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Monday, Oct. 22, 2018
Copper Cliff Curling Club opens play October 23rd
by Randy Pascal

Some within the local curling community can be forgiven for thinking this day would never come.

On or around October 23rd, the Copper Cliff Curling Club will have playable ice, a statement that certainly wasn’t a certainty at various times this summer. It is against that backdrop that long-time icemaker Jerry Zanuttig wants nothing more than to be able to share the good news, screaming from the top of the highest mountain in the area.

“I’m hoping that people can see beyond all of the negative information that circulated during the summer,” said Zanuttig earlier this week. “We have a board of directors that is committed to finding every avenue possible to be able to continue going with this place until we can no longer make a go of it.”

“That being said, we need our membership. If the negativity and the uncertainty of the season affects people’s idea about whether to come back or not, we cannot control that. I just want to make sure that everybody knows that we don’t want them to go away, that we need them at the club.”

In much the same manner as the debates around school closings in Greater Sudbury, the discussions involving sounding the death knell of the curling facility that has long been considered a significant part of the very fabric of the community of Copper Cliff were filled with emotion.

“When you love something as much as we do, you simply do not want it to go,” said Zanuttig. “The idea of Curl Sudbury and making sure we have one strong club is good in a way, because everyone is going for the same goal. But at the same time, we would need more room for people. Closing this place would remove a lot of curling opportunities for people.”

The impact would be most noticeable in the realm of the traditional bonspiels that exist as part of the curling calendar. Tom Leonard, manager of the Sudbury Curling Club, has noted that when it comes to the weekend ice bookings, his calendar is already pretty much filled, right through to the end of the 2018-2019 season.

Kevin Bushey, one of the holdovers from the previous board which stepped down this past summer.

“There was an exhausted board, obviously,” he said. “It’s not an easy thing to do. You have a family, perhaps two or three kids, a full-time job. Trying to manage and run a curling club, on top of that, is hard. I’m not knocking the old board – I was part of it.”

“We did a lot to try and generate income for this place. But as a curling club, we’re moving forward with our ideas, rather than focus on what’s happened in the past.”

The good folks over at the Coniston Curling Club can easily commiserate with their west end allies. Thankfully, the burden of far less debt and a volunteer approach to club management has allowed the four-sheet facility to survive, with club mainstay Melanie Patry noting a new addition to the schedule this fall.

Coniston will play host to an Open Bonspiel on the weekend of November 3rd to the 5th, with entry set at $240/team. The event will feature both competitive and recreational divisions, providing a guarantee of three games, with “Pizza Night” on Friday and a dinner being served Saturday.

Registration deadline is set for October 27th, with the club opening for play for the first time this season exactly one week earlier. For more information, email Patry directly at, or visit the club website at

Meanwhile, within the Ontario women’s curling scene, the Julie Tippin rink from Woodstock is currently holding the hot hand, a fact that both northern powerhouses can attest to following their weekend at the Stu Sells Bonspiel in Toronto.

Tracy Fleury, Crystal Webster, Jenna Walsh and Amanda Gates posted a 3-1 record in round robin play, dropping a 6-5 decision in extra ends to Tippin and company, while mixing in victories over Hailey Armstrong (9-7), Eve Belisle (6-4) and Mary-Anne Arsenault (4-3). The Idylwylde Curling Club representatives would qualify for the quarter-finals, but were sent home by Chrissy Cadorin’s foursome, who scored three in the first and cruised to a 5-3 win.

Meanwhile, Kendra Lilly and Krista McCarville and mates matched the Fleury record at 3-1, with wins over Hollie Duncan (5-1), Jestyn Murphy (7-3) and Robyn MacPhee (9-7), before losing 6-4 to Sherry Middaugh. Team McCarville survived their quarter-final, outscoring Jacqueline Harrison 7-5, but were then beaten 6-5 by Tippin in the semi-finals, also in an extra end.

In the end, Tippin would get the better of Cadorin in the final, recording a steal of two in the eighth end to seal the victory. With Thanksgiving behind us, several local teams are in action this weekend, including Chris Glibota, Dustin Montpellier, Eric Gelinas and Matt Gordon at the Stroud Sleeman Cash Spiel (Tanner Horgan rink is also there), while Megan Smith, Kira Brunton, Sara Guy and Kate Sherry compete in the Brampton U21 Junior Cash Spiel.

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