April 12th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 15
Bunny Bonspiel marking 70 years
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Pass Herald Reporter
It’s a longtime tradition that as Easter weekend sweeps in, so too does the Crowsnest Pass Bunny Bonspiel. A 70-year tradition of the annual curling event, to be exact, making it one of the oldest bonspiels in Alberta.

To honour the big 70, all teams will be piped in as part of the opening ceremony in between games at approximately noon on Friday, complete with an Easter bunny escort.

“It’s a way of everybody participating on an even playing field. We’re celebrating athletes as well as the actual event,” says Angela Mathieson, one of the Bunny coordinators.

Year after year, the Bunny Bonspiel serves as a social reunion for the curlers, with most teams being returnees to the event.

“We have some people who have been coming for 25 years and now they’re bringing their kids in, so it’s going from generation to generation,” says Angela Mathieson.

Thirty-two men’s teams and 22 women’s teams will be participating this year. A best-dressed judging will take place during the opening ceremony for team costumes.
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Bonspiel games start on Thursday, April 13, run through Friday and Saturday, with finals taking place on Sunday. Curlers and non-curlers alike are invited to Friday’s entertainment evening with fun and games hosted by Ryan “Bubba” Albizzati. The Bunny Dance will be held on Saturday, April 15 at the Coleman Sports Complex with rock n’ roll band The Chevelles providing live musical entertainment for the night. Doors open at 9 p.m. for the dance and The Chevelles begin their set at 9:30 p.m. Tickets to Saturday’s Bunny Dance are $15 and will be sold at the door of the Coleman Sports Complex.

With the 70th anniversary underlining the longevity and much beloved tradition of the bonspiel, the end of almost a decade is marked by long-time Crowsnest Curling Club member and executive member Flora Griffith stepping down as Bunny co-chair and registrar.

“I want to enjoy the bonspiel as a curler and just be able to visit with people. It’s time for somebody else to experience that and step up and get that feeling of organizing something big,” says Griffith.
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Griffith has been a member of the club since 1982 and over the years, has held positions as junior coach and instructor for curling teams. She says that while she may no longer have a hand in the organizational aspect of the spiel, she will most certainly continue curling.

“I’ll either die curling or die on the golf course,” she laughs.

Going strong since 1947, the Bunny Bonspiel has been held all across the Pass in varying years. According to the Crowsnest Curling Club website, curling used to be played outdoors on natural ice, but unpredictable weather conditions, especially in the spring, made it difficult to play consistently and hold scheduled bonspiels.

The first Bunny on artificial ice was held in Bellevue after acquiring an ice plant the year prior. Throughout the years, the Bunny moved to the now-defunct Blairmore curling arena, then to Flumerfelt Park and finally to its current home in the Coleman Sports Complex, where it has been since 1997.
April 12th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 15
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