By MARK RICKARD VICTORIA STAR

Danny Trites of Red Rapids, a small community north of Perth-Andover, will appear on the Nov. 17 episode of the popular reality show Dragons’ Den in the hopes of nabbing some Dragon dollars.

“This was one of the best experiences of my life, aside from the birth of my children and my wedding day,” Danny says. “I had dreamed of going there for a while, but curling wasn’t very mainstream on TV… (But) just meeting those people and the experience and the exposure has definitely been a plus.”

Danny traveled to Toronto last spring to make his pitch for Internet Curling Club and Curling Proshop (www.curlingclub.net and www.curling-proshop.com) for this season’s episode. The Internet Curling Club site has been on the web since 1999 and has helped curlers all over the world.

“The site helps mainly curlers in Canada and The United States with various aspects of the curling industry. I presented this site and our new concept company www.curling-proshop.com. Both companies will continue to focus on bringing curling information, curling news, product information and training to the curling industry mainly in Canada and the United States,” the entrepreneur said.

Contractual agreements prevent Danny from discussing the outcome until after the show is aired, but he said the entire experience was “a stimulating event.”

“It’s worth watching. They definitely look for innovative ideas, smart, intelligent presenters, confident presenters, and they are definitely helpful in their advice.”

To try to make inroads with the Dragons, Danny made a detour to an Oshawa-area Boston Pizza armed with a curling stone cookie cutter. The kitchen staff agreed to make curling pizzas and cookies.

“I wanted to feed (Dragon’s Den judge) Jim (Treliving, chairman of Boston Pizza) his pizza and cookies in the shape of curling stones.”

Danny has loved curling since he was a teenager, and advocates that curling is a game that requires both strategy and skill. He holds national coaching certificates, and predicts that Canada’s role as a curling hotbed could be leveraged to make money from international curlers coming to Canada to understand and improve their playing abilities. His two websites already have the largest Internet distribution of curling products.

“The Curling Proshop will focus on helping curling clubs, curling organizations and curling teams improve the sport through training, business development and management,” he says. “One of the key ways is that we will be offering some free services, such as free website, club management and sport development. With our new strategic partnerships, the Dragon’s Den show exposure and the increase in popularity of the sport following the 2010 Olympic Games, this will definitely be our biggest and best year ever.”

One of the biggest sellers on the website last year was a foam hat, shaped like a curling stone. The 5,000 hats created sold out in 2-1/2 months in 2009. Some curling fans proudly donned the novelty hat during televised matches at the Vancouver Olympics, and Danny even got the Dragons to don the unique apparel.

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