Curlers are back in the house

Today on the calendar is the first day of autumn, which means another local curling season is just about to commence…

Today on the calendar is the first day of autumn, which means that fall and winter sports are now officially underway. Among those, the start of another local curling season is just about to commence…

The past several weeks have been busy ones down at the Nanaimo Curling Centre on Wall Street. Manager Denise Wood, head ice technician Darren Horton and staff and volunteers have been getting everything organized for the year ahead. The ice has been put in, of course, the pro shop has been stocked and extensive renovations to the upstairs of the club have been completed.

This coming Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 24-25), practice time will be available on the eight sheets of fresh ice from noon until 5 p.m. each day. Ice can also be used during next week on Monday through Wednesday from 3-9 p.m. Learn-to-curl clinics will be held from Monday (Sept. 27) through Wednesday from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. An intermediate clinic will happen on Tuesday evening and a curling strategy session on Wednesday evening.

The first day of league curling will be one week from today on Sept. 29. From that point on, the ice will be busy most days of the week with various leagues and bonspiel for all age groups.

The schedule for Mondays begins with a school program, followed by a senior ladies’ league in the afternoon. The ice is used by a junior curling program after school, and in the evening, teams in the Sleeman Six Pack league play six-end games, with a women’s open league taking the ice at night.

Tuesdays start with the senior men’s CIBC Wood Gundy league, open to curlers 55-plus. The Alina Abbott Images Business Ladies’ league has the ice in the evening, then an open men’s league features draws at night.

Ice time on Wednesday mornings has been scheduled for a school instruction program along with wheelchair curling. The Wood Gundy/Berwick on the Lake senior mixed takes the ice in the afternoon, after which comes the Mid-Island Co-op senior open rink of choice league. In the evening, the Almost Famous Friendly Five open classified league is followed by novice adult recreational curling. The novice adult rec program runs for 10 weeks, with equipment and instruction provided for those wishing to learn the basics.

Thursdays will see the school instructional program followed by a women’s league in the afternoon. There will also be curling for Special Olympic athletes and junior curlers. A popular open men’s league gets underway in the evening. In November, it is hoped that a Senior Mixed stick league will get formed, featuring two-player teams.

Senior men 55-plus are on the ice again Friday mornings and early afternoons. The Tutor Doctor District 68 open league is in the late afternoon and Friday nights are very busy with two draws of the Investors Group mixed league.

Saturdays during the season are often booked with bonspiels, clinics, or mini-spiels. Sunday morning is the traditional time slot for the men’s Hangover League.

Practice ice will be available on Sundays from 12-5 p.m. Then on Sunday afternoons comes the Little Rockers program. In that, children ages 5-9 will be introduced to curling with mini-sized rocks and a variety of fun activities both on and off the ice.

If you’re interested, it’s still possible to get onto a team. For more information about any programs or leagues, contact the Nanaimo Curling Centre at 250-753-3474.

Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.

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