In some ways, stepping into the Dawson Creek Curling Club reveals just how different of a curling season this is. There are signs and arrows everywhere, with staggered start times and lots of hand sanitizer to be used. There are seating capacities in the lounge and other places when people aren’t out on the ice, and distancing is encouraged as much as possible.
However, on the curling side, everything is exactly the same. League play has been ongoing since early October, with the same amount of teams in the leagues as last year, not including the eight new teams for the doubles and triples leagues.
Things will look more familiar this weekend with the 48th Annual Dawson Creek Cash Spiel, the second stop on the 2020 Peace Curling Tour. The event will be split up into two weekends, so that there are around 12 teams playing a weekend. The challenge and junior divisions will start, from Nov. 13 to 15, with the competitive divisions playing the following weekend, Nov. 20 to 22.
“Things are going really well so far. I find people do tend to need reminders once in a while, don’t want to see people get lackadaisical with the rules,” DC Curling GM Jeff Ginter.
“We are going to add a requirement that people have to wear a mask for the cash bonspiels, mainly because we have a fair number of people coming from out of town and want to make sure we’re not adding an element of risk.” Ginter clarified that people won’t have to wear a mask when curling or at the lounge, but will have to entering the building and waiting in common areas.
This is the second stop out of four on the Peace Curling Tour, which began last weekend in Slave Lake. The tour will conclude with the annual Tour Curling Championship in Sexsmith, though that date is still to be determined.
The curling club has benefited greatly in recent years from its kids program, which last year saw more than 80 elementary kids curl weekly, and ensured new players were constantly being introduced to the sport. Due to COVID-19, Ginter said they had to limit the amount of participants in the program to only 48, but that all 48 spots have been claimed. The kids begin playing games this Thursday, November 12.
There is a bye week for each team to keep the numbers below 50, as there a number of teachers, coaches and volunteers helping with the teams as well.
“We would normally start the kids program in October, but wanted to wait and see how things were going with the schools and if the interest to curl would be there. We have the full number we want and are happy with the program this year,” Ginter said.