They call it the roaring game, but Houston’s curling rink may be quieter than usual this year if more curlers don’t sign up to play.
“We don’t have enough curlers to really make it viable,” says Arnold Amonson, member of the Houston and District Curling Club.
In the past, the club regularly drew between eight and ten teams, each with four players. But only five teams signed on last year.
“We could put the ice in and curl from January to March, even with five,” Amonson said. Normally, the curling rink opens by mid-November.
Curling competes with a lot more winter sports than it used to, said Amonson.
“There’s just so many things to do. There’s cross-country skiing, women’s hockey nowadays, all kinds of ringette teams.”
But for Amonson, curling is a standout.
The seasoned senior threw his first rocks when he was still in his teens. His wife Trudy Amonson is a Canadian pro curling instructor.
“In twenty minutes, she’ll have you sliding out there,” he said.
“It’s a good game—it’s competitive.”
A former B.C. curling champion, Amonson speaks from experience. He curled on the Bulkley Valley senior mens’ team that won the B.C. championship in 1987—the only local curling team of any kind to win a B.C. title.
Aside from ice-making, the Houston Curling Club has to cover the cost to insure and repair the building at Poulton Avenue and 15th Street.
Members offered to transfer the rink to the District last fall, but council declined citing budget constraints.
Hosting bonspiels—curling tournaments—helps to offset the rink costs, said Amonson, as does a bar upstairs that they open for games and Christmas parties.
But new members are really the key.
“Any age is great,” Amonson said. His hockey-playing son, who is in his forties, just picked up the sport and Houston school groups drop in to play every year.
The Houston Curling Club holds their annual general meeting on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m.
Any new or existing members who would like to sign on this season can call the Amonsons at 845-2132 or phone Angie and Jerry Buter at 845-3036.