It’s really just a matter of getting them on the ice.
As has been the case the past few seasons, attracting new members is a major focal point for the Corner Brook Curling Club executive, of which Bruce serves as secretary.
“Obviously, in Corner Brook, there’s a bit of an aging demographic,” Bruce said. “I think, for all sports, that’s one of the challenges.
“We want to get them in and try the game,” he added. “It doesn’t matter what age.”
The curling season is fast approaching and ice-making was scheduled to commence this past Sunday. A few of what Bruce described as “normal, early-season hiccups” prevented that from happening, but he expected the job to start within the next day or two.
If all goes well, the ice should be ready to go by the Oct. 13-15 weekend. The ice-making, impressively, is done entirely by volunteers.
“The ice-makers are the heart and soul of the club,” Bruce said.
Once the sheet is down, a week of exhibition play would commence on Oct. 16, allowing die-hards to shake the rust off and newbies to get a feel for the game. Competitive league play would then likely begin Oct. 23, though none of these dates were carved in stone, as the executive had only met once as of Tuesday.
In the effort of bringing in fresh faces, Bruce said the tentative plan would be to offer open house Learn to Curl sessions in the afternoon, with the option for those who take a shine to it to compete in a mini-bonspiel of sorts in the evening, with a few regular club members mixed in to ensure it runs smoothly.
The club will be hosting the provincial Masters championships this year, the only major tournament on its schedule, and the hope is to bring in junior teams from across the island, much like it did last year, to showcase the talented youth in the sport.
Bruce is also optimistic the club will represent itself well in other centres at various championships.
“Our club has always been competitive at the provincial level,” he said. “It’s important for us to try to win some more banners for the club because that helps grow the game a bit too.”
Over the summer, Curling Canada approved a motion that endorses the use of helmets for all in the under-12 age category.
Bruce said it’s not something the club has officially adopted yet, but he expected they’d at least consider it for the junior program. He said the local junior program typically doesn’t see kids younger than Grade 7 anyway, so most participants, if not all, would meet the older-than-U12 criteria.