Curlers eye stick championship

NEW GLASGOW — Local curlers are looking forward to playing in the 2017 Canadian Stick Curling Championship being hosted this month by the Bluenose Curling Club.

The event will start on March 22 with opening ceremonies at 6 p.m. after an afternoon of practice.

Pairings include Haylett Clarke and John MacNaughton, who combined to win the recent stick tournament at the club.

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Stick curling consists of pairs instead of foursomes. Teammate is a curler from opposite ends of the sheet. Curlers deliver six rocks each end from either a standing or sitting position (wheelchair).

Curlers use a stick with a collar on one end that slips onto the curling stone’s handle.

“It’s different but it’s a lot of fun,” Clarke said. “Anyone who has curled before is a better curler for it.”

Stick curling has extended the careers of many curlers who can no longer crouch in the hack.

Clarke still curls the regular way, as well as with a stick, while MacNaughton is among those who can only curl with a stick either in stick games or regular games.

“If I don’t stick curl, I don’t curl,” MacNaughton said. “It’s kept a lot of people curling.”

MacNaughton said about 30 club members stick curl, which has helped sustain club membership.

“We can’t afford to lose them,” he said.

Other local pairs entered include Bruce Wornell and Lorne Smith, John Marshall and Devin Forbes and Jim Nix and Danny Roy.

“I’m excited,” said Forbes, who led his foursome to the 2017 provincial wheelchair curling championship at Bluenose club. “I’m always game for a challenge.”

Forbes is from Pictou and curls there and at the Bluenose, which offers stick curling on its schedule each week.

“We have lots of opportunities to get some games in,” he said.

Elizabeth Coady is chairing the championship’s organizing committee.

There will be eight draws on March 23, as well as 10 draws on March 24 and seven on March 25.

Curling on March 26 includes two morning draws and two afternoon draws.

Closing ceremonies will follow the 2 p.m. draw.


Devin Forbes sweep a stone during stick curling action at the Bluenose Curling Club. (Goodwin photo)

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Steve Goodwin was born in Amherst, N.S. and has been a journalist for more than 40 years. He has been a resident of Pictou County for nearly 40 years.