Curling clubs in Alexandria and Alexandria are working towards the launch of their respective 2020-21 seasons as soon as possible, with both currently registering members new and returning.
The Alexandria Curling Club is aiming for a November 9 season start, with a number of adjustments. There will be no gender-based leagues, at least for now, and the industrial league won’t play this year. As well, a raft of COVID-19 health and safety protocols are in place, details of which can be viewed via this link.
Maxville’s Glengarry Curling Club previously announced that it would not be open this fall, setting early January for a potential season start.
The Lancaster Curling Club had hoped to open in October, providing that sufficient members registered. That target was not met, so the club’s executive has deferred opening until January, seeking to boost its membership numbers by then. See this earlier story for more details.
Local curling clubs are working towards reopening this fall or winter in a challenging environment due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Lancaster and District Curling Club set a goal of 80 full-time paid members registered by October 15. Club president James Doonan made the announcement to members via e-mail, with a post added to the LDCC Facebook page.
“The Board of the Lancaster District Curling Club has decided on a path forward for this season; our decision was made after reviewing the [member] survey results, the recommendations of the COVID committee, recommendations from the various curling associations at the federal and provincial level, and, finally, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit.”
The number of 80 full memberships was determined to offset start-up, ice installation, and operational costs at the club.
Should things get underway, a number of strict rules will be enacted to govern usage of the facility and game play.
Masks will be required in all common areas such as the bar, washrooms, entry. Masks will not be mandatory on the ice once play has started but are encouraged throughout.
The bar will be limited to 1 or 2 post-game drinks. Players must leave before the following game finishes as only two teams will be allowed upstairs at any one time. Masks are not required while drinking/eating.
All equipment must be sanitized when you arrive at the club.
Only players scheduled for a game on any given evening will be allowed in the club and only during the time approximately 15 minutes before the game.
Every player will be required to sign in when they play and be subject to this information being shared with government authorities should they have to perform a contact trace exercise.
We will no longer store equipment at the club. Brooms, shoes, slider/grippers, stabilizers, sticks will need to be taken home. The club is working on a plan to have low-cost purchase or rental units available for sticks and stabilizers.
The Timbits and Junior programs run on the weekends will be suspended until further notice.
The survey includes questions about what would encourage you to return to curling this year and what protocols should be in place to mitigate risks associated with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Club executive intend to use the feedback to facilitate their planning. Further to that, the club’s annual general meeting is scheduled for Sunday, September 13, with limited in-person seating available (by prior arrangement with president Duncan Ferguson). The meeting will also be available for online participation.
North Glengarry’s Marshall MacPherson completed his university curling career in early March, capping off his time at the University of Western Ontario by being recognized with the MVP award for curling at the school’s athletics banquet, which this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was held remotely.
He tells me that the 2019-20 season was a year of transition for the Western curling program. The previous campaign saw the club claim bronze at the OUA Championships, going on to “have a strong showing at the nationals in Fredericton.” Following that year, the skip and third graduated, opening the door for MacPherson’s leadership.
The longtime curler out of the Alexandria Curling Club and graduate of Glengarry District High School stepped in the skip role, whilst throwing third stones.
“Thankfully, the entire curling season was able to be played before the COVID shutdown,” he notes. “We had a few tune-up events in St. Catharine’s and Waterloo, where we had very strong showings. We also had the incredible opportunity to play an exhibition game on arena ice at the Continental Cup (hosted in London this year) side-by-side with the stars of the sport and in front of a crowd of over 1,000.”
The provincial championships (OUA) were held in Guelph, where the Mustangs started 1-4.
“We won our last two games to end the round-robin at 3-4, but we just missed out on the playoffs,” MacPherson recalls.
He admits to me that he and his teammates were disappointed to miss the OUA playoffs and the opportunity to “make a run to qualify at nationals.” On the season as a whole, though, MacPherson says, “We were pretty happy with the successes we were able to create as a first-year team. I’m quite happy with where we left things.”
He graduated recently and believes “the rest of the team is in a really good spot moving forward (providing the season isn’t also cancelled for the upcoming year).”
At the end of the year he was named Male Curling MVP by the Western Mustangs program.
On the academic front, he completed his dental school studies in June.
On his university curling career he reflects, “Stepping up to skip and being amongst other provincial, national, and world champions was really exciting, and I’m really glad I got to finish off my varsity career as skip.”
MacPherson adds, “I’m really thankful for my teammates, coach, and the entire faculty at the dental school who were all very understanding with my commitment to both finishing up a very busy program all the while leading the curling team. Despite the end of my university days coming to a very abrupt halt, I’m very satisfied with what I’ve been able to accomplish in my years at Western.”
The Alexandria Curling Club is the 2019-20 senior men’s inter-club champion, with its rinks clinching the trophy at the March 10 finale hosted by the Vankleek Hill Curling Club.
Morning games saw Lancaster collect 10 points by defeating Vankleek Hill, while Alexandria had winds in their wings defeating Maxville to also pick up 10 points.
The leading contenders, Alexandria and Lancaster, were separated by only six points heading in to the final action.
In the second set of matches at noon, Alexandria was off and running form the first end, which saw the men score five, en route to winning over a team from the host club to collect 10 points in the standings. The other game featuring Maxville and Lancaster seesawed back-and-forth, before Maxville eventually triumphed to snag the valuable 10 points.
Both Alexandria and Lancaster finished with 62 total points, followed by Maxville with 56, and Vankleek Hill with 44. By rule, in order to claim the trophy from the holder the previous year, a club must finish with more points, in other words winning outright. In this case, Lancaster would have needed to end the campaign ahead of Alexandria. As the clubs finished in a tie, the prestigious plaque remains with the previous holder, Alexandria.
The senior men’s inter-club competition is a season-long event, with bonspiels held in each of the local clubs: Lancaster, Glengarry (Maxville), Alexandria, and Vankleek Hill.
Event convenor Claude Cuerrier extends his congratulations to the curlers from the Alexandria Curling Club. Team One was Bob Hayes, Dan Sloan, Denis Barsola, and Pius Schlauri. Team Two included Ian Fraser, Jaques Pilon, Lance Laviolette, and Raffaele Magliocco.
Cuerrier adds his thanks to all curlers representing the four clubs for ” a tremendous effort for this season. See you all, God willing, next fall. Cheerio to all, and have a good summer. We shall come out victorious at the end of this coronavirus-19 period.”
The convenor also extends his appreciation to club volunteers, icemen, kitchen workers, and all personnel involved in the senior bonspiels circuit throughout Ontario and Quebec, as well as to those involved in the Parnell and McLellan bonspiels, and a special thanks to president Phillippe Rouleau and secretary Jean-Paul Boily.