As I write this article, staff including Corrie Bollick, Ken MacEachern, Gary Doonan, and Chris Moir, are busy preparing the curling rink, including painting the curling rink ice, all for another season of curling in Tumbler Ridge. The start of the curling season is a couple of weeks later than hoped due to some electrical issues in the system. The electrical issues have been repaired and Community Centre maintenance staff were able to start work on getting the ice ready in earnest on October 4, and expect things to be ready to go on October 17.
Curling, also known as ‘chess on ice’ and the ‘roaring game’ is very popular in Canada. In fact, per population, Canada has the highest rate of curlers in the world. Last year it was estimated Canada had 1.5 million registered players.
Curling, though, is believed to have started in late medieval Scotland. It is not just a game that involves sliding stones across a sheet of ice towards the target. That is what players do of course, but curling is a game of strategy, skill, teamwork, fitness, and fun.
If you have never played curling, it is a game made up of two teams of four players. Having said that, in small towns, occasionally teams may have to play with three players. Each team gets eight stones, two per player. The teams take turns throwing them towards a series of concentric rings at the other end of the sheet of ice. Points are scored for the stones sitting closest to the center of the house at the conclusion of the 16 rocks being thrown. The team with the closest stone counts that stone and any other stone that lays within the rings closer than any stones from the opposing team.
There are usually eight to ten ends to a complete game, so a game might take a couple of hours to complete. After a game, there is time to socialize with the other players. Tumbler Ridge has a nice lounge where many meet after a game.
There is an active curling club in Tumbler Ridge. The curling club offers three adult leagues. Tuesdays is the mixed league which is what I always played because it is fun. Wednesday is the ladies league night, and Thursday is the men’s league night. Junior curlers are the future of the game and that takes place on Monday nights. For more information on curling in Tumbler Ridge, or to register for curling in Tumbler Ridge, call the president of the Tumbler Ridge curling club, Dan Ferguson or Kim Ferguson at 250-242-3530. The club has often hovered in the 150 to 200 range for membership and with new population in Tumbler Ridge it would be great to see a lot of new members. The season starts as soon as the ice is in and runs through mid to late March.
The cost to curl in Tumbler Ridge is very reasonable. Compared to many sports, equipment required is minimal, including special shoes (or sliders strapped on over your shoes), and a broom.
Curling is associated with shuffleboard or floor curling. The Tumbler Ridge Community Centre offers flour curling every Tuesday at 1pm. It is a great sport for all ages, but in particular in Tumbler Ridge, it has been popular with some of the senior population. For more information on Tuesday floor curling, contact our Program Coordinator, Joy MaKay.
In mentioning Corrie Bollick working to get the curling ice ready for the new season, I have to commend her for the two months she was ‘Acting Facility Forman’ in Ken MacEachern’s absence. She led our maintenance team in getting the ice ready in the arena, and getting it started in the curling rink. During her time she did her regular duties, plus she also moved several capital projects ahead.
For more information on curling or any activities in the Community Centre, drop in, pick up a brochure, talk to a staff member on site, or call at 250-242-4246. Even with the golf course closing, remember, as Charles Helm and the Trail brochure states, ‘Tumbler Ridge is the best and easiest place to get fit and stay fit’. Sweeping in curling is actually a great way to get and stay fit.