For a first step in a game that has seen faltering participation over the last several years, it was an unqualified success.
The Ponoka Curling Club hosted its first ever Social Night event Wednesday, Jan. 27, and saw 14 individuals show up with more than half of them being new to the sport.
Club executive member Sean Brake came up with the idea and organized it as a way to promote the game and the club, while also filling up a weekday evening at the rink for the second half of the season following the conclusion of the Super League in December.
“It was good to see that many people for our first time running this,” he said.
“It was great to see people come out and give the sport a whirl. The hope is this is just the beginning.”
Social Night will take place again tonight, Wednesday, Feb. 3 starting at 7 p.m. and will run for another four weeks afterwards. There is a cost – $10 per person – but brooms and sliders are provided if any participant needs them.
Brake is hopeful there will be more curlers and non-curlers of all ages to join them.
“Our hope is to build it up over the six weeks of running it and maybe it will bring these people out next year, maybe just for fun again or it might spark them to join a league,” he stated.
And if the enthusiasm of the new people that showed up is any indication, the game may just grow some in Ponoka.
One couple that came out are not only new residents of Ponoka, but new to Canada, and they really took a shine to the grand old game.
Marta Fernandez and David Diaz arrived in Ponoka just three months ago from Spain and were intrigued by the prospect of learning a new sport after seeing an ad in the Ponoka News about the event, even if they didn’t quite know what the sport was.
“This is our first time ever trying curling,” Fernandez said carefully as the pair are still learning English.
“I like it because it’s fun, different. Though I don’t know still why they brush.”
Diaz added curling isn’t like any of the other sports they are used to from Spain, which he said only has maybe a couple of sheets of ice in the whole country.
“It’s not really common as here. Also, I thought it was going to be harder than it is,” he stated.
While the night is about fun, it’s also a nod to Curling Canada’s attempt over the past couple of years to capitalize on the huge success of their major events and the large television audience across the country to grow the number of participants through the grassroots at the club level.
For more information, contact person is Brake at 403-963-4135.