One of Hay River’s own top rinks made it all the way to the Travelers Curling Club Championship in Halifax last month, finishing with three losses and three wins against teams from across Canada.
“It was great, as always,” said veteran championship curler D’Arcy Delorey, who competed to represent the NWT for the third time. “What they try to do is give everyone a chance to get to experience that level of national competition and to be treated like royalty almost.”
The rink, skipped by Paul Delorey with second Derek Bednarek, third D’Arcy Delorey, along with lead Gord Fraser, beat out teams from Fort Smith last March for the chance to compete at the annual national championship. While this wasn’t the first time the majority of the players had attended the event, none of them will be returning to this championship next year as a result of a rule change.
From next year on, teams who have competed in the Travelers the previous year will not be eligible the next year. Fraser that while he would love to return next year, he understands and appreciates the intent behind the new rule.
“They want to really support the club-level in Canada,” he said. “They want to get as many new club faces at the championship as they can.”
Delorey said he also supports the rule change.
“With the way curling has gone in our country, and I guess the whole world, there is a gap between the top players and everyone else, a lot more so than there used to be,” he said, adding that the Travelers really seems to be out to support the clubs across Canada that are not pumping out professional athletes.
Hay River’s own club is in the midst of something of a resurgence, with more players on the pebbled ice in both adult and youth categories than there have been for years. Delorey credits the corporate league playing Friday nights with getting people interested in the sport.
“We’re seeing some trickle-over from the Friday-night league to the open league on Tuesday nights,” he said. “So that’s really great.”
He also noted that having a record number of children registered is a hopeful sign for the future, adding that youth participation seems to be the first sign of either a growing or shrinking club.
“It’s a pretty economical sport,” he said, adding that the club has brooms to lend new players. “It’s easy to get involved and give it a try without a big commitment.”