Prince Rupert Curling Club hosted the Ugly Christmas Sweater Sturling Speil on Dec. 4.
Since the pandemic halted play, the first competition in two years saw ten teams of two face off for the winners crown at the 2021 champions.
Four teams won their events. Events A through D saw Al Green and Michele Gavin, Florian Peloquin and Pierre LaFrance, Travis Bernhardt and Crystal Bernhardt as well as Natasha Lebedick and Brad Hylkema walk off the ice as winners.
The tournament played with modified rules to allow for an inclusive array of different levels and curlers. Teams threw six curling rocks at both ends of the ice. Players also had the option to play stick delivery or regular with their hands.
“I’m super happy to be back,” Natasha Lebedic, curling club board member, said. “I love curling. I’m kind of addicted to it.”
“It’s very exciting to be able to play again, period — no matter what. It’s nice to socialize our winter friends as my “skip” used to call us all,” Florian Peloquin, winner of event B, said.
Peloquin looks forward to travelling to curling events outside Prince Rupert, such as a January tournament hosted in Terrace. As well other curlers will come in from out of town taking part in the club’s next home tournament in February.
For Lebedic, the return to the ice feels like a double comeback after the curling rink was closed for a year due to maintenance upgrades. Then the pandemic closures forced the club to remain closed for another year.
“I feel kind of proud that we made it through. We survived, and we still have curling to go back to,” Lebedic said.
“It feels fantastic,” she said. “It’s going to be a slow comeback, but it’s the comeback,” she said, adding everybody is super happy and energetic to be back on the ice.
The club’s membership is low, with about 30 current members, and is in need of a membership boost if the club is going to survive in the long-term, Peloquin said.
The curling club’s regularly-scheduled leagues restarted in November with a weekly open league on Wednesdays, and a mixed league played on Fridays.
Norman Galimski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View