ESTEVAN — It’s going to be a very busy year for the Estevan Curling Club, and it’s going to start with a high-profile event.
The CurlSask master’s men’s and women’s provincial championships will happen at the Power Dodge Curling Centre from Oct. 20-23. Top teams ages 60 and up from throughout Saskatchewan will be converging on Estevan for the tournament.
Ten men’s teams and eight women’s teams are expected to compete. Lawrence Hansen has a team entered out of the Estevan Curling Club. Also on his team are Bill Kapiczowski, Gary Cheney and Ron Rittaler.
Mark Walter of Lampman is also slated to compete. Brad Heidt, Jim Wilson and Eugene Hritzik are among the other notable curlers entered from elsewhere in the province.
The provincial masters’ championship was scheduled to occur in March 2020, and the tournament was in the midst of its first day when the event was dashed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Then Estevan was supposed to host provincials in March, but the games had to be pushed back to the fall.
League play will begin Oct. 24. The Co-op kids’ program will be on Sundays. Monday-Wednesday afternoons will be an open drop-in league from 1-3 p.m.
Tuesday evenings will be busy with their youth program, their competitive league and their doubles league. Wednesday evenings will be the recreational league and Thursday nights will be the open league.
“It’s pretty tough when it’s this nice out to get people thinking about curling. But it’s starting to come. People are starting to phone. I started making a few call-outs. We did city-wide registration with the city and signed quite a few youths. People have been phoning.”
If individuals want to register, they can reach Ziehl Grimsrud at the curling rink.
The club ran into challenges with ice installation due to the warm conditions, but it has come along well. They flooded the ice one last time on Oct. 5 and then focused on scraping and pebbling. Logos and lines have been painted, and the circles for the kids leagues have been added. Scoreboard signage is finished.
They hoped to be finished making ice by Oct. 7.
Hansen is back as the head ice maker for a third year. Kristen Carlson and Devon Fornwald have taken an ice-making course, so the club has three people who are well trained. Others know the process and have helped out in the past.
“There will be a little throwing on the ice before masters, but we have really limited who we’re going to allow on,” said Ziehl Grimsrud.
The other big event happening for curling fans in Estevan will be the 2023 Viterra Scotties provincial women’s curling championship from Jan. 25-29, and SaskTel Tankard provincial men’s curling tournament from Feb. 1-5. Both will be happening at Affinity Place.
“We’re going to start building ice on the 21st of January,” said Ziehl Grimsrud. “The events will be done on the 25th and we will be concluding on the 5th of February and then moving back into our rink at that time, so it’s going to be a busy time.”
The Scotties-Tankard was supposed to happen in Estevan in 2021, but had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.
Among the other events happening this season will be the CurlSask Prairie Land Curling Camp on Dec. 3, a CurlSask U15 and U18 bonspiel Dec. 16-17, and the Southern Plains youth bonspiel Jan. 7-8.
The curling club will be host site Jan. 13 and 14, 2023, for Team South East’s qualifier for the Saskatchewan Winter Games in boys’ and girls’ four-person curling. That event was also supposed to happen last year.
The club is also looking to have an invitational doubles event for the South East Cornerstone Public School Division, with open doubles for Grades 6-9 and mixed doubles for Grades 10-12. A date has yet to be finalized.
The Slide into Spring fun bonspiel will be March 4-5, and the season will conclude with the Estevan Oilfield Technical Society’s Open Bonspiel at the end of March.
There will also be Friday drop-in curling once a month.
“We’ve got a lot on the go. We’ve got a lot of little extra things that are happening,” said Ziehl Grimsrud.