Verne Reimer gives his rinkmate a line

Verne Reimer gives his rinkmate a line

Social curling draws scores of seniors

Seniors enjoy the fellowship accompanying the winter sport

  • Nov. 25, 2015 12:00 p.m.

Earle Couper

Record staff

 

Social curling is sweeping the Comox Valley.

Every Monday and Wednesday morning, 20 teams of 50+ mixed curlers hit the ice at the Comox Valley Curling Club to enjoy two draws (9 a.m  and 11:30 a.m.) of their favourite sport.

The club also has a competitive mixed seniors league, with 24 teams, for a total of approximately 200 players age 50 or better. But social league president Michael Spender leaves no doubt that his league is all about fun and friendship.

“It’s a very welcoming and open environment. Very, very friendly. But that’s curling…it’s a pretty friendly game anyway. Regardless of winning or losing, players shake hands with the other team. They usually wear name tags, but they’ll introduced themselves if they don’t.”

While the competitive league registers curlers as teams, Spender notes, “We register people as individuals, with small exceptions like a man and wife wanting to play together. We take down what position they’d like to play, then we draw teams.”

With few exceptions, players will play the same position all season.

“However, if a skip feels his second is not up to the work he might switch him to third. But it’s rare to switch people around of their own volition – it’s not a democracy out there, the skip has the say-so on everything,” said Spender.

“After 18 games we redraw all the teams. People can then decide if they want to play in a more responsible – or a less responsible – position on the rink,” he said. The redrawing of teams ensures more people get to know even more people over the course of the season.

Spender says the social league currently has 20 teams, with 77 players and a rotation of three spares from a list of 25. There is room in the social league to accommodate 24 teams.

“There’s six sheets of ice, all brand new, and really pleasant to play on,” Spender said, adding registration is ongoing.

“Anybody who wants to play can play. There is no cutoff or deadline (to register),” Spender said.

The current draw ends in early January, and Spender said that would be a good time for those interested to sign up.

“If they wanted to play on a regular basis, we would give them a cost of about one-third of the full cost (as) the season ends in March.”

Spender notes spares play a per-game fee.

“We have a spares board. We need one as people are often ill or have a doctor or dentist appointment.

“We range (in age) up to 91 or 92 years,” said Spender. (On the day The Record dropped by the curling club, Grant Compton was on the ice curling and celebrating his 90th birthday).

“People have open heart surgery and all sorts of stuff during the season with us,” Spender says.

The call for spares increases in January through March when many curlers become snowbirds.

“We’ve got a lot of people who go away on a regular basis, three or four weeks at a time. We compensate those folks. If they miss six games in a row we give a portion of their (annual) fee back to them. I think it’s the only league that does that.”

Membership fees are also important to support the social aspect of the social league.

“We have a Christmas social, a wind-up social in March, two fun bonspiels, and two golf tournaments and a picnic in the summer. (The league) is a year-round thing. When people get together in the summer you can tell they really enjoy seeing their curling buddies and asking about what they’ve been doing in the summer,” said Spender.

The club has been around for about 25 years and has many long-serving members. Spender notes that when curlers lose their competitive edge in the one league they often switch to the social league. Several members play in both leagues, he added. The competitive league also curls in the morning, and Spender says that works out well in two ways: logistically as the younger leagues comprise mostly working people for whom the morning draws would not be a convenient, and financially as well.

“It’s nice for the club as we have nearly 200 seniors using the ice in the daytime. That makes a big difference to the viability of club. As a result we have the lowest curling club fees I think in B.C. and maybe even the country.”

Spender notes the Comox Valley Curling Club is preparing to host the annual Seniors Invitational Bonspiel, a mixed event with a maximum of 24 teams and “massive prizes – all cash,” said Spender. Registration is open now by contacting the club at 250-334-4712 or info@comoxvalleycurling.com. Entries come from all over for the fun weekend.

Spender, in his first year as president of the social club after several years in other executive positions, says that while there his job involves a lot of organization, there is a good committee to get things done.

“We’re lucky in that respect. We have good volunteers who will run things. We’re always ahead of the game. That’s one thing about seniors, they have time. They may not have much else, but things are organized,” Spender said with a laugh.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Courtenay Nissan’s Matthew Bourassa, Geoff Piper and Sean LaFleur join YANA’s Ashley Smith, Kelly Rusk and Lisa Wilcox for the 4x4x48 event to raise funds. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Courtenay Nissan eats and runs for YANA

Dealership realized non-profit groups need new ways to raise funds during COVID

Rev. Sulin Milne at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox is part of those helping distribute food to those in need within the town. Photo by Jim Peacock
Comox church serving the community with food through COVID-19

“We knew there were so many people who were facing economic challenges …”

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Nineteen people arrested, charges expected in Courtenay house raid

Investigators are continuing to comb through evidence seized

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo
Concerned citizens march in Courtenay in name of old-growth rainforests

The Comox Valley is one of the B.C. communities engaged in mobilization… Continue reading

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ in Metchosin

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read