File photo

Fernie curlers return to the ice after two-year hiatus

Registration hits all-time high

Members of the Fernie Curling Club drew their first rocks on Monday, October 28, after a two-year hiatus from the rink.

Registration hit approximately 140 members this year, a record high for the club.

Ice in the Fernie Curling Club has been created with the help of a new Freon ice plant, which both the curling club and Memorial Arena now share. In the curling club, new roll-out PVC piping has been installed along the floor where the sheets are located. Water is then flooded over top of the piping, a system designed to give ice makers better control over the temperature of the ice.

The new modular ice mats required an investment of $124k by the City of Fernie, $10k of which was donated by the club. The proposition for the new mats was the result of a leaking flooring system, which cost the club their season last year. The year before this, the club was shut due to the ammonia leak.

Club president Annie McFarlane said the new method of making ice brought with it a slew of unexpected challenges, mostly out of their control; new equipment not arriving in time, equipment not operating as it should, challenges configuring the new chiller, and more.

At times, McFarlane said the prospect of curling again seemed almost out of reach.

After countless hours and months of work, it came down to a matter of minutes on what was anticipated to be their first night of curling. When crews went to place the hacks on October 28, just hours before curlers were set to arrive, they found they did not fit.

A group of three volunteers got to work and finished modifying the hacks less than one hour before the first stones were thrown.

“(There were) a lot of nail-biting moments through the last two years, knowing, not knowing, being okay and not being okay,” said McFarlane.

“So… then to watch people on the ice curling on Monday was pretty cool, to say the least. Honestly, I didn’t think we were going to see that.”

After the issues last season, McFarlane thought that the club would be shut for a long time. She said she is thankful to the City of Fernie for purchasing the new refrigeration mats, which has allowed them to return to the sport they love.

The City explained in an email that these new mats were purchased because they can be moved to another location, should there be a need in the future. They further explained that as this is a new product in City of Fernie facilities, staff worked with the curling club on an implementation schedule which took into consideration potential unforeseen circumstances. As a result of this, the target date for starting the ice plant was schedule one week earlier than usual.

During the system start up, the contractor encountered air blockages which resulted in some delays, however the ice plant is now fully operation and the facility has been transferred to the curling club for their season.

Approximately 50 participated in the first night of curling, followed by the seniors league the night after which also saw the use of all four sheets.

McFarlane said they wouldn’t be curling had it not been for their dedicated group of volunteers.

“These people, they were there because they wanted to curl, and we were all curling last week, and it was pretty cool to see after two years,” said McFarlane.

“Yes, we all worked really hard, yes, I played my role, the board played their role, everybody played their roles, and we had record registration, but none of this would have happened without our volunteers, which were spectacular.”

McFarlane said the club is looking forward to not only hosting senior and mixed teams, but also the youth in the area from both The Fernie Academy and Fernie Secondary School.

In addition to sheet rentals, the club currently hosts three leagues, the juniors, and drop-ins on Thursday nights starting in the new year.

She thanked the Sparwood Curling Club for opening their arms to them, and hosting members of the Fernie Curling Club during their two-year hiatus.

If interested in joining in on the fun, call the Fernie Curling Club at (250) 423-6553 and ask for Annie McFarlane.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Fernie Rotary supports Days for Girls

The Rotary club donated $250 towards the Fernie chapter of the international organization

The importance of staying active during self isolation

Maintaining an exercise regime is critical to mental health during stressful times

Elk Valley holds on to hope while pandemic ensues

Weeks into the COVID-19 crisis, communities in the Elk Valley continue to find ways to spread joy

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Most Read