Nugget Column – Tuesday July 11th, 2017
Twenty-four teams congregated at the North Bay Granite Club this past weekend for it’s annual summer curling tournament aptly titled the HGS Summerspiel.
Of the contingent, eighteen teams travelled to North Bay from places such as Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Ottawa, Oakville, Toronto, Whitby, a few individuals from British Colombia, and even one player from Switzerland.
Everyone showed up the rink undefeated, but only one team went home that way. The championship game between Team Cooper of Ottawa and Team Vettoretti from Sudbury was a close as it could be, tied in the last end with the big nickel curlers holding the hammer. Last rock advantage didn’t pay off this time though as Spencer Cooper, Kim Brown, John Sherar, and Stephanie McClennan stole a single point and top honours.
Winners of other divisions included Team Brown in the “B” Division, Team Bonot in the “C” Division, and Team Leonard in the “D” Division.
Participants were especially complimentary of the ice conditions created by Bruno Bin, his family, and volunteers during such a challenging time of year. The surface was as quick as regular season and there was a sufficient amount of curl working both ways. Such craftsmanship allowed for plenty of quality shot-making throughout the event and many competitive and entertaining matches.
As usual, participants were treated to more than just curling with live entertainment keeping folks out well past their bed time and food provided throughout their stay.
Organizers say they like to think of Summerspiel as an annual curling family reunion. Due to the nature of the sport there are a lot of friends and acquaintances that don’t come together as naturally during the spring and summer months so participants appreciate the opportunity to re-unite over their favourite activity, while also partaking in several off-ice activities, the sharing of cold beverages, and making of new memories.
Plans are already in the works for the 2018 HGS Summerspiel where the theme will be “Tight and Bright”. The Granite Club looks forward to continuing this summer tradition but admits that budgeting is a challenge with nearly $9,000 in expenses associated with utilities and installation of the ice for the weekend.
The rising cost of utilities for curling clubs is a hot topic this week as the Copper Cliff Curling Club in Greater Sudbury announced Monday that it would likely not be opening its doors this coming season.
In an interview with CBC, club officials say they have seen their hydro rates increase 20% over the past three years, forking out $40,000 for electricity last season, and that’s with having made investments to lower their usage.
This paired with their aging building that regularly requires maintenance to the floor, roof, ice plant equipment, and several other areas is forcing members to say farewell to their beloved second home.
It’s scary when something like this happens to a neighbouring facility, as we face many of the same challenges, and our board members are often faced with difficult decisions to increase fees. It’s not that they enjoy taking more money of curlers pockets, but they want curling to continue to be an option to the people that live in our community, and there is a fixed cost to that.
Bobby Ray General Manager North Bay Granite Club