Ice going in at Stettler Curling Club

The ice is going in at the Stettler Curling Club this week, with registrations for men's, women's, senior's and children's curling...

The ice is going in at the Stettler Curling Club this week, with registrations for men’s, women’s, senior’s and children’s curling well under way.

It is a transition year for the club, as Steve Gerlitz, the club’s president, has indicated he will not return to the role next year when his term is up. Instead, Ralph Kamlah, the club’s vice-president, is being tutored this year by Gerlitz so he will be ready for the role next year, Gerlitz explained.

The rest of the board is made up by Secretary Heather Baird and Treasurer Gail Millard.

“We’re hoping to get league play started the week of Oct. 31,” Gerlitz said. Women play on Tuesday nights, with the first day for the ladies on Tuesday, Nov. 1. Men play the next evening, with their weekday being Wednesday. On Monday and Wednesday afternoons, the seniors’ league plays. Both days are full, Gerlitz noted.

Junior curling, which is run through the schools, happens on Monday nights, he said. With about 30 kids signed up to throw rocks this year, Gerlitz said he is hoping the next generation is coming up and learning to play.

Gerlitz will leave the presidency on a solid financial note, as structurally the rink is in sound shape and last year’s casino, which brought in $23,621.74, left the club’s coffers comfortably padded. However, the club’s membership continues to decline, a trend Gerlitz said he would like to see reverse itself.

This year, six teams have registered thus far for men, and 10 for ladies — both numbers going down from last year.

Some of the improvements planned for the rink might help draw more people in, as the board has applied for grants for certain projects.

An application is in to the Canada 150 grant program, as is an application to the Community Facility Enhancement Program. Word on the funding should be in soon, Gerlitz added. The money would be used to replace the club’s lighting with energy efficient LED lights, and replace the carpeting in the upstairs hall and main level’s lobby. Money would also go into upgrading the bathrooms.

Memberships are available for $250, so long as they are purchased before Dec. 1. Memberships after Dec. 1 cost $300.

For people who have never curled and are not sure they would enjoy it — but are still curious — the club hosts “First End” on Monday, Nov. 14. The event is designed to let new players try out the sport without a financial investment. There’s no need for equipment, as the club will provide it, and existing members will mentor people as they learn and try out the sport, Gerlitz explained. It is open to all ages and is free.

There are five bonspiels planned for the year, with the Cervus Equipment Farmer/Farmerette bonspiel planned for Jan. 19-22. The Junior bonspiel will be hosted on Feb. 11, and the Aspen Ford Ladies bonspiel on March 9-12.

The Schnell Hardy Jones bonspiel, which until this year was a men’s bonspiel, is being tried out as an open bonspiel this year. With not enough teams signed up to run the bonspiel last year, and after multiple attempts to reschedule it, it was finally cancelled. The date for this year’s Schnell Hardy Jones bonspiel has not yet been decided.

The final closing bonspiel of the year is planned for March 30-April 2, the annual Heartland Automotive and Industrial Supply Closing Mixer.

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