SUNDRE — The ice sheets will remain at the local curling club for the time being in the hopes pandemic restrictions are relaxed in the coming weeks.
“We had an executive meeting last week and have decided, after we conferred with (Health Minister Tyler) Shandro’s office and (Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre MLA Jason) Nixon’s office, that we would give them until Feb. 12,” said Kris Burkholder, president, during a Jan. 27 phone interview.
“If protocols have not been relaxed for indoor sports at that point, then we will take the ice out and we’ll shut down."
The Olds Curling Club’s executive recently decided to remove their rink’s ice since operating costs were not being offset by any incoming revenue, and because the end of the season is around the corner anyway. Carstairs, Didsbury and Innisfail clubs have also decided to end their season and take their ice out.
The local club was told the government expects to be able to provide an update about any changes to the pandemic protocols’ in the coming weeks, she said.
“We basically were given a three-week timeline, which took us to the second week in February,” she said.
“And we appreciate that if something starts up, and all of the sudden the numbers go up, then probably we’ll have to shut down.”
But for now, the club’s executive decided to hang in there.
“Should we get the go-ahead — touch wood — we would hope that we could extend our season into the end of April so we would have a little bit of February, March and April,” she said, adding the season usually ends in March.
Although uncertain as to what health regulations will be in place should restrictions ease enough to reopen the rink, Burkholder anticipates COVID-19 guidelines including physical distancing, hand sanitizing, and masks would remain in place.
Meanwhile, she said the club has a raffle underway with the draw scheduled for March 27.
“We, like everybody else, are having some issues with spending and not getting much back,” she said.
For $20 a ticket, she said participants have the chance to win a first place prize of an upright freezer from Otto’s complemented by a $500 gift card at Sundre IGA. Second place prize is a barbecue that also comes with a $500 gift card at IGA, while the third place prize is a fire pit from Clear Rush Co.
“We’ve had some great response from the sponsors,” she said. “We think those are really good prizes."
"Who can’t use a bunch of meat right now?” she added with a laugh.
Players are eager to get on the ice as soon as possible, provided the club is allowed to reopen the rink, she said.
League representatives were tasked with confirming how many teams remained interested in playing after all this time on hiatus, and she said only one full senior team folded.
“But everybody else was keen to get back, should we be able to open," she said.