July, 2014 / Author:

211-13-its not just an olympic sportThree Winnipeg teams headed to Edmonton in late April for the national Canadian Gay Curling Championships (CGCC).

Teams Dixon, Sontag and Marcon represented the province by wearing official team jackets and crests.

Joël Marcon, past president of the Keystone Rainbow Curling League and liaison with the national committee, has been to the nationals six times. This year his team finished sixth. “Winnipeg teams tend to place in the middle of the pack, but we’ve had second and third place finishes.”

The CGCC tournament started in 2005. There are currently 10 gay leagues in eight cities across Canada. It’s a more serious competition of the best two teams of each city. This year Winnipeg was able to enter three teams due to an extra opening.

Edmonton had social events every evening of the weekend, including a banquet and hosted a total of 16 teams. In addition, the league organizes a recreational bonspiel, or “funspiel,” in conjunction with the nationals featuring themes and often costumes. Winnipeg hosts “The Bison Cup” funspiel annually.

Fun leagues, such as the Keystone Rainbow Curling League, make up the national championships, which is comprised of a large number of recreational teams. Most teams are very relaxed and social before, during and after the games. “It’s common practice to come for lunch prior to the game, stay for drinks afterwards.”

There are currently 21 teams in the local league, which will be celebrating its 10th year in 2014 at the Granite Curling Club, where it has played since the league’s inception in 2004. The bar and restaurant staff are very friendly and welcoming.

Keystone Curling is open to all GLBT* people and allies. The season starts in October and games are every Sunday until the end of March. If you’re interested in learning how to curl, there is a clinic at the beginning of the season where Marcon, a certified instructor, volunteers his services for one-on-one training as well. For more information, go to www.keystonecurling.com.

– Shandi Strong has been active in the community for over a decade, she is a past vice president of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Society, and currently volunteers at the Rainbow Resource Centre. She is expanding her role in the community as an advocate for trans rights. Look for her on the ice this year as part of the Keystone Curling league!

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