2013 Brier Canadian Men's Curling Championship: Venue Tour

Being the volunteer Director of Program Sales and Merchandising for the 2013 Brier in Edmonton got a little bit more exciting recently!

(Catch up on how I managed to get on the organizing committee.)

The first meeting of the whole committee (well, second I think but I wasn't yet on board when they had their first meeting) took place in late May. The event office is currently way the heck on the south side of the city in a recently constructed industrial/business district on the south tip of town. Eventually this office will move to the venue, but for now it's practically in Leduc!

Honestly, I was pretty intimidated during this meeting. Beside the (awesome!) Canadian Curling Association event manager and administrator, I am by far the youngest of the other volunteer directors. Many of them have never been directors, and at least one I was talking too wasn't even a curling fan - yet I was still intimidated. Chalk it up to youth and inexperience I guess. What I lack in experience I'll eventually make up in enthusiasm so I'm sure it'll work out in the end. I have the benefit of being a volunteer at a few events, so I know what it's like and reckon I'll be a good director once I throw it into high gear.

At this meeting the CCA event manager went through an overview of the entire event for a couple hours. It was really interesting to hear about everything that is happening/has to happen before/during/after the event. It's quite exciting really. Some things I knew because I've been a volunteer before, but it was certainly good to get a big picture overview about what's going on.

At this point I'm still quite uncertain about exactly what my roll will be, but the CCA event manager and I plan to meet this summer to sort it all out. The plan for this Brier is to train me up so I can do this sort of thing for many, many years to come.

A couple weeks ago, I also went on a venue tour of Rexall Place and the Expo Centre with some of the Brier committee. Again, I've been behind-the-scenes for a few volunteer experiences, and I practically live there during Oilers season - but I love going backstage in places like this. I don't know why hidden-from-the-public, behind-closed-doors experiences like this are fun for me, but they are. I'm a bit weird that way.

The first exciting thing about this was parking on site without having to pay the $12 usual fee! A small group of us met near the Telus Stage and walked over the pedway to Rexall. A Northlands employee was there to show us around, and the CCA event manager explained what would go where during the event. First we did a loop of the concourse, quickly plotting out where things will go. My experience selling 50/50s at the World Juniors came in really handy for the Program Sales part of my job, as I worked closely with the program sellers then, so can easily see how it will work during the Brier. Plus I've been a merchandising volunteer, so I've got that in my mind when thinking about this too.

Next we took a look downstairs, in the basement level. I've not often been down here as it's reserved for those Oilers fans who can afford gold seats, but I did spend some time in the space during the 2009 curling trials. It looks like it does on tv during NHL broadcasts.

The real "fun" for me came when we went backstage (where I've also been before as I sold 50/50s for an Oilers game a few years ago) and got to see some locked areas. I took some sneaky pictures, so I might get fired for posting them and this may be my last Brier post!

Backstage, taking a look at dressing rooms which will become various event offices (TVs in each to keep track of the curling action of course). Really, it's just concrete.

Behind the seats. Again, boring concrete. The zamboni lives around the corner to the left. That's where the ice crew will set up. The large open area to the right will become the TV camera guys lounge area.

Empty Rexall. Sections of seats were removed where we were standing. All that staging you see is for the Bryan Adams concert.

Visitor's dressing room. It may become a player's dressing room, as might the Oil Kings dressing room, or they'll use other rooms. Obviously we're not allowed in the Oilers area. We did get to see the "Owner's Lounge", which will probably become the player's lounge. Pretty slick!

We looked around the Expo Centre too. This hall will become the Patch!

And this Hall will likely become the Purple Heart Lounge. Lot's of work to be done to transform these Halls!

Though I've seen it all before, doing a venue tour was a worthwhile exercise - if only to get a better picture in my head of what's going to happen where. We'll do another tour in January, closer to the event.

So what do I have to do as a director over the summer? Contact volunteers! I've already received the first list of folks to contact - but I recently drowned my phone so that will have to wait. I'll save more details for later this summer!