Curling numbers looking strong in Colchester
Ben Hennigar watches his shot, being swept by Alex McDonah Monday at Truro Curling Club. While several clubs across the province are experiencing decline, the Truro and Brookfield clubs are holding strong. Matt Veno - Truro Daily News
TRURO - Curling is alive and well in Colchester County.
Membership numbers have been skyrocketing at Brookfield Curling Club and have been holding steady in Truro at a time when many other clubs across the province are watching their numbers dwindle.
Curling at both clubs kicks off this week.
"We're really pleased," Truro club president Peter Neily said. "For the last few years we've been pretty stable and have maintained a good membership level."
That figure has been hovering around the 400-member range and Neily attributes it to the club's location, saying its central placement allows it to be easily accessible to a large population in Truro and its surrounding communities.
Neily said he also believes the availability of leagues to join also helps keep people playing the sport. The club hosts several daytime and evening leagues through the week for members, ranging from junior to senior, as well as others on Friday and Sunday evenings.
"We offer a variety of things that allow people to fit to their schedules," Neily said. "We've really worked to give everyone the opportunity to play. You can play day or night, one night or every night."
The club also underwent a $250,000 facelift, which was completed in 2011, including a new roof and ceiling, ice plant, energy efficient lights, fresh paint throughout, renovated bathrooms, sound system and more. Neily said curlers are enjoying the benefits of the improvements.
"It's definitely keeping the enthusiasm of the membership up," he said.
Meanwhile in Brookfield, the club is seeing a resurgence in numbers after its operation was taken over from the Don Henderson Memorial Sportsplex by an executive committee in 2010.
The club saw a 75 per cent increase in membership last year and is expecting a 25 per cent hike this season to more than 150 members from the junior to senior ranks.
"We're very hopeful it will be a good year for us," club president Bob Miller said. "We're confident people who come to the club will be happy with their decision."
It wasn't always that way. Membership had been declining for several years and no improvements had been made to the club under the Sportsplex watch.
"We felt with an elected board we would be able to do a better job managing the affairs of the club," Miller said. "We wanted the fate of the club to be decided by its members and I think the results have been very encouraging."
The club is holding an open house in the evenings all week with league play starting Friday. Leagues will run Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings as well as Wednesday mornings. Wednesday evenings will feature a learn-to-curl program for those looking for an introduction to the game or simply to hone their skills.
"There's something going on all the time," Miller said.