McLennans curling season put on ice
Waning interest levels for curling has forced McLennan Curling Club executive members to pull the plug on the upcoming season.
That was the disappointing news announced by curling club President Rita LHeureux last week after the executive revealed it had exhausted all of its efforts to try and draw a rock solid response for the 2002 season, which had been scheduled to begin in early January.
The end result saw the curling clubs plans for a viable season fold like a pup tent in a strong wind.
We met with members of the executive Dec. 5 and discussed it amongst each other prior to making the decision to cancel the season. We tried, but there really wasnt much we could do about it, LHeureux said.
The process of attempting to drum up support for the season began in late November when the curling club held its annual registration night. Unfortunately, residents werent exactly knocking down the door for the opportunity to be part of the action.
The curling club required a bare minimum of 10 teams to work with to justify opening its doors this year a number which was achieved for the 2000-01 season.
LHeureux said six teams originally signed up for the season on registration night. Two more teams came forward shortly after that, however, one of them was forced to bail out at the last minute, leaving the club with a paltry seven teams to work with.
Its like the old saying goes You can lead a horse to water but you cant make it drink, said LHeureux. Most people, in general, just couldnt make the commitment.
That included several regular curlers from last year, who, for one reason or another, were unable to fit the recreational sport into their weekly schedule. It proved to be the proverbial straw that broke the camels back for a club which has been flirting with unusually low numbers for the past several years.
It doesnt take much to disrupt a season. One player off this team and one off that team and before you know it explained LHeureux in reference to the domino effect.
In previous years the curling season began at the end of November. That start-up date was bumped back to January by the executive this year to compensate for the annual holiday rush which made it difficult for numerous players to fulfill their obligations on the ice.
It was a decision which ultimately backfired on executive members despite their best intentions.
We thought having a shorter season might entice more people to come out, but obviously that wasnt the case. Its too bad because I know a lot of people who registered were really looking forward to the season, she added.
This isnt the first time in recent history where the lights have remained out at the curling rink over the winter. LHeureux said curling officials were also forced to cancel an entire season in the 1990s due to poor support.
She hopes its not a sign of things to come for a local recreational facility which provides a valuable service to residents in the community.
I dont know what the solution is. Maybe the cancellation of this season will help open up some eyes in the community, she said.
With the 2002 season on ice, executive members will now focus their immediate attention on fund-raising efforts to help the club get off to a fresh start next fall.
That start, however, effectively rests directly on the shoulders of residents who will once again be called upon to save a local sport from following the beaten path of the dinosaur.