The Cochrane Super Seniors Bonspiel took place Nov. 22 to 25 at Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre, with a record of 160 participants.
Chairman of the four-day bonspiel, Doug Campbell, said the new ice at the Phillips Curling Centre was able to allow more teams and players to join the eighth annual tournament.
“The two big issues in the old rink was there were only four sheets of ice, as to here we have six, which is a major improvement. We’re daytime curlers so we had four draws on each of the days and to do that, we need co-operation from the other leagues,” Campbell said.
“The other thing we did was we added a greenhorn league for those who otherwise wouldn’t go into a competitive league. We got them what we call an angel skip to get those who normally would be on the bench involved so they could play.
“Another thing we added was a group called Sturling, which is a two person team rather than a four person team and those two people throw fewer rocks and don’t sweep. It’s meant for those who are a little infirmed or can’t sweep anymore, an opportunity to play.”
Campbell added while the bigger rink has its advantages, there were a few things the organizers struggled with.
“There’s a lot of opportunities, but there’s also a lot of growing pains. For example, they don’t have a fully functioning lounge or dining room, so we had to work extra hard to make social events happen,” Campbell said.
“We had to bring in our own bar so we had to set that up and had to do all our own decorating for the social events that took place in the evening. Hopefully as (the sports cente) and curlers mature, they’ll find a way to add a more permanent dining facility, because the social aspect of curling is so important … it’s a place to go debrief to talk about the game, weather or politics and right now it’s lacking that.”
With this being the eighth year of the bonspiel, Campbell said there has been a lot of progression from the first tournament in 2010.
“In 2008 and 2009, bonspiels were being cancelled due to lack of organization. So when we first started this, we had and still have a very good committee,” Campbell said.
“We start in September, we meet weekly and there’s a lot of stuff that goes into this. Gaming licence, liability insurance, and all those things off ice things that people don’t think about. It’s a lot of work, but we have a very fabulous committee and volunteers to make it happen.
“We have received a lot of great feedback from the people who compete in the bonspiel. We’re appealing to all curlers, not just the elite … this allows any kind of an average curler to have their day in the sun.”