Nanaimo’s curlers step onto ice

It has been a busy time of preparation down at the Nanaimo Curling Centre on Wall Street.

As we near the end of September, curling is one of several fall and winter sports that is gearing up to start another season of play.

It has been a busy time of preparation down at the Nanaimo Curling Centre on Wall Street, as manager Denise Wood and head ice technician Darren Horton have been working with staff members to get things in order. The eight-sheet facility is now set to go and ready to welcome curlers of all ages and ability levels to another season of the ‘roaring game’.

To kick things off, the club is holding an open house Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 23-25) from noon-9 p.m. the first day, then 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekend. The ice will be ready to practise on, staff will be on hand to register curlers and newcomers are welcome to look around the facility. Then this coming Monday and Tuesday, free curling lessons for novices will be offered from 2-4 p.m. and again from 7-9 p.m. Club volunteers will be available to explain the basics of the game and provide some on-ice instruction.  There is no equipment needed except for clean running shoes and comfortable clothing. For more information, or to register, contact the curling centre at 250-753-3474.

Returning curlers from last year should have already contacted their league reps to register a team for the coming season and are encouraged to drop by the club during the next few days to pay league dues. Then, league curling for registered teams will get underway beginning next Thursday.

From that point on, there will be something happening just about every day for the next six months at the curling centre. The weekly schedule for Mondays during the upcoming season shows a senior men’s 68-and-over league beginning play at 10 a.m., followed by a CIBC Wood Gundy senior ladies’ league at 1 p.m. The ice is then used from 3:45 to 5:15 p.m. for junior players ages nine to 19.

Returning for a second season on Monday evenings is the Sleeman Six Pack League. Starting at 6 p.m., teams with six players playing six-end games. Individual curlers are welcome to enter and intermediate instruction with video analysis is included. Also on Monday nights is a ladies’ rink-of-choice league which starts at 7:30 p.m.

Tuesdays begin with the senior men’s 55-plus league on the ice with draws at 9:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. A business ladies’ league takes over from 5 to 6:30 p.m., then an open men’s league has draws at both 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

Time is set aside on Wednesday morning for wheelchair curling at 10 a.m., as the Nanaimo Curling Centre is now totally wheelchair accessible. At 1 p.m. Wednesdays is the senior mixed league, followed by a Mid Island Co-op senior men’s rink-of-choice league from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. In the evening, a ladies’ classified league begins at 6:30 p.m. At 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, is a mixed business league. At the same time, the club is offering a 10-week adult learn-to-curl league. A half-hour classroom session will cover topics such as rules, etiquette and basic strategy, then participants will move out onto the ice for games.

Thursday mornings begin with the senior men’s 68-and-over league at 10 a.m. A ladies’ rink-of-choice league takes the ice at 1 p.m. Then at 3:30 p.m. is curling for Special Olympics athletes, as well as junior curling from 3:45 to 5:30 p.m. An open men’s league starts at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Christensen Collision cash league on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.

Senior men 55 and over take the ice again on Friday morning at 9:30 a.m., with another draw happening at 12:45 p.m. A Nanaimo school district league plays at 4 p.m., then in the evening a mixed league sponsored by Investor’s Group has draws at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

Saturdays are usually taken up with bonspiels, mini-spiels, clinics, or other competitions during the season. Sunday mornings feature the men’s Hangover League, with games starting at 9:30 a.m. Practice ice is sometimes available on Sunday afternoons. The curling week then ends with the Sunday open mixed league. This league has a new, earlier time this season, running from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The league is open to all ages and team mixes and is a great spot for new curlers.

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

Ian Thorpe writes about sports Saturdays.