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Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018
Curling club seasons drawing to a close
by Randy Pascal

A quick glance outside might suggest otherwise, but the end of the club curling season is nearly upon us. Touching base with a handful of the local venues, however, made it crystal clear that the folks that are heavily involved are pretty much ready to come up for a breather.

Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than at the Copper Cliff Curling Club, the group that seemed to be clinging to life support at one point last summer. What a difference a year makes. “Everybody came together, all of the members in all of the leagues just rallied together,” noted Club president Sandra Lahti, taking a brief break from the packed house on hand last weekend for the T.D. Leclair Post Bonspiel.

“We volunteered on so many different levels. It was everybody pitching in to cut down on expenses, and it made a world of difference. Financially, we are standing very solid for getting through the summer, but we also have some irons in the fire for the summer.” In the end, Lahti stressed that the efforts made during the 2017-2018 season are now allowing her and her board to guarantee that Copper Cliff will be running in 2018-2019.

A heavy overhaul of the Club board made for a key stretch of knowledge gathering for those who had not previously been involved, to this extent, with the group. “We've learned that we have to continue to change ourselves, to evolve,” said Lahti. “We've got a lot of new faces in the building this year. The Olympics really helped us, because there was such a keen focus on curling. We just piggy-backed on that media frenzy for curling.”

More than 170 members made for a very interesting and busy winter of curling action for the folks at the Coniston Curling Club. When the dust settled, the rink of Denis Prevost, Richard Gosselin, Andy Colussi, Rick Gagnon and Mark Olivier prevailed in the 25-team Open league, while Mixed league “A” division bragging rights went to the foursome of Melanie Patry, Jeff Currie, Pierre Patry and Pam Patry.

The Coniston crew also successfully added a few new wrinkles into their lineup over the course of the past seven months, including launching an Open bonspiel in November, welcoming former Falconbridge Curling Club members to the fold with a Tuesday afternoon drop-in league, and adding a Little Rocks program that included no less than 18 children under the age of nine.

Finally, we would be remiss if we were not to send out sincere congratulations to the rink of Melanie Patry, Christine Dubuc, Nicole Dubuc-Charbonneau and Bryna Patman which represented Coniston with pride at the Travelers Curling Club Championships in Kingston last November.

Change has been the only constant at Curl Sudbury this winter, formerly the Sudbury Curling Club. While the re-branding of the group may have comprised the biggest news, there have been challengers, including recent word out of the 60+ year old Saturday Industrial Curling League. For the first time since its inception at about the same time the colour television was first making an appearance, the Industrial League will welcome women to the mix in 2018-2019.

“It wasn't contentious at all,” noted outgoing president George Lalonde, stepping away momentarily from the year-end bonspiel last weekend. “We had announced it to our membership a couple of months before the meeting, and when it did come up for a vote, it was basically unanimous. People realized that it was inevitable, it was just a question of when it was going to happen.”

For several decades, the Saturday Howey Drive tradition featured a full slate of sixty teams, most often with a waiting list of interested entries. Dropping from 36 to 32 in recent years, and bottoming at 28 this winter, the league is adament it wants to reverse the trend. “It's something we have talked a lot about as an executive, how are we going to get this back moving the other way,” noted incoming president Marc Pilon.

“Even 36 teams is a nice number,” explained Lalonde. “It gives us three full draws. It's more manageable to make a closing bonspiel with 36 teams. I don't expect a huge influx of teams, just because we are opening it up for women.”

Recently crowned champions at Curl Sudbury included:

Open League – Squad – Vicky Barrett, Marg McLaughlin, Sharron Taylor, Marcia Fournier

Open League – Scramble – Brent Colliver, Brent Langille, Kei Hang Yeung, Michelle Baptista

Teachers League – Ray Joanisse, Michel Chretien, Luc Dalcourt, Daniel Dalcourt

Mixed League – Al Gilles, Nicole Gilles, Michelle Gilles, Tyler Moss

SCL Champs – Rob Gordon, Ron Henderson, Dion Dumontelle, Doug Hong

Also looking to increase their membership in 2018-2019, the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club is offering a half price special for the first year of entry for any new members. Along with access to the clubhouse, year-round, the offer also comes with the ability to book five tee-off times.

As for the action on the ice, there were plenty of recognizable names in the list of year-end winners, a grouping that featured:

Monday Pensioners: Rob McIlvena, Rod McHugh, Brian Lepage, Gary Barr

Ladies – Super League: Karen Jocko, Beth Tkachuk, Cara Soehner, Charmaine Gazdic-Querney

Nott Family Trophy: Cathy Anzil, Ginette Lefebvre, Joanne Ross, Rachelle Paradis

Ladies Club Championship: Cathy Anzil, Bonnie Burton, Cathy Jakelski, Rachelle Paradis

BMO Trophy: Fiona Wray, Giselle Wennerstrom, Mary Yackman, Louise Sheridan

The All-Sorts League would feature more drama than most, with no less than four separate teams finishing the season tied for first place, all with 14 victories to their credit. A team shootout was used to determine the winner, as the Laurentian University men's curling team (Tanner Horgan, Maxime Blais, Mark Robinson, Derek Leung, Mark D'Arcangelo, Mike Masters) prevailed in the end with a score of just 120 centimetres.

Men's Monday vs Thursday: Bruce Munro, Duncan Bell, Keith Furevick, Joe Greco

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