a long time,” he said.
“This community, our volunteers, local athletes — we’ve really wanted this and now that we’ve had a chance to put it on successfully in the fashion that we did, it’s going to take a little while to sink in, but we’re really, really, thrilled with what happened here.”
Lethbridge is the fourth city to host all four major Season of Champions curling events.