It has to start somewhere.
And for many future curlers in Dawson Creek, their introduction to the sport begins with the Elementary league, just as it has for 30-plus years, for so many now playing the game competitively.
“We’re in our 34th or 35th year doing this,” said league organizer Margaret Bourassa on Saturday while at the Dawson Creek Curling Club for the Elementary Spiel, the season’s final tournament.
This year’s tournament featured rinks from 13 Dawson Creek and surrounding area schools, with students as young as Grade 4
“We’re really excited that we have a bunch of kids out and that they are keen and curling,” said Bourassa.
The league is where curlers such as Brad Skytte and Tristan Steinke, who will soon compete at juvenile provincials, got their start, and it just so happened the two were practicing on an open sheet while play wrapped up on Saturday.
“It’s exciting that they are practicing over there,” said Bourassa, gesturing to Skytte and Steinke practicing drills with coach Jeff Ginter, “because we can say [to the kids] this is where you can go with this and to stick with it.”
The league, which gets underway right from the beginning of the school year starts with two weeks of instruction, before students begin playing regularly scheduled matches, every Thursday.
Bourassa says the league requires a number of devoted coaches and sponsors to keep the sheets full.
“We try and have at least one knowledgeable curler on every team so that they have somebody that can skip,” says Bourassa, “ and then an adult or child that is in Grade 8 or 9, 10 or 11, who will play lead on the team to help [rinks] with strategy.”
“During games we have adults out there that instruct the kids on the proper turn … just the basics,” she added.
She says that introducing the kids to the sport at a young age also ensures future club members.