Curling club seeking new blood

Low registration forced the Stettler Curling Club to postpone its first bonspiel of the season, planned for Nov. 14-15, until December.

Low registration forced the Stettler Curling Club to postpone its first bonspiel of the season, planned for Nov. 14-15, until December.

According to Steve Gerlitz, president of the Stettler Curling Club (SCC), registration numbers were simply too low, but the interest is there. Though he didn’t know for certain, it could have just been a bad date, so the club has rescheduled its first bonspiel for Dec. 4-6.

The club itself is looking to be in about the same health as it was last year, with 20 seniors, 10 women’s, and eight men’s rinks signed up so far this year. Of those, the women’s rinks are down by two.

There are also 25 kids signed up, with 10 more slated to start an introduction-to-curling for January.

Though the club’s in the same position as last year, it doesn’t mean the club is extraordinarily healthy.

“We really do need more members,” Gerlitz said.

He noted that one of the barriers to acquiring new curlers was people being afraid to come and try it out. He said that people can come to any of the curling nights to watch and learn, as well as take a try, before making a decision.

While some people are competitive, they’re all friendly and welcoming of new potential players, even those who’ve never set foot on an ice sheet before.

The club had a successful 2014-15 season of activity, but at the end of the financial year it found itself suffering a loss of nearly $12,000.

It costs the club nearly $100,000 per year to run, and it makes about $60,000 in operating revenue. The rest of its profit comes from bonspiels, the lounge, and raffles throughout the season.

This year, the club completed extensive repairs to the ice plant.

“This summer the compressior in the ice plant was replaced for a cost of $39,000, which was taken out of our general savings account,” Gerlitz explained.

The old compressor was on its last legs and the cost to keep it running was beginning to outweigh the value in not replacing it, Gerlitz explained. At the same time, the opportunity to acquire a used, but in great condition, compressor came around and the club took the leap.

The fees to register for the 15-16 season is $280 until the end of November. As of Dec. 1, the fees go up to $300.

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