The Sylvan Lake Curling Club is thrilled to be recognized as Club of the Year by Curling Alberta for their efforts to help conduct a provincial championship during these trying times.
The club’s curling coordinator, Crystal Koller, said, “It was truly an honour receiving the Club of the Year award from Curling Alberta. She added, “It is very humbling and truly a huge accomplishment for our club.”
Koller explained, “We had the championship all planned and organized, and then AHS (Alberta Health Services) cancelled it due to Covid. But the fact that we had it almost ready to go was why Curling Alberta gave us the award. We all kept working at it until it was cancelled.”
Given the lack of fans and stern COVID-19 restrictions, and determining that a combined event for the 2021 Men’s and Women’s Provincial Championship would not be viable in a large arena, Curling Alberta looked to smaller communities.
They reached out to Sean Durkin from the Town of Sylvan Lake and Leslie Hill from the Sylvan Lake Curling Club, who eagerly jumped on board, shared Koller. She added the town and club offered unwavering support in attempts to host a safe and enjoyable event.
Koller said, “Curling is so important in our community because it brings people together in so many ways. It is a low-impact, non-contact sport that is easy for all ages 10 and up, and for all skill levels.
“Everyone joins the club for the social element of curling and to be active in the winter.”
Koller said, “Every year I have seen so many members volunteer countless hours on end for many events the club has hosted in the past.”
In past years, the club has hosted the Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts and the Provincial Mixed Playdowns. It also hosts a few bonspiels throughout the year, offers curling clinics, and has a junior program run by volunteer coaches.
“With all of the uncertainty that we experienced while planning the Men’s and Women’s Provincial Championships during the pandemic, Sylvan Lake was ready to face every challenge head-on and pivoted with us in a moment’s notice every step of the way,” said Britney Andersen, Curling Alberta’s Competition Coordinator. “We are truly grateful for the support offered by the Town of Sylvan Lake, the dedicated group of volunteers, and the curling club. We look forward to working with them again in the future.”
Opening its doors in 1928, the Sylvan Lake Curling Club began as a two-sheet natural ice rink with only 32 members, eventually expanding to over 200 members and many volunteers that run the club. Located at the NexSource Centre, the club has become a focal point not only for local curling enthusiasts but as a gathering place for community meetings and social functions.
“Everyone is always welcome to join in on one of the most popular and ever-growing winter sports in Canada. It is affordable for all to join in. The club even has equipment for everyone to use, to make it easy to sign up and register at sylvanlakecurling.ca,” concluded Koller.