NANAIMO — It may seem too early to be thinking about the local curling season, but registration is now underway.
Tuesday is the first day to sign up to participate in one of nearly 20 local leagues.
The office at the Nanaimo Curling Club is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the next two weeks as preparations begin for the first ice sessions.
Denise Wood, who is the manager of the club, says the season is close at hand.
"We always have a junior bonspiel and that goes the first Saturday in November. Our kick off spiel is our Halloween Bonspiel and that's the last weekend of October. That's an open bonspiel so you can put whatever combination (of curlers) you want on the ice. There's lots of fun with people dressing up for halloween," said Wood.
There were 765 curlers who registerd at the Nanaimo club last season, and Wood expects similar numbers this year.
Typically registration is always above 700, with a spike happening seven years ago when 820 members took to the ice.
Wood recalls that the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver had an impact in getting more people to either take up curling for the first time or return to the rink to try it again.
On top of the members who play at the league level, Wood says the NCC also hosts a school program.
"We put through about 600-700 kids every year for PE classes," said Wood. "They come from the schools and we book them in for three sessions and introduce them to the sport."
An equipment change over has set back the first ice sessions this fall with the installation of a new condenser.
The cost for the condenser, which makes the ice, is about $150,000 and will be shared between the City of Nanaimo and the curling club itself.
That means the first time that players will be able to curl will be immediately after the Thanksgiving Long Weekend - at least a full week later than usual.
Information for the coming season is online at www.nanaimocurlingclub.ca.
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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