As the end of the curling season approaches, Hay River youth curlers concede it will be hard to take a hiatus from the sport throughout the summer.
With ice going out at the end of this month, junior curling program participants came out to their annual windup on March 18 to mark the end of their season.
This year’s curling program featured the best numbers in three years, said Davida Delorey, president of the Hay River Curling Club.
There were 28 youth in the program between the ages of seven and 17, including two competitive boys’ and girls’ teams.
This year, the youth portion of the club participated in two bonspiels. There was one in Grande Prairie, Alta., in early February. Plus, the club hosted school championships that attracted 14 teams from Hay River, Fort Smith and Yellowknife.
This was Hailey Pike’s first year in curling, which she decided to join over hockey.
“I wanted to try something new,” she said. “You learn something new every day.”
There were some setbacks for curling this year. Heavy snowfall in late 2012 compromised the arena roof and fluctuations in temperature caused heavy leakage in the roof of the curling rink. It required many volunteer hours to remedy, but still part of the curling rink, specifically the end ice sheet, was out of commission for one third of the season.
With participant numbers climbing steadily over the past three years, it has allowed the club to build its teams to have a competitive edge.
Over three years ago, the after-school program had around 10-12 curlers. This year, there are between 15-17.
“All in all, it has been a great season,” said Delorey.
However, curling for the season is not yet finished.
The competitive boys’ team of four – Logan Gagnier, Nathan Scheper, Nicholas Cockney and Jaymar Marzan – will be heading to Langley and Surrey, B.C., to take part in an under-18 tournament.
The Dominion Championships are also taking place in Hay River from March 28 to 31. It will host 10 adult teams from across the North.
— Angele Cano