November, 2012 / Author:

Rainbow Curling League looking for players in the mood for fun

With patio season long behind us, the Keystone Rainbow Curling League has swapped frosty cans for sweaters and mug warmers and is busy shooting rocks during the 2012 – 2013 season. 

For new vice-president Amber Clemons, the Rainbow Curling League is about more than just competition. Clemons has been part of the league since 1995 and has enjoyed watching it grow since. She emphasized that although the league’s social agenda has grown with fundraisers and bonspiels, it’s really the time that you spend with people after the games that creates the relationships that surround this league.

The appeal of the league is similar to incoming president Mike Read. A curler since he was 13 years old, Read has been a member of the Keystone Rainbow Curling League for the past four years. Read realized that he wanted to curl when the weather plummeted and he realized that he “just didn’t want to play hockey outside anymore.” He decided to take on the position because he felt like the league had given him so much and it was time for him to give back to the curling community. Read becomes president after Mark Kelly, who has stepped down from his role last season.

The league has 18 teams and represents that largest single draw gay curling league in the country. The league is co-ed and is gay and alliance friendly, and in Mike’s own words, “they will accept anybody!” 

This year, the league is also looking at introducing younger players to the sport. In the past few years, there has been an increase in players retiring and the need to recruit new players is becoming increasingly important. High school teams or recreational teams are highly encouraged to join if they want one more night of practice or just some extra time on the ice. There is no minimum age requirement, so as long as you are looking for a supportive and social environment and to play some great curling the Keystone Rainbow Curling League welcomes any and all new teams. 

The League has three divisions, which are then separated into teams based on skill level. If you are a first-time team you will start in the lowest tier but because the divisions are restructured throughout the season, a highly skilled team will move up fast. 

Joël Maggon, the league’s drawmaster as well as a league player, has been around “since the beginning.” He started out on the spare list and has been a league player ever since. Maggon emphasized that there are curling teams available at every level and specifically mentioned that, “It’s not just about the curling, there’s a strong social aspect to game.” 

The league is not only open to anyone and every skill level, but it also recognizes the huge social side of curling. All league games are played Sundays at 1:30 p.m. at the Granite Community Club. There is a cash bar available for post-game bevvies, win or lose. 

Not only does the league utilize the full nine sheets of ice at the Granite Community Club for the games, but the league is growing with more social events every year. In the fall the Keystone Curling Club hosts the Get Your Rocks Off social at Gio’s and on Louis Riel Weekend in February, there is the Bison Cup Bonspiel. . 

This league offers a perfect opportunity for people to get involved in a new sport and get to know new people.  If you are new to the city, the league will actually find you a team to play with based on your skill level. As for equipment, it is pretty low maintenance – all you will need are a clean pair of running shoes, a slider and a broom. You can find these at most sporting goods stores, or there’s always someone you know who keeps a spare slider and broom in their garage.

“The game to start with is very social, after the game you go for drink with the other team and your own. We are all a very social bunch,” says Read.

So, pull out the slider and broom from your attic and try out an ever-growing sport. Whether you want to brush up on your curling skills or simply find something to get you out of the house on those lazy Sundays, the Keystone Curling Club has a lot to offer you. 

Registration for the League has closed, but don’t hesitate to contact them to find out if subs are needed. To register for the Bison Cup Bonspiel you can go online and fill out a team registration form. For early bird registration, please sign up by Jan.13 at midnight.

–  Clair Cerilli is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer.

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