Two back-to-back weekends of curling action are planned for the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena, beginning with this weekend’s Annual Men’s Bonspiel, January 20 to 23.
“It’s an open invitational,” Cowichan Lake Recreation manager Linda Blatchford said. “It gets advertised in Curl BC.”
As of press time, five local teams had registered for the event, in addition to 15 out-of-town registrants.
Of the out of town registrants, two are partially-local, with skips from the Cowichan Lake area.
“It’s tons of fun,” Blatchford said, of the bonspiel.
Participants will end up divided into three parts; A, B, and C, with participants being bumped through the levels with each loss.
Curling action will continue the following weekend, with the Island Master Playdowns, which will take place January 27 to 30.
With registration – which is being managed by Curl BC – having recently closed, no local teams will be participating in this event.
That said, the six visiting women’s teams and eight visiting men’s teams are some of the best on Vancouver Island, and will be hurrying hard in order to qualify for provincials in Qualicum BC, later on in the spring.
Men’s curling action will begin first, at 9 a.m., Friday, followed by the women, at 1 p.m.
As teams are eliminated, the men’s and women’s curling games will take place on different rinks, side by side, enabling bystanders in the curling lounge to see all the top teams competing, at once.
The teams are made up of the top Region Eight through 10 teams; Region Eight is South Island, Region Nine is Mid-Island, and Region 10 is North Island.
Receiving this tournament is another success for Cowichan Lake Recreation, Blatchford said.
Blatchford attends Curl BC Region Nine meetings, wherein bonspiel organizers pitch their events. Whenever four sheets of ice is enough, which is what the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena has to offer, Blatchford instinctively volunteers to host a bonspiel.
“Usually, other people don’t put their hands up,” she said.
This is because many of the other curling clubs aren’t publicly funded, and bonspiels aren’t big money generators for the facility.
They are, however, big generators for money elsewhere, including hotels, restaurants, local businesses, and other things related to tourism.
“It helps tourism in our community, and that’s why we do it,” Blatchford said. “The spin off is great.”
The bonspiel following the Island Master Playdowns will be the One Day Ladies Fund-raiser Spiel, February 5. The Gazette will provide more information on this, as the event draws closer.
Or, call organizer Morreen Coulter at 749-3794.
The BC Juvenile Provincial Championships will then grace the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena, March 3 to 6.