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By Michael Christianson
Community and Development Services Manager Bob Cunningham is excited that curling has returned to Dryden.
The return of curling was made possible through a successful application to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. The ministry rewarded $24,000 for the project and city council, having approved the application, also committed $6,000 towards the project.
For now the curling service will be available on Tuesday in the day time.
“We start the conversion Monday night after the last ice hockey game has played,” said Cunningham. “We prep the service and flood it then we pebble the surface for the two sheets of curling ice.”
So far the high school and seniors group curlers have been out on the ice and the response has been positive. The high school will play and practice on the surface two hours in the morning each Tuesday for the rest of the year.
“Everybody who has used the curling service has said they are very happy with it,” said Cunningham. “That was a concern of ours because we’ve heard these conversion curling surfaces can be difficult because it’s not like curling sheets where you’re using a dedicated surface, they keep it flat. The ice hockey sheets can have a little bit of curvature to them. There was concern about the rocks not really running properly but from their first try outs everybody is quite happy with what we’ve done and I think it’s very positive.”
Cunningham hopes the return of a curling surface will spark an interest and grow the sport in the community. Plans are being made to hold introductory curling classes over a weekend at the arena.
Cunningham says he had a lot of help from the Northwestern Ontario Curling Association who he relied on to give guidance about what was needed for the new project.