From left: Elaine Starchuk, Gracelyn Richards, Mickey Colburn, Chanelle Meeres, Amber Dufour, Keelie Duncan, Bryn Woloshyn and Mary Holden. Photo by Adam Duncan

Battle for the ages at Comox Valley Curling Club

Club founded in 1958

The Comox Valley Curling Club is set to begin its 60th diamond anniversary season with an Icebreaker Open House event on Saturday, September 29 from 2—7 p.m.

The club is home to a number of provincial champions, and two of those teams from opposite ends of the age spectrum will have a special four end (one hour) game at 5 p.m.

BC Ladies Masters (60+) champions Team Dufour (skip Amber Dufour, with Mary Holden, Mickey Colburn and Elaine Starchuk) will face off against U18 BC Winter Games gold medalists Team Richards (skip Gracelyn Richards with Chanelle Meeres, Keelie Duncan and Bryn Woloshyn) in this special battle for the ages, no to mention interclub provincial champion bragging rights. The oldest girl on the Richards Team is all of 14, so while this may seem like a spectacle, it is truly a rare occasion to have such a fun but fierce game with accomplished curlers of such a wide generation gap.

The rest of the festivities include free on ice instruction for new curlers, demonstrations of the new Olympic sport of doubles curling, hourly prize giveaways, food and drink specials and live entertainment.

Founded in 1958, the CVCC has survived enormous challenges to its facilities, membership numbers, and stereotypes about curling; but is turning the corner with a new spirit of inclusion and creative new program initiatives designed to make it easier to allow people to try the sport.

“The sport of curling has to get younger, while respecting its heritage and the amazing buildings full of history and the colorful personalities that kept them intact through the leaner years,” manager Keith Parry said. “Many curling clubs are struggling to keep their numbers, the reasons are complex. To me it is simple, we need to do anything to get people on the ice. It is not two hours of cold, it is two hours of fun. Curling is an amazingly challenging team game and social activity for all ages, skills, and genders. It is something you can do for the rest of your life. Beyond that, the experience at the club should be one of energy and camaraderie from the moment you come through the doors to the moment you say goodbye to your teammates and opponents after a post-game refreshment.”

The numbers don’t lie at the CVCC. Membership has climbed past 700 (up over 200 in the past year), partially due to shorter and more beginner friendly leagues, quality playing conditions due to head ice technician Gord Twanow, and the aforementioned focus on fun and inclusion. Six new lines of rotating craft beer in the Extra End Lounge don’t hurt either.

With all of the new growth at the club comes a time to reflect in this 60th diamond anniversary season. All of the club’s bonspiels and events this season will be themed around 1958, or diamonds, or the number 60. Historical photos and tributes to the numerous legendary individuals and teams who have flourished and put the club on the map will be celebrated.

The icebreaker event and Dufour vs Richards game is free of charge. All are welcome to come and visit the friendly home of curling in the Comox Valley.

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