November 21st, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 47
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Curling hits the ice
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Archive Photo
Curling at Crowsnest Sportsplex, Coleman, Alberta.
ANNA KROUPINA
Pass Herald Reporter
The first curling league of the season will hit the ice tomorrow, November 22, kicking off a season of tactics and precision, bonspiels and socializing.

While teams of curlers have been waiting in anticipation for the season to begin, there are still slots left to fill and the Crowsnest Curling Club is inviting new, seasoned and everyone in between to join the curling community.

The Open League, teams of four composed of both men and women, plays on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. The Mixed League, for teams of two men and two women, plays Thursdays at 7 p.m. The annual fee for these leagues is $150.

For men and women aged 50 and over, the Seniors League curls Mondays and Thursdays at 1 p.m. and the annual fee is $125 or a $5 drop-in. Seniors interested in playing aren’t required to register with a team as they are placed on a team by random draw.

For newcomers - or old-timers looking to refresh their skills – a free-of-charge curling clinic on November 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. is just the thing to teach them the ropes of the game.

The Crowsnest Curling Club hosts three major bonspiels in the Pass, with the Open Doubles coming up in February followed by The Shamrock in March and The Bunny around Easter. There’s also a rather special, smaller Miner's Spiel played under the glow of flashlights and headlamps.
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If you aren’t sure whether curling is a sport for you, you just need to talk to a curler to be convinced of the sport’s universal and timeless appeal.
Gerald Helgason has been curling since he was seven years old – over 70 years! He started playing in a small town in Saskatchewan where all there was to do was play hockey and curl; he did both.

“I like the competition and you get to mingle with people, socialize. I liked it right off the bat and I've liked it for all these years. It’s great exercise and it’s a way to pass the time and socialize,” he says. “It's just a lot of fun.”

For seniors, curling is an opportunity to remain active well into their elderly age, especially during winter months when outdoor activities are limited.

“It’s never too late to start curling, no matter what your age. Hockey or something like that, you get old and crippled and you can’t do it. But in curling, you can. I'm very close to 80 and I still curl all the time,” says Helgason.

However, it’s the young people that the Crowsnest Curling Club wants to engage, but how to do that really is the million-dollar question.

“They seem to be losing interest, the young people. Some of them are interested but others just want to get out of school,” says Helgason, who has assisted in coaching Crowsnest Consolidated High School students.
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For new Crowsnest Pass resident Natalie Dzioba, curling was a way to meet new people in the community when she moved here one year ago. She says she loves the sport because it’s something all ages can participate in, it’s inexpensive, and the camaraderie you create and people you meet are invaluable.

“I love the sport because it’s great for people of any age and it’s a sport that you can learn in your youth, and then forget about for a little while, and then come back to,” says Dzioba, who did just that. She curled in high school, dropped it for several years, and recently got back into it five years ago.

And again, Dzioba reiterates that curling is a timeless sport for all ages.
“Last year, we had some younger people on our team, we had some older people on our team, so it was multi-generational. You don’t have to have a team of just your age group,” she says. "One thing I love about curling is the camaraderie. It's a very social sport. You play on the ice, you talk to each other, you meet other people, so I think it’s great from an interactive standpoint."

All you really need to join the Crowsnest Curling Club is a willingness to play the game. Although many members have their own equipment, the club supplies the stones and has many brooms to use. Curling shoes are recommended, but you can comfortably get by with a pair of shoes that aren't worn outdoors.

And we’re lucky here in Crowsnest Pass because many of our local curlers are quite talented and happy to show newcomers the ropes of being a good curler.

“As a brand-new resident last year, they took me with open arms and I didn’t feel as an outsider at all,” says Dzioba. “I think they were happy to see a new face, but also happy to share curling with somebody else. I have a huge respect for this club."

At a time when life has us hurrying and working hard every single day, curling remains one of the reprieves where all ages can “hurry hard”, without the actual hurry of daily life.

To learn more about the Crowsnest Curling Club, visit crowsnestcurlingclub.weebly.com.
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November 21st, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 47
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