The Alberni Valley Curling Club is hoping to revive its junior curling program with the addition of some new equipment.
The curling club recently purchased new rocks which are designed for younger curlers. The rocks are the same width as the adult rocks, but lower to the ground and made out of a composite material so they are 20 pounds lighter.
The curling club started to revive its junior program three years ago, with help from junior coordinator Karen Raybeck.
“We really promote good sportsmanship and teamwork,” said Raybeck. “It’s a very cool sport for kids that like to see the strategy.”
Last year’s program had 20 children registered. This year that number is down to 12, as some players have aged up to the men’s and women’s programs, but the curling club is hoping for more.
The program is open for two levels of players. Little Rocks is open to ages seven to nine and teaches the basic fundamentals of curling. Helmets are mandatory for this age group. Juniors is open to ages 10 and up, and players have the opportunity to compete in bonspiels across the Island.
“Parents want to see their kids in competition and kids want to compete,” explained Raybeck.
Last year was the first time in years that the Alberni Valley Curling Club hosted a junior bonspiel.
“It was fantastic,” said Raybeck. “That hasn’t been done in a while.”
This year’s junior bonspiel will take place on Jan. 18 at the Alberni Valley Curling Club, and Raybeck is hoping to recruit a few more junior players before it takes place.
“It is such an inexpensive sport to try,” she emphasized. “And it’s a lifelong sport. You can play it at all ages.”
In addition to the Junior program, the new rocks will also be used by visiting schools. The curling club will be hosting three to four schools this year and teaching elementary students the basics of curling.
For more information about the junior program and registration, contact Karen Raybeck at email@example.com.