PICTOU — The 47th annual Ship Hector bonspiel will be played from Jan. 25 to 27 at Pictou County’s four curling clubs.
Some 40 teams are expected to contest the Ship Hector trophy that with a $1,000 cash prize goes to the overall championship team, while nine other consolation trophies are also contested.
Trophies representing the four clubs — New Caledonian Curling Club in Pictou (est. 1850), Bluenose Curling Club in New Glasgow (est. 1953), Stellar Curling Club in Stellarton (est. 1878) and Westville Curling Club (est. 1901) — are among those in play.
The other trophies include the Gordon Fraser, Heritage, Jack Pink Event, Tartan and Tweed.
The lower number of teams is in stark contrast to the 56-team draws and standby teams that had been common in recent years, said Scott Maston, a member of the New Caledonian club who serves on the draw and registration committees.
“We had 56 teams for about 10 years in a row,” he said. “We could end up with more teams, but it’s still impressive. Some people like the opportunity to play on different ice surfaces and meet different people. It’s a bit about competition but it’s more about the people. A lot of times, it’s the only time in the year that teams play together.”
The Ship Hector final rotates among the four clubs and will be curled at the Bluenose club this year.
Registration and the draw for teams will be on Jan. 25 at the Bluenose club from 5:30 to 7 p.m. before evening draws at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.
Draws on Jan. 26 will start at 9 a.m. and end at 9 p.m.
Draws at all clubs will take place on Jan. 27 at 9:30 a.m., with the finals at 1 p.m.