|The WCF have just released the following statement:
Tallinn, Estonia – The European Curling Championships 2018 (ECC) will take place next year, between 16 and 24 November, at the Tondiraba Ice Hall, in Tallinn, Estonia.
The Estonian Curling Association signed an agreement with the World Curling Federation (WCF) to host the championships, at a special signing ceremony attended by WCF President, Kate Caithness today (Thursday 9 February).
The event is for men’s and women’s teams from the WCF’s European Zone and is divided into A, B and C-Divisions. Traditionally the A and B Divisions are held together in November, with the C-Division earlier in the year, in May. The ECC is a qualification event for the World Curling Championships (WCC) – seven teams, and the host nation, qualify if the next WCC is being held in the European Zone. Eight teams qualify if the next WCC is in the Americas or the Pacific-Asia Zone.
This is the Estonian Curling Association’s second time hosting an international curling event, after its inaugural championships in 2015, when they hosted the World Junior Curling Championships.
WCF President, Kate Caithness, said: “We are pleased that the European Curling Championships 2018 will be taking place in Estonia next year. Estonia has great conditions for hosting championships, and has become a strong curling country in recent years.
“The organising committee for the World Juniors in 2015 did a stellar job pulling together these championships and I am looking forward to working with them again as they prepare for one of our flagship events”
According to Rainer Vakra, President of the Estonian Curling Association, Estonia has never hosted such an important competition before. He said: “For the Estonian Curling Association, hosting such a big event is one of the biggest challenges that a federation could take on. The right to host European Championships will definitely bring value to City of Tallinn, to Estonia and, of course, to the community of Estonian sports and curling.”
“The Estonian Curling Association already has experience in hosting a high level competition – the 2015 Junior World Championships were held in Tallinn. So far, cooperation with our partners has been very good and we are counting on the continuous support of City of Tallinn and Republic of Estonia in hosting this event as well,” he added.
The exact Member Associations to compete at the ECC A and B-Divisions – to be played in separate halls in the Tondiraba Ice Hall – will be clear after the ECC 2017 in St Gallen, Switzerland (17-25 November). Previously, the Estonian women’s team played in the European A-Division in 2014 and 2015 – with their highest finish to date, eighth place. The Estonian men’s team have participated in the B-Division before.
Altogether roughly 300 athletes and coaches will be participating at the European Curling Championships. There will be around 100 people who make the championships happen (LOC, ice crew, umpires, volunteers, broadcasters and media). Historically, the European Curling Championships are followed by approximately 15 million TV viewers.