Another season of curling is underway at the Ponoka Curling Club.
League play began this week with the club increasing the number of registered teams for the third straight season.
Club president Bruce Clarke explained the upcoming season is looking good.
“We are up four teams across the board this season with a total of 14 mens teams, eight ladies, 12 in our super league and 11 in the open division,” he said.
“We changed up the mixed team category a bit this season, calling it ‘open’, as it was sometimes difficult to find that second ‘mixed’ player — whether it was a female or a male player.”
The change means that open teams can play with a three-to-one ratio, male or female, instead of the traditional two male and two female curlers.
Clarke credits the club members for helping keep the growth going and hopes a new initiative will further increase that in the future.
“Seeing curling on television a lot more has drawn people to the game, but our board and members have really beat the bushes this year and it’s paid off with a few teams returning after not playing for a few years,” he added.
“Something else we are looking at is hopefully renewing some interest in junior curling by checking if an inter-club league would be viable.”
Clarke stated the league would involve a few of the area clubs and provide the opportunity for the junior curlers to play more games and against a variety of opposition.
Once again, Monday nights will see mens play on the ice followed by ladies’ night on Tuesdays with the open division on Thursday nights. Wednesdays are reserved for the juniors after school with the super league playing two draws that evening. As well, the open division slot will turnover in January to the ‘social night’ event — something that began last year and was successful enough to try again.
The club will kick off its bonspiels next month with the Ladies Fun-spiel on Dec. 3 with the annual Town and Country bonspiel slated for Jan. 23 to 28.
“For the second straight year, we will be running the Town and Country as a combined event, with 24 mens teams and hopefully 12 ladies teams,” Clarke said, adding that would be an increase of four ladies clubs from last year.
“Those are the numbers we want and would cap it at that. Any more and we would have to add days or draws and we really want to keep it an evening curling event. We really just want to concentrate on providing the best show and event possible and giving the teams a better experience.”
The other bonspiels the club will be hosting are the juniors on Feb. 3 and 4, the mixed set for Feb. 10 to 12 and the season-ending open event on Mar. 24 and 25.