By Terrance Gavan
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]
We have a cornucopia of young curling talent here in Ontario.
How do I know?
Well, because I covered the Timbits Elementary School Provincial Curling Championships last weekend at the Minden Curling club and SG Nesbitt Arena.
Yes, SG Nesbitt Arena. More on that down low.
In all, Minden welcomed 282 curlers plus family, plus coaches and friends.
Jane Boyd the co-chair – with Dwight Thomas – of the highly successful 2011 Timbits event said that approximately 700 visitors descended on Minden for the four day event.
Boffo numbers for the month of April, a traditionally slow point of the tourist season in cottage country.
Hotels, B and B’s, resorts and restaurants welcomed the influx at a time of year that local businesses respectfully refer to as the “shoulder season.”
Well, no shoulder shrugs last week from Minden.
“I know that a lot of the businesses in town, especially the accommodation people – and the restaurants – welcomed the crowds,” laughed Boyd.
It was, Boyd said, also a great opportunity to showcase the region.
“We got lots of compliments,” said Boyd. “Compliments about the county, about the venue, about the town. Everybody was impressed. A lot of the small hotels said they would have closed for the weekend if it hadn’t been for this event.”
Perhaps the most impressive piece of this gigantic puzzle was the curling ice set up at the SG Nesbitt Arena.
A work of love by Minden ice maker Eric Casper and a dedicated group of volunteers who transformed an old arena in to a first class curling venue in three short days.
I am a curling guy. Covered a few Manitoba Provincial spiels and a Brier in my day.
I approached the venue last Saturday with alacrity, but I was prepared to be disappointed.
Not. And. Never.
The Nesbitt Arena was bedecked. It was professional. I brought my stopwatch and all five sheets were bangity-bang-bang solid. About a 3.1 second split from the hack, and 13 to 14 seconds hog to hog on the draw. (Sorry non-curlers, I would need some room to let you in on the numbers; but trust me it’s good, very good.)
My kudos to Casper and his ice making partner Kevin Scott from the Dixie Club in Toronto. I can only cadge a turn from Wayne and Garth: “We’re not worthy!” You guys and the team outdid yourselves. Shoulder – on theme baby – slaps all round.
“The ice was amazing at the arena,” said Boyd. “A lot of the teams said it was better than the ice at the curling club.” Which is not to disparage that ice. Just to say that new ice, when tended with love and care always beats the old surface after a year of league play.
“Everybody was amazed to play on that big surface,” smiled Boyd. “It felt like they were curling at a Brier. The kids were thrilled.”
And so too was this big kid. Great job and nod to the 20 and more volunteers that turned Nesbitt to a curling palace.
Boyd said that the kids were especially great. Polite, well-behaved and of course, fine curlers. “We actually got thank you letters from the kids,” said Boyd.
On Sunday, local curling legend Jake Walker, skip of Team Ontario’s 2010 Canadian Junior champions, was on hand to present trophies and yes, sign autographs.
These kids know curling and many of them queued up to have Walker sign their brooms, their hats and their red Tim Horton hoodies.
Six teams from the area, three from JD Hodgson and three from Archie Stouffer all played very well.
The Minden girls team skipped by Alex Casper (Eric’s daughter) ripped through the round robin and won a silver in the B-division with a 6-2 overall record.
Boyd said that the silent auctions raised $1,600 and that will go to offset costs of hosting the successful event.
Sports tips knuckleheads? Call me at 705-457-5001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]