Canada's first World Wheelchair Curling Championship begins February 21

    Championship serves as inaugural Paralympic sport event for VANOC's
    operational testing

    VANCOUVER, Feb. 20 /CNW/ - The newly opened Vancouver Olympic
Centre/Vancouver Paralympic Centre, the final competition venue for the 2010
Winter Games to be completed on time and on budget, will host its first-ever
competition starting Saturday, February 21, as the world's best wheelchair
curlers take to the ice.
    As 50 athletes from 10 countries compete at the first World Wheelchair
Curling Championship ever held in Canada, the Vancouver Organizing Committee
for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) will test its
operational readiness for wheelchair curling - the first Paralympic sport
event - in preparation for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.
    "This will be a great opportunity for the public to witness the sport of
wheelchair curling and for VANOC to test itself in advance of the 2010
Paralympic Winter Games," said Dena Coward, VANOC director, Paralympic Games.
"Spectators will get a chance to try out the sport themselves through our Play
Like a Paralympian program, which will be set up on the spectator plaza. We
will ensure that, for the athletes, the field of play is up to the world-class
standards they expect in 2010."
    Competition takes place daily from February 21 to 28, 2009. Tickets are
$5 during preliminary rounds and $10 for semifinals and finals, and can be
purchased at the venue. The venue will hold the World Junior Curling
Championships taking place one week later, from March 5 to 15.
    VANOC will focus its operational testing on the following areas: ice
maintenance, venue systems and spectator and athlete accessibility.

    Field of Play

    VANOC will concentrate on testing the ice and ice maintenance in order to
provide a suitable field of play befitting the athletes' high standards.
VANOC's world-renowned ice technicians, Hans Wuthrich and Dave Merklinger,
began the first ice build in the facility a week prior to the event. During
the competition they will continue to monitor and test the ice and ice makers.
    A new ice layout will be installed, along with new "in-ice" logos for the
World Curling Federation, Canadian Curling Association and Heritage Canada.
The water system will be tested for quality and flow rate, while equipment
such as ice scrapers will be tested for the first time.
    The Eye on the Ice monitoring system - a state-of-the-art system that
allows ice technicians to monitor all systems to ensure that any concerns can
be addressed immediately - will be used during both curling sport events.
    The building's heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system
will also be monitored for the first time during competition, as adjustments
to the temperature, relative humidity and air flow will be made continuously
to react to external weather conditions.
    In addition to ice, VANOC will also test new competition curling stones -
used by all competitors - which feature two different running surfaces as well
as a new handle design.

    Venue Operations

    Spectator flow will be monitored in preparation for 2010 when the venue
will provide the largest seating capacity for wheelchair curling in Paralympic
Winter Games history. In addition, accessible spectator seating will be
    Spectators will also get a chance to learn more about wheelchair curling
as VANOC implements its Play Like a Paralympian program, offering spectators a
chance to test the Paralympic sport and feel like world-class athletes for a
day. This program will also be available for spectators at other competition
venues during the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.
    A workforce of approximately 600 (of which around 400 will be volunteers)
will work during the wheelchair curling sport event. Most of the workforce
will consist of technical sport volunteers and event services personnel, along
with other groups including food and beverage services, sport production (such
as announcers and DJs), transport and parking staff. Processes such as
volunteer check-in, training and scheduling will also be tested.
    In keeping with previous sport events, VANOC will also test its Press
Operations, Timing, Scoring and Results, Medical Services and Sport Production
    The next sport event in the Vancouver Olympic Centre/Vancouver Paralympic
Centre will be the World Junior Curling Championships, taking place from March
5 to 15. For more information on the remaining sport events taking place from
February to September 2009, including how to purchase tickets, visit

    Remaining sport events taking place from February to September 2009

    Hockey Canada Cup - Sledge Hockey
    Date: February 24 to March 1, 2009
    Location: UBC Thunderbird Arena, Vancouver

    IPC Cross-Country Skiing and Biathlon World Cup Final
    Date: March 4-7, 2009
    Location: Whistler Paralympic Park, Whistler

    World Junior Curling Championships
    Date: March 5-15, 2009
    Location: Vancouver Olympic Centre, Vancouver

    IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals
    Date: March 9-14, 2009
    Location: Whistler Creekside, Whistler

    IBU Biathlon World Cup
    Date: March 11-15, 2009
    Location: Whistler Olympic Park

    ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships
    Date: March 12-15, 2009
    Location: Richmond Olympic Oval, Richmond

    Hockey Canada Cup - Women's Hockey
    Date: August 31 to September 6, 2009
    Location: UBC Thunderbird Arena and Canada Hockey Place, Vancouver

    About VANOC

    VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging
of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The
2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from
February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the 2010 Paralympic
Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: John Gibson, VANOC
Communications, (604) 403-1585,; Emily Hamer,
VANOC Communications, (604) 403-2238,

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