Curling is coming back to Grand Forks in October, the city’s curling club confirmed Wednesday, Sept. 9.
Grand Forks Curling Club (GFCC) president, Sean Noble, said all league play will be modified according to COVID-19 guidelines set by the club’s governing bodies, Curling Canada and Curl BC.
Noble, who was elected in absentia at the GFCC’s annual general meeting Tuesday night, said the club expects to welcome curlers back after next month’s Thanksgiving weekend. The COVID-19 pandemic stopped all play at the club’s rink behind the Grand Forks & District Aquatic Centre last March.
What will “modified” curling look like?
Noble said all teams will drop one sweeper, so that curlers hurrying rocks aren’t breathing into each other.
Other team members will change their positions on the ice, according to Curl BC guidelines.
How many curlers will come back?
A recent survey returned by 75 per cent of club members suggests that most curlers are planning to get back on the ice this upcoming season.
Noble said he anticipates the GFCC will sign up more curlers when registration opens Saturday, Sept. 12, because, “there’s no snow birds going South this winter.”
He explained that the sport is especially popular among Boundary retirees, who usually spend the fall and winter vacationing in warmer climes.
Around 130 curlers came out for the club across all leagues last season, according to Noble. Most live in Grand Forks, with a considerable number coming in from Christina Lake, plus a few from Greenwood.
No tournament in November
The GFCC will not be hosting its semiannual tournament, or “bonspiel,” this November, owing to social distancing measures required by Curling Canada and Curl BC.
“We don’t know how to logistically deal with it, quite frankly,” said Noble, who explained that curlers normally look forward to food and prizes after they stop throwing rocks.
Noble said he hopes that the pandemic will have lessened to point where the club can safely put on the next ‘spiel in March 2021.