Curling club seeks funds


Paul Bickford/NNSL photo Glenn Smith is leading the Hay River Curling Club's new fundraising initiative.

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Glenn Smith is leading the Hay River Curling Club’s new fundraising initiative.

The Hay River Curling Club has launched a multipronged fundraising effort.

The goal is to collect funds to create a new environment for the club as part of the proposed renovations to the Don Stewart Recreation Centre.

“We estimate we need to raise about $75,000 to complete the leasehold improvements. That’s what I’ve been calling it. I’m not sure if that’s the proper term,” said Glenn Smith, who is leading the fundraising for the club’s building development committee.

Smith said the existing space occupied by the club will largely be gutted.

“When the building is handed over to us, we will have an open space that will have the plumbing and the heating completed, it will have carpet, and it will have lighting and the ceiling tiles, and walls that are white,” he said. “So we will be responsible for taking that open area and really building our bar and other areas.”

The club will be responsible for covering many of the leasehold improvements including change rooms, lounge fixtures, new seats for the viewing area, partitions, equipment, decor, cabinetry and more.

Smith said there will be “aggressive” fundraising until August.

One part of the fundraising initiative is an Internet crowdsourcing campaign, which began early this month.

“Gofundme is a crowdfunding opportunity that we set a target of $7,000 for, just to give past and present members or businesses or friends or people who have partaken in any of our activities up in the lounge or the curling club area an opportunity to make a donation for the next legacy of the curling club,” said Smith.

As of Jan. 17, the crowdsourcing campaign had raised $2,050.

“It’s been a good start for sure,” said Smith. “We hit that amount within seven or 10 days. We will certainly need to continue to promote it in order to keep it fresh in people’s memories and at the top of their Facebook lists.”

The crowdfunding is expected to continue until the end of March.

Another element of the fundraising campaign was an 11-team cash bonspiel over the weekend.

“We consider this a semi-competitive bonspiel, which we haven’t had outside of territorial championships,” said Smith. “A competitive bonspiel hasn’t happened here in quite some time.”

Among the participants were a couple of teams from Yellowknife and from Grande Prairie/Edmonton.

Smith said proceeds from the bar would go toward the renovation fund.

“Any of the tips at our bar go specifically to the building fund,” added Smith, noting that aspect of the fundraising began at the end of October.

The club also took the opportunity of the bonspiel to launch a Chase the Ace fundraiser.

Chase the Ace is a lottery-style game where participants pitch into a pot for a chance to draw a card from a deck each week.

Each week, half of the money from tickets sold goes to the fundraising organization, 20 per cent to the weekly winner, and 30 per cent to the jackpot which accumulates with each week and eventually goes to whoever eventually draws the ace of spades.

There will also be a golf event in the summer, a raffle, and a live entertainment event in the spring.

Plus, he said there will be opportunities for in-kind donations from contractors when renovations start.

“It’s like any time when you get a new facility, a new building, it’s a bit exciting because you get to modernize it and that will probably equate to people being happier and liking the space,” said Smith. “And we can fine tune it a little bit based on what we learned and changes to our game. So there definitely will be improvements over the space that we have.”

In addition, he hopes the improvements will help to promote curling, which he said has been growing in popularity in Hay River over the past five years.

“Our membership has gone up. We’re profitable,” he said. “We hope we can build on that with the new facility.”

–Paul Bickford