In an effort to attract more people to the sport, Comox Valley Curling Club manager Keith Parry initiated a Friday Fun League, which started with 12 teams and grew to 36 teams, with a waitlist. He added a Sunday Fun League for the spillover.
“It’s (Friday) now our busiest night here,” Parry said. “Just allowing people to try curling in five weeks instead of having to commit to 23 weeks — that’s really been gold.”
Curl BC has honoured Parry with its Ron Houston Award for Administrator of the Year for 2019. Each year, the organization celebrates those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport in B.C.
“We also have a Learn to Curl program where we’ve converted every person who took the program into regular leagues,” Parry said. “In a larger sense, we’re changing the culture from curling clubs of the past. We have to get younger, and be less serious about winning Olympic gold medals. Open the doors to make sure everyone knows how fun curling is. We have to make it easy for people to try curling. That means shorter leagues, funner leagues, less serious leagues — give people some instruction, and let them learn the rules as they go.”
Though more work is required to run a five-week league, he said the payoff is worth the effort.
“It’s the future of the club,” said Parry, who has also helped refresh the lounge area by adding games such as giant Jenga, changing bar menu items, and playing more music.
The CVCC was also named Curling Centre of the Year, along with the Quesnel Curling Centre. The CVCC increased membership by more than 150 curlers in one year via the fun leagues.
“The club reinvigorated interest in curling by reaching out to the community, working with schools, and attracting sponsors,” a Curl BC news release states. “The club also updated its website with pictures of achievements and news of upcoming events. A fantastic newsletter with information (and humour) was circulated each month to keep all members connected.”