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Kerrobert Curling Club hopes rich history translates into renewed interest

Many success stories have been a part of Kerrobert Curling Club's past and hopes are to continue to build these success stories into the future.

KERROBERT - Did you know the very first curling and skating rink in Kerrobert, once located at the corner of Manitoba Avenue and Usher Street was built in the 1930s.  Tragically, a fire destroyed the building in November of 1946. 

Seventy-five years ago, the decision was made to purchase an airplane hanger and the rest, they say, is history.

Fast forward to today and the Kerrobert Curling Club continues to operate, although not in the glory days it used to.

Kerrobert Curling Club became well known nationally in the 1980s and ‘90s when the men’s Team Saskatchewan competing at the Brier would hail from Kerrobert.

The club is home to famed Saskatchewan curler, Brad Heidt, who captured his first provincial championship 40 years ago, in 1982. Although that year’s trip to the Brier didn’t have the results the team, or the community, had hoped for, Heidt returned to the Brier again in 1995 and won his way straight to the final, where he lost to a young Kerri Burtnyk, representing Manitoba. Heidt played Burtnyk in the 1 vs 2 page playoff game, winning by one point, advancing him to the Brier final. Team Heidt included Mark Dacey, Wayne Charteris, Dan Ormsby and Bryan Derbowka.

Heidt’s storied curling history has been ongoing as he continues to compete and win other Team Saskatchewan titles in mixed, seniors’ and masters’ divisions.

His sons also have several championships to their names, including some banners hanging in the Kerrobert arena, as well as earning curling tour successes.

The curling arena in Kerrobert was operated with natural ice until 1961 at which time four sheets of artificial ice were installed. 

The club has held some significant events including senior ladies’ championships in 1990. 

The fall of 1992, curling arena renovations took place to better accommodate curlers and included change rooms, enlarged waiting room and remodelling of both the kitchen and bathroom areas, as well as upgraded lighting system on the ice surface that included LEDs and new scoreboards.

A major ice surface upgrade was completed in 1997, removing the old brine lines, excavating underneath, and installing weeping tile, sand and new brine lines to level the ice surface.

The facility offers upper and lower viewing area for spectators.

The club is run entirely by volunteers as well as two paid ice technicians. Recreation Director Bobbi Hebron helps with ice rentals and the bar, but says her involvement is minimal thanks to the strong core on the curling club executive.

John and Darlene Gilles continue their skills in icemaking for the club and while no one can attest to how long they have been doing the task, it is becoming more well known that they have indicated this will be their last year doing so. Residents say, “the duo have contributed a crazy amount of volunteer time into the curling facility.”

Major flooding in the spring of 2022 on the ice surface created a massive amount of work for the club this fall.

A celebration of the arena’s 75th anniversary in 2022 will take place in December to include both the hockey and curling side.

Brennan Murphy, club executive member says “I want to add that the Kerrobert Curling Club has an outstanding volunteer committee. They put in ice, manage maintenance issues, complete major projects, manage the bar, manage their own funds and all their own programming. They are a unique group of people still operating under the old idea of ‘if we want it to happen, we will do the work and we will raise the funds.’

“They ask for little to no help but are great to work with when we work together. It has been an honour to work with this hard-working crew and amazing to see, every year the time they put in and the projects they complete.

“The facility is a result of 75 years of an incredible spirit of volunteerism from the curling community and it has brought forth many years of great curlers and entertainment to the west central area.”

Both the community of Kerrobert and the Kerrobert Curling Club are hoping to reignite a love of curling and recruit new curling club members, using the anniversary celebrations as another way to grow the sport of curling in town. The hopes remain that there are more great stories to create and to tell in the next 75 years from Kerrobert curling arena.