The ice won’t be going in until next month — if all goes according to plan — but the Ashcroft Curling Club is holding its AGM on Sept. 9 as it gets ready for what it hopes will be a full season of curling this year.
After being closed for the 2019/20 season and undergoing some major improvements, the curling rink reopened in November 2020. However, a month later the pandemic shut down most sports in the province, and the club had to reluctantly abandon its season.
Curling club secretary Janet Quesnel says that although last year did not go according to plan, they hope to remedy that this year and make the upcoming season the best ever.
“The ice won’t start going in until the second week of September, which is when we turn on the plants and cool everything down,” she says. “We’re trying for the middle of October to start curling.” Quesnel adds that the club is looking for clarification on whether members must be double vaccinated in order to curl.
Club members have been busy inside the rink, carrying out work to repair flaking on the cement walls. They also installed new doors, which were donated by Quality Glass; CRC donated the cement, and Larry van Leest loaned them forms for the cement. “Now that it’s cooling down, the next step is to do some painting outside, seal a crack on the wall between the curling rink and the arena, and paint downstairs.”
Registrations for the 2021/22 season will be taken after the AGM on Sept. 9, which starts at 7 p.m. in the curling rink. Previous members are welcome to attend, as is anyone who is interested in learning more about curling and possibly picking up a broom to give it a try.
Only members from previous years can vote, but Quesnel says that anyone who wants to speak can do so. “If there’s something they feel passionate about regarding the running of the curling club, they can speak.”
The club recently received a grant which they plan to use, in part, to give a break to people who signed up for a full season last year but only got to curl for a month. “We’re hoping that will bring people back. People deserve something for believing in the club last year, and we hope it brings them back this year.” A full season membership was $250 last year, and Quesnel says the most they’ve ever increased the fees in one year is $25. “We’re looking at the budget to see what we need this year to keep us running for the season.”
A grant from Second Time Around will help the club purchase new grippers, sliders, and halos. Quesnel explains that the latter are hats that protect your head if you fall, and that they come in various styles. “A lot of seniors use them, and they’re better than a helmet in allowing you to see. They’ve been a great addition to curling, because they make it safer for youngsters and older people.
“We don’t have them yet, but we’re looking at price lists to bring back to the membership.”
The halos, grippers, and sliders — along with brooms — will be available to rent for people who do not have their own. “Thanks to Second Time Around for the generous donation,” says Quesnel. “And thanks to Vicky Trill for assisting us in applying for the grant, which will allow the club to give back to our membership.”
She says that the club is applying to Curl BC to get a few playdowns in Ashcroft. They’re also looking at the season’s schedule.
“Last year we said that if people want to curl more than once a week they’re welcome to, and we can increase the number of days or nights for people. There’s no reason not to have more than one day a week. We just want the ice used. The more the ice is used, the better it becomes. It’s easy to keep it clean when no one’s using it, but you don’t find the runs and the falls.
“We want people to come out and try it, and look at going back to more than just seniors and one night-time league. We’re hoping to entice juniors back, and see if anyone is interested in running an after school program. If the schools want to bring kids down we’re more than happy to do it. We just need to figure out what we need to do to keep everyone safe.”
At the end of the day, says Quesnel, they want people to go out there and have fun.
“We want our club to be fun, and introduce people who’ve never curled before to curling. One of the best nights in the last three years was the night we curled in the hockey arena, and we’d love to see more fun nights.”