Avid curing fans will have a chance to finally hear what high level curling teams are saying to one another as they play on Nelson ice in February.
The Nelson Curling Club is hosting the 2016 Canadian Direct Insurance BC Men’s Curling Championship thanks to a successful bid last year. The big event will see the winner heading to the Canadian National Men’s Championships, also known as the Tim Horton’s Brier.
“This is huge event,” said Vivian Benedetti co-sponsor chair with Brenda Fraser. With the successful bid, the Nelson Curling Club’s large task of organizing the event has long begun, in search of large and small corporate sponsors. Benedetti said more are “very welcome” to contribute in any way they can to help raise funds.
“We’re looking forward to putting on a good show,” said Benedetti, who said the top level curlers will be there. “And we’re hoping to get lots of sponsors too.”
The event runs Feb. 10 through 14 with 16 of BC’s top men’s team vying for first place, which means a spot in the National Championships in Ottawa in March 2016.
Games start Wednesday morning, with three draws per day, until the Saturday page playoffs. Sportsnet TV will widely televise the semi-finals and finals on Sunday 14.
But for West Kootenay folk it’s a chance to watch the top BC men’s teams play in person. The regular six sheets of ice will be pared down to four as bleachers will be set up for on-ice viewing. Those spectators will be able to hear the team members’ dialogue.
“Up close and personal so you can hear what players say,” Benedetti explained.
To pull off the bonspiel in fine fashion, they are looking for volunteers. Benedetti estimates they will need 50 to 100 people to help with a variety of tasks from drivers for the teams, bartenders at the rink, curling officiating, people to sell raffle tickets, and door security.
Tickets are expected to go on sale in December.
While organizers work on this event, the club is also getting ready for their regular curling season. The ice will be open for practice from Oct. 13 to 16. Registration night is Oct. 16 and league play starts Oct. 20.
“We love our sport,” said Benedetti. “I’ve always curled and I’d love to share it with other people.”
She likened the sport to a mixture of shuffle board and chess.
“You have to think out there and it’s not so easy,” she said, adding they welcome new members whole-heartedly.
“We have a lot of fun on Wednesday and Friday night and it’s a great way to meet new people.”