The Estevan Curling Club is looking forward to the start of curling season later this month.
Ice installation is well underway at the Power Dodge Curling Centre. Some renovation projects that have been taking place at the club are wrapping up. And people are signing up for the leagues for this season.
Club manager Pauline Ziehl Grimsrud said the ice installation is about 80-85 per cent complete, and they hope to have people on the ice for drop-in practice sessions next week.
“We’ll start letting our membership in to do some throwing and breaking the ice in, get the green out before leagues start,” said Ziehl Grimsrud.
The seasons are expected to begin Oct. 26.
“When the plant got up and going, our water came and we’re putting floods down. When we decided on the day we were going to put ice in, we got a volunteer group with a head person … and they are installing the ice,” said Ziehl Grimsrud.
Lawrence Hanson is serving as the volunteer head ice-maker this year, and additional people with expertise in ice-making are helping out. A couple of people will head to Moose Jaw at the end of the month to take a Level 1 ice-making course.
There won’t be a paid, full-time ice-maker like in the past.
The curling club will have afternoon leagues on Mondays and Wednesdays. Youth, competitive and doubles leagues will be Tuesday evenings. Wednesdays will have a recreational league, with 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. draws. Thursdays boasts the open league, and Fridays will be drop-in curling nights once a month.
Dates for the drop-in Fridays are on the club’s website.
“If it’s popular, and people seem to want more, we’ll probably open up some more on some other Friday nights,” she said.
A youth program is offered on Sundays.
Numbers for their leagues are in good shape, she said, with many people already registered.
“Our youth program on Sundays, the Grade 3 to Grade 5, has a lot of children in it. We do have room for the Kindergarten to Grade 2 group.”
There will be some changes for the upcoming season. Only one curler can sweep a rock at a time. And people will have to stand at designated spots on the ice.
As for renovations, the lounge has new lighting, which was needed, since the old lighting dated back to when the building opened in the 1970s.
“We put some energy efficient lighting in, so that was nice to get that done. The viewing glass upstairs will be replaced with seamless glass,” said Ziehl Grimsrud.
In the downstairs lobby and viewing area, new windows are being installed. Previously the curling rink had four-foot panels, with a wide gap between them. It’s another piece of the curling club that dated back to the 1970s.
“With the new ones we have coming in, it will be virtually seamless. There will be just a tiny bit of a seam. We’re really excited. It will be great for viewing.”
Replacing the seats in the lobby, which started last season, will be finished after the windows are installed. Carpeting is waiting to be installed.
Also, a new ice-maker’s building is being constructed at the southeast corner. A door will connect it to the ice arena near sheet 6. The new room will accommodate ice-making equipment and rocks when people aren’t curling. Water tanks will be moved in there during the season.
The big event for the club this year is still slated to be the CurlSask SaskPower Scotties Tournament of Hearts women’s provincial championship, and the SaskTel Tankard provincial men’s event that will be run consecutively in late January and early February. Those events are still scheduled to go ahead despite the pandemic.