Chetwynd Curling Club slides back into action

Mike Carter, Chetwynd Echo


CHETWYND – After a year off the rocks, the Chetwynd curling club is sliding back into action with an adult clinic next month, and an ice technician level one course being offered in advance of the season by the Canadian Curling Association’s chief icemaker, Jaime Bourassa.

Last year’s season was cancelled due to the loss of the curling club’s ice technician, who moved to Fort St. John.

Club president Garciete Folster explains that the contract with the Recreation Centre was also up for renewal last year, which compounded the problems the club faced and weighed heavily into the decision to forgo the 2012 season.

“When our technician left we didn’t have anybody to install the ice and our contract was also up for renewal with the rec. centre. We didn’t have a tech., they didn’t have a tech., and we had no way of getting the ice,” Folster said.

As a result, the curling patch remained bare for the entire winter for the first time since the construction of the building.

A member of the curling club has always maintained the ice at the facility. The Recreation Centre does not have a staff member trained to do this work.

In order for the 2013 season to take off, volunteer and local retiree Bert Sampson stepped forward to install the ice for the club on a temporary basis. It won’t be long before he will be getting some world-class help.

To solve this problem for the future, the club has arranged to have Jaime Bourassa, chief ice technician for the Canadian Curling Association, come to Chetwynd to run a five-day Level 1 Ice Technician course.

Folster encourages people to come out to the AGM if they would like to obtain further information about the course and how to take part.

“We’ve opened it up to other clubs to send people as well to hopefully help offset our costs.”

As part of the course, Bourassa will be installing the ice for the upcoming season. A member of the club will be taking part in the training, and using their newfound knowledge to assist Sampson throughout the year with the maintenance.

The upcoming AGM will play a big role in deciding how the 2013–2014 league schedule shapes up. The number of people registered will determine just how many leagues are warranted and what the schedule of play will look like.

It will be an important meeting for the group, starting a renewed season after many of their members spent last winter’s long months lamenting the loss of the game.

But also, the turnout at the AGM could have a monetary benefit.

The Chetwynd curling club plans to apply for a BC lotteries grant in February. The clubs attendance numbers at their AGM will factor into whether or not they are successful in receiving this funding.

“We are really encouraging people to come to the AGM,” Folster said.

“A lot of the [BC Lotteries] approvals are based on your AGM attendance numbers. We really want people to attend so that we can look at what’s going to work for people.”

Tentatively a schedule has been drawn up for four leagues that would begin on Tuesday nights, with a ladies league. Wednesday nights are temporarily set aside for either a mixed league,a league for locally sponsored teams or both, and Thursday nights are set aside for a men’s league.

“[It] will all be based on how many members we get,” says Folster. “If we only have two men’s teams registered, or two ladies teams registered, you can’t do a league night. So those men could maybe join the mixed league. We’ll have to figure that out. If we only have a few mixed teams then they will join either the men’s or ladies league. The AGM is really trying to get a sense of where we are at for numbers.”