Skip to content

Nelson Curling Club wins provincial innovation award

The club was honoured for hiring its first full-time general manager
Nelson Curling Club president Kristina Little (second from right) was on hand at Curl BC’s Business of Curling event. The Nelson club won the top innovation prize for its hiring of a general manager. Photo: Curl BC

The Nelson Curling Club hit the button in a move that has won the organization a provincial honour.

The club was awarded Curl BC’s top prize for innovation at its Business of Curling event in Chilliwack in early June. Nelson was recognized for hiring its first full-time general manager Matt Moreira in September.

Club president Kristina Little, who was on hand to accept the award, said the hiring was necessary to address volunteer burnout.

“We just realized that it was either closed our doors, because we couldn’t run our facility, or take that leap of faith and hire someone to drive the ship and not rely so much on volunteers.”

The prize includes $2,500 in strategic planning sessions with Curling Canada.

The Nelson club has long struggled financially, and is currently trying to raise money for necessary repairs to its ice plant.

Little acknowledged this and said the hiring was a gamble that has paid off. Moreira has taken over the bar and lounge management of the club from volunteers, which allows for extended operations, and is at the rink during business hours.

That, Little said, has led to the club doubling or even tripling some of its revenue sources.

“Having someone there during business hours all the time instead of having the door locked, unless we’re in there curling, it’s just been monumental.”

The club meanwhile continues to fundraise for its ice plant, which it needs to repair by October in order to have a fall season.

Little said the initial estimate of $422,000 has been brought down to $300,000 after the club was advised it could overhaul one part rather than replace it entirely.

The plant requires a new condenser, which alone costs $200,000, as well as a new compressor and brine pump.

To date the club has only been able to raise $44,000. Little said the club has applied for two large grants, but they won’t hear back on whether or not the applications were successful until at least September. They are also focusing on business and individual donations, with plans to erect a wall honouring donors at the club.

The rink’s building at 302 Cedar St. is owned by the City of Nelson. The club’s lease with the city, which requires the club be responsible for all costs associated with curling, expired in 2014 and has not been renewed since.

The city has not yet announced if it will offer financial assistance for the ice plant.

READ MORE: No curling in the fall if Nelson club can’t make costly ice plant repairs

@tyler_harper |
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Tyler Harper

About the Author: Tyler Harper

I’m editor-reporter at the Nelson Star, where I’ve worked since 2015.
Read more