CARSTAIRS - Carstairs Curling Club members had an exciting and fulfilling 2021-22 season, marking a happy return to play after two years of COVID-related delays and cancellations, says first-year president Craig Vatcher.
The club had about 120 returning members in 2021-22, down from about 160 pre-COVID.
“That was a very nice recovery,” said Vatcher, who was vice-president for three years prior to this season. “We ended up with just about full registration in seniors and juniors, and we had well-attended evening adult leagues as well throughout the year. It was great and very nice to be back at it.”
Although the last day of curling is April 14, the season officially wrapped up with finals in the adult leagues and the daytime seniors league last week.
The road back to a full season at the local rink was a long time coming, he said.
“When COVID first hit in 2020 it was mid-March so we didn’t get to wrap up our leagues and we didn’t get to do our junior bonspiel or our mixed wind-up bonspiel,” he said. “So it’s been three years because it would have been the spring of 2019 when we last hosted those bonspiels.”
As things turned out, last month was a particularly busy time at the rink, he said.
“Due to a bit late of a start to the season we had lots of events in March,” he said. “It was a very, very busy month for getting in as many events as we could before wrapping up.”
Events that month included the Elks bonspiel, the open bonspiel, the ladies bonspiel, the juniors bonspiels and the mixed wind-up.
“And we also had a one-day bonspiel on St. Patrick's Day for the seniors,” he said.
The junior bonspiel that went on March 26 had six teams in the under-12 division and eight teams in the under-15 division.
The 2021-22 season also saw a rarity in curling, with a team from Three Hills scoring an 8-ender.
“That’s a big deal. This might be the second one in club history that we can claim in one of our events,” he said.
Vatcher commended the rink and lounge staff for their efforts throughout the season.
There was a good deal of catering at the rink this year because it was not possible to run full kitchen, he noted.
“We had lots of support for our local restaurants and food providers as well as food trucks. The lounge was extremely busy,” he said.
The 2022-23 season should get underway in October, he said.