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After a year off, curling is back

First Westlock bonspiel of the season slated for Dec. 30 to Jan. 2
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Outgoing Westlock Curling Club president Paula Clark got some help from her daughter Rachel Oct. 28 flooding the rink in preparation for the start of league play this week.

WESTLOCK - After a year off the ice, Westlock-area curlers will don their sliders and dig out their brooms this week. 

Outgoing Westlock Curling Club president Paula Clark said league play starts today, Nov. 2, with numbers “pretty close” to what they had pre-COVID 19 — with the changing restrictions last fall they decided to take the year off. For the Tuesday-night league they have nine teams, which is down one, while for Thursday night they have 10 to 11 teams as Clark said they’re waiting on a few confirmations. They’re also planning to get the school program going again near the end of November and into early December.   

“I’m happy with the numbers, I think they’re really good.  Everyone is just excited to get back and to be able to do something,” said Clark Oct. 28, before heading down to the rink that morning to continue flooding. 

In order to offer a season, the club is taking part in the province’s Restrictions Exemption Program, meaning curlers have to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test to take to the ice.  

“The only confusing part is if you have someone under 17 years old curling with you, they’re exempt (as an athlete). But if they want to come watch mom and dad curl say on a Thursday night then they have to be vaccinated or have proof of the negative test,” she said.  

“I haven’t had any push back. Most people know what the rules are.” 

The Town and Country Bonspiel will be the first of the year and is slated to run Dec. 30 to Jan 2 and Clark said they’re hoping to spice things up with a Friday-night shaker. 

“That’s always the big one. And I think with New Year’s being on a Friday maybe we’ll be able to incorporate a New Year’s party at the curling rink,” said Clark. 

”Since we’re participating in the REP, whatever our liquor licence says is when we can stay open until, so we don’t have to close early. We just have to have somebody manning the door to check the IDs. At the bonspiels once the teams their proof we’ll give them wristbands and then any spectators will also get a wristband.” 

Into 2022, the club will host an Open Bonspiel Feb. 11-13, then the Men’s Bonspiel is slated to run March 11-13. 

“And hopefully, maybe some of the restrictions will be lifted by then. You never know,” she said. 

Clark, who is winding down her seven-year presidency and will be replaced by Erin Wiese, has always been and will continue to be a big booster of the sport in Westlock. 

“It’s good to have someone new and young coming in and hopefully she’ll be able to grow membership with the younger group,” she said. 

George Blais

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