NEW GLASGOW — Curlers are cranking up for another season at the Bluenose Curling Club.
Some of them have been curling for years and welcome the return to the game, while the club is also hoping others either give the sport a try for the first time or return after a time away from it.
Courtney Buchanan is beginning her 26th season of curling and took time last weekend to sharpen her game.
“I like the friendships you form,” she said. “It’s such a social space. It’s a good atmosphere. I also like the competitiveness.”
Buchanan appreciates the ice at the Bluenose club, and the intimacy of its members.
“The ice is keen, but I love it,” she said. “I played in Windsor and Mayflower clubs, but Bluenose is my favourite. Everyone is so friendly here and you don’t get to meet everyone at the bigger clubs.”
The club hosted Open House Week over three days last week.
There was free on-ice instruction and league information on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, as well as junior curling registration on Wednesday and more registration on Thursday afternoon.
It was also an opportunity for current and prospective curlers to view the league options that are offered Mondays through Thursdays from October through March.
“It went very well,” said Jane Marshall, one of the members taking registrations. “We have a few new members and our returning members, and the Little Rocks (for youngsters) appear to be going well. Our wheelchair curlers are signed up and we have a couple of new members.”
Membership director Joe Proudfoot found the results of the open house encouraging.
“So far we have 18 new curlers signed up for this season, although we are still accepting new sign-ups,” he said. “Half of the new curlers are signed up for our Novice League, and half are signed up for our league nights. The novice league is designed to make people who have not curled before, or who have not curled in a long time, comfortable on the ice. At the end of the eight-week program those curlers will be comfortable joining one of our weeknight leagues.”
Proudfoot said, while Little Rocks registration was down from a year ago, there is another chance to register at 5 p.m. on November 3 at the club.
Haylett Clarke was among those who practised and demonstrated stick curling, which has become an alternative to delivering stones from a crouch position.
Clarke combined with John MacNaughton to win their division in stick curling last month during the 2017 Nova Scotia 55-Plus Games in Lunenburg County. They are eligible to represent the province at the 2018 Canada 55-Plus Games in Saint John, N.B., but stick curling is not offered there.
Clarke and MacNaughton won the 2017 provincial open stick curling championship. Qualifiers are in November and the 2018 provincial championships are in February.
Courtney Buchanan delivers a stone from the hack during practice at Bluenose Curling Club. (Goodwin photo)