The ice is in, or going in, at curling clubs across the Lakeland.

Play has already begun in Cold Lake and St. Paul, Bonnyville’s women’s and mixed leagues will start immediately after the club’s Annual General Meeting tonight, with other programs starting in the days to follow.

Elk Point Curling Club expects to begin play early in December. The club has just finished laying new lines and a new concrete pad in time to make ice for the upcoming season.

Glendon Curling Club will begin its season the first Friday in January and continue until March.

In addition to men’s, women’s, and mixed leagues, clubs offer junior programs, senior’s or drop-in curling, and annual bonspiels. These vary from club to club, curlers are advised to see what’s available in their respective communities.

Variants on the traditional four-players-per-side game are gaining traction. Mixed doubles curling is now an Olympic event, and sturling—another game with two players on a team, but with limited sweeping—is especially popular among older curlers.

St. Paul Curling Club is hosting the first local bonspiel of the season on Saturday November 19. The day-long tournament , a fundraiser for Haying In the ‘30s, will follow a “funspiel” format—it is participation-oriented with no prior curling experience necessary.

While curling is growing as a spectator sport, and elite programs show amazing levels of skill, the game’s roots are still as a social recreational activity. While there are fewer facilities than in the past (there used to be a rink in just about every town or village), curling still offers men and women, young and old, an opportunity to play and to socialize at their local club.

Weekend bonspiels are a fun way to play locally or visit a neighbouring town and make new friends while competing for prizes.

All Lakeland clubs are happy to welcome new and returning curlers. Reach out to the clubs in Cold Lake, Bonnyville, St. Paul, Elk Point, or Glendon if you’re looking to curl casually or in a league.

It’s a close one! A measurements adds some drama at Seniors’ drop-in curling in Cold Lake. JEFF GAYE
Play has already begun in Cold Lake, St. Paul, and Bonnyville. JEFF GAYE