Word from curling clubs around Canada and the U.S. is that interest is on the rise. Watch for an article in the April issue of The Curling News for more, but here are some early indications that curling is more than alive and well:
Judy MacKinnon, General Manager of the Cloverdale Curling Club in Surrey, B.C. says: “My phone has not stopped ringing for ice rental, minor hockey windups, young 15-30 guys and gals looking to try the sport. It seems that curling is not referred to as an old person’s game as it has [been] in the past.”
Arnold Mallais, Past President of the Beausejour Curling Club in Moncton, N.B. says: “Since the Olympics, the Brier and our provincial events, our ice bookings have certainly increased.” He adds that ice rentals are ahead of last year, “and all in all, I would have to say that the awareness is up!”
Doug Jaixen of the Aksarben Curling Club in Omaha, Nebraska, describes an Open House held at his club just after the Olympics: “From the e-mail and phone inquiries we were receiving prior to and during the Olympics we anticipated a total of 100 to 150 people were going to show up. We have a sign-in list with 355 names and contact information. At least 450 people stepped onto the ice and learned how to curl that evening. We were not quite prepared for 450 people but we adjusted quickly.” Guests were given only 15 minutes of instruction on the ice – not much time, but it was the only way the club could give everyone a chance. And it worked! Doug adds: “We had five full teams from the open house sign up for our season-ending bonspiel. At least three of these teams said they will be playing in our leagues next season!”
And yes, even the guy wearing the orange shirt in the photo above (in action at The National Grand Slam event in Guelph, Ontario in January) was a beginner once too. Now? Now he’s just cool … and an Olympic gold-medalist, of course!
(Photo by Jean Mills)