TRURO, N.S. – Friendliness and enthusiasm stood out during a recent visit to the Truro Curling Club. Adding to the visit were impressive eye openers, learning about ongoing curling programs and hearing about imaginative new ideas.
“We’d like people in the area to realize there is something here for everyone,” curling club manager Chuck Patriquin, said. “Our curling starts with the little rock program. These young curlers are eight to 12 and curl on Fridays. Our junior program takes in 12 year olds up to college students, they’re on the ice four or five times a week.
“We have adult curling five nights a week, this is for all ages. We offer everything from fun curling and recreational curling right up to the teams that are trying to go to a national championship.”
Stick curling entered the conversation. It is a familiar subject with many followers of the sport.
“Stick curling is for curlers who cannot get into the traditional delivery anymore,” said Patriquin, 46, of Onslow Mountain. “It keeps many, many curlers in the game. We presently have 20 to 30 people participating at the club who wouldn’t be curling at all.”
Patriquin, a 35-year Truro Curling Club member, now in his second year as manager, explained that the past year saw a major expansion take place downstairs at the club.
“The club was made wheelchair accessible. Troy Peck became our first wheelchair curler; he curls every Thursday afternoon in the stick league. By taking steps to make things more accessible, we’ve opened the door to give more people the opportunity to try the game of curling. I’m hoping we can draw wheelchair curlers from places like
Shubenacadie, Oxford and other points. I like the idea of seeing people in wheelchairs having the opportunity to participate in an athletic endeavor.”
Peck said he has been interested in curling for some time.
“When I learned that the Truro Curling Club was wheelchair accessible I decided to have a look,” Peck, 47, of Truro, said. “I’ve been curling for a couple months now, it’s been a lot of fun. I’m enjoying the exercise and I’ve enjoyed meeting a lot of new people. I’ve always wanted to get to curl with my father (Neil Peck), so we’ve had a great time curling together. Stick curling teams are made up of two curlers so we both get to skip.”
Developing cancer at a young age, Peck has been in a wheelchair since age 11.
“We usually have enough curlers for four games every Thursday, we play two four-end games. It makes you feel pretty good when you make a good shot. I admit, I’m not very good yet but the social part has been a real enjoyment. Hopefully, my skill level will come along.”
Ted Lohnes, who has been a longtime outstanding curler, runs stick curling.
“Stick curling is one of the greatest things to happen to curling in recent years,” Lohnes said. “It allows us older folk to keep curling. Instead of staying at home we’re out here throwing rocks. This is the eleventh year for stick curling, the game has been holding its own at the club level. We have 10 stick curling teams, most of us are retired and are here on Mondays and Thursdays.”
Lohnes, a 47-year member of the local curling club, spoke highly of now having a wheelchair ramp leading to the ice surface.
“And, we’re very happy to have a wheelchair curler, this is a great step for the club. Actually, it’s phenomenal – seeing a wheelchair curler like Troy out there throwing rocks and taking part, it’s really a wonderful thing.”
Stick curling began in Nova Scotia in 2008, checking out some of the championship banners on display at the club, I learned that the Truro Curling Club has produced eight provincial champions during that time. Lohnes, Ron Crowe and Bill Spinney are each three-time members of N.S. stick curling championship teams. Last year, Crowe and Spinney captured a bronze medal at nationals.
The Truro curling Club is just beginning its second-half season. Half-year memberships are available by calling the club at 902-895-1639.
Lyle Carter’s sports column appears Saturdays in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 902-673-2857.