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In the house

Organizers say they’re very pleased with the 2010 Tim Hortons Brier at the Halifax Metro Centre,

Organizers say they’re very pleased with the 2010 Tim Hortons Brier at the Halifax Metro Centre,

despite having to battle an Olympic hangover.

Total attendance was 107,242 for the nine-day event, including 7,233 for last night’s final between Alberta and Ontario.

That’s down from the 160,000 at the 2005 Olympic trials and the 158,000 who came to the last Halifax Brier in 2003.

Brier co-chair Graham Harris chalks it up to competition from the Olympic curling trials in Edmonton and then the Olympics in Vancouver just two weeks earlier.

“That made a big difference,” he said. “All these events are chasing the entertainment dollar and there’s only so much to go around.”

The 2003 numbers also got a boost because team Nova Scotia made it all the way to the final. Harris said that packed the Metro Centre, with 2,000 walkup tickets sold for the finals alone.

The next Halifax Brier, whenever it is, is sure to look different thanks to an expected new convention centre. Whereas the 1,742-capacity Brier Patch was frequently full this week, Harris said next time the patch will be able to fit 5,000 people.

But after all the numbers are added up, Harris said the 2010 tournament went extremely well.

“We had a very successful week,” he said. “There seems to be a change of the guard. We’ve got a bunch of new teams from different provinces in this time.”

One member of that youth revolution was Nova Scotia, skipped by 25-year-old newcomer Ian Fitzner-Leblanc of Mayflower. Though they finished 3-8, local Brier veteran and 2004 winner Mark Dacey said they should be a threat for years to come.

“Brier ice is a whole different animal. You don’t get good on it unless you get there. Unfortunately his first experience was in front of a home crowd so that’s a bit tough,” said Dacey.

“But he’s only going to get better. He’s a great curler.”

 
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