Roaring game to sweep into foothills
Curling: Local clubs will play host to several marquee events this season
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 06:00 am
Fans of curling in the foothills will have ample opportunity to get swept up in the roaring game this season.
Southern Alberta’s elite rock chuckers will be on display at a number of marquee events in what should be a prolific season at both the Oilfields and Okotoks curling clubs.
The Oilfields Curling Club (OCC) will be welcoming some of the world’s best to Black Diamond as it plays host to a World Curling Tour event, the Alberta ladies Southern playdowns and the mixed provincial championship.
“Hopefully this is going to be a real changing point for curling out here in Black Diamond, to put us on the map,” said OCC manager Mike Libbus. “With those three events our members are busy, our ice crew is busy.”
The World Curling Tour (WCT) will make its first ever stop at the curling club – featuring top men’s and women’s teams on the international circuit – from Nov. 29 – Dec. 1. The event is co-hosted by High River’s Highwood Curling Club.
“Playing in some of the WCT events last year, between us and John Steel in High River, we showed some interest in hosting the event,” said Libbus. “It’s pretty exciting for our members to have this quality of play out here.”
Entries are still being finalized for the event, but some of the elite foursomes to hit the sheets could be Team Korea as well as the rink skipped by Jamie Koe – a six time Brier competitor.
Two weeks later (Dec. 13-16) the OCC plays host to the Southern Alberta Curling Association (SACA) ladies southern playdowns – the qualification bonspiel for the Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
“That’s a pretty big event for us,” Libbus said. “You might see the next (national) champ come out of that field.”
The Black Diamond club then closes out its season by featuring the Alberta Mixed provincials from March 26-30.
On a club level, membership has seen a modest increase with a few extra teams joining the Oilfields ranks. For more information on the Oilfields Curling Club visit occcurling.com
In Okotoks, young curlers will have a chance to showcase their skills and make a push towards provincial glory.
The Okotoks club is the site for the Junior districts, from Nov. 15-17, followed two months later by the Juvenile districts, Jan. 17-19.
“It’s going to be exciting this year, we’ve got a lot of teams competing in their last year of Junior men’s,” said Okotoks Curling Club coordinator Lynn Ardiel. “Lots of teams have made some switches and changes and that’s the time of year it’s really going to come through.
“It’s a short season for the Juniors this year so that’s going to be a very important date for them.”
There will be no shortage of local flavour on the sheets. Okotokian Taylor Ardiel will be throwing third for the Carter Lautner rink versus the likes of Okotoks’ Kyler Kleibrink and Colin Peterson as well as Nanton’s Jeremy Harty.
From March 7-9, mixed curlers from Southern Alberta will attempt to qualify for the provincials in Black Diamond through the southern playdowns in Okotoks.
“The teams are getting younger and younger when it comes to mixed southerns, making them more competitive,” Ardiel said.
“They’re not too far out of Juniors, it’s obviously all ages, but they seem to be hitting the younger crowd.”
These events are all part of what should be one of the most important seasons for the club in a number of years.
“We’re using this as a stepping stone to see if we can’t move up. It’s a big year for the club.”
The health of curling at a club level is again strong in Okotoks with a membership nearing 700 in 11 leagues along with the 70 members learning the ropes with the Okotoks Junior Curling Academy.
For more information on the Okotoks Curling Club visit okotokscurling.com