By DOUG GRAHAM, THE WHIG-STANDARD

Napanee has plans to become a host again for a major curling competition.

The town is in the bid process for the Canadian junior curling championship, possibly as soon as 2012.

Stephen Paul, the chair of the successful 2010 Ontario Tankard championship held in February at the Strathcona Paper Centre, confirmed discussions with the Canadian Curling Association were “ongoing.”

“It’s on our radar screen. We think the Canadian juniors are perfect for Napanee and the Strathcona Centre,” Paul said.

The M&M Meat Shops Canadian juniors will be held this season at the North Hill Community Curling Club in Calgary, Jan. 29 to Feb. 6.

Paul said no announcement about Napanee’s bid will be made by the CCA until the announcement regarding Kingston’s bid to host the 2012 or 2013 Scotties Tournament of Hearts has been made.

Greg Stremlaw, chief executive officer for the CCA, has said the decision on Kingston’s bid probably will come later this month.

Paul said the decision to go after the national junior championship stemmed from Napanee’s history for supporting youth events.

Napanee will host the national junior men’s fastball championship in August. The town also has hosted the national midget fastball championship.

“We think the Strathcona is the right size for the junior curling and Napanee has also been very successful in junior events,” Paul said.

“The community really supports the grassroots events. It is something that brings in the players and parents. We think it’s a real good package.”

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The national junior championship, for youth curlers age 21 and under, is the largest event the CCA puts on. Both the junior men and women have fields of 13 rinks.

Because rinks carry an extra player and coaches, more than 200 curlers and officials attend the event each year.

Both the junior women and junior men’s finals are broadcast by TSN.

The Kingston area has not hosted the national juniors.

However, the area has produced national junior champions. Noel Herron of the Royal Kingston Curling Club won the Canadian title in 1990. Gananoque’s Mark McDonald was the 1973 national champion.

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