Local children have been learning to curl through an annual program at the Power Dodge Curling Centre.
Co-op Kids Curling is held every Sunday. Seven children from kindergarten to Grade 2 are on the ice at 1 p.m., and 19 youths from Grades 2-5 are on the ice at 2 p.m. The first week was Nov. 1, and it will continue until Dec. 13.
Tyler McMillen, who is the instructor for Co-op Kids Curling, said it’s a program that has increased in popularity over the past couple of years.
“We range from beginners – the ones who are coming out to try it for the first time – right to some who have done it for four years,” said McMillen.
The Grade 5s will move up to the youth program and curl on Tuesdays once the season for Co-op Kids Curling is finished, and McMillen hopes they will continue to progress in the game from there.
The older kids are starting to come around, too.
“Their delivery and their mechanics are all there. They do a remarkable job. They’re a good bunch of kids,” said McMillen.
McMillen believes the kids pick up on the fundamentals of the sport and they seem to learn much quicker than adults. They get to play using a lighter rock than regulation size, which helps them learn the mechanics, the turns and the grips.
“They learn a new sport. They learn sportsmanship and teamwork and it’s just a different game. Some of them want to come out and be part of a little group, and we’re seeing it now where we’ve had ones move to the youth league on Tuesdays, and they’ve played together for a long time.
“And we like that as older coaches and all that kind of stuff when we have our high school playdowns. The longer they can play together and learn each other’s habits, the better.”
McMillen’s daughter started playing when she was six, and has been in the sport for the past five years now. He didn’t take up curling until he was 12 years old, so he’s pleased to see kids in the sport as early as possible.