By Andrew Autio, Resident Journalism Effort Reporter The Daily Press
Wed., Oct. 21, 2020 timer 5 minutes. read
Regional curlers nervous to do some sweeping beyond their houses will enjoy to hear that the McIntyre Curling Club will be ready to rock this week, as ice preparations are almost total.
” We remain in the latter phases of that now,” said club president Stephen Meunier.
” The ice has actually been put down. It’s been painted. We have actually added the rings and the lines, and the decals. Now we’re flooding over top of whatever to level it so that it will be ready for play.”
Meunier said a few factors, such as weather, will figure out when exactly the very first stones will be tossed, however that it will certainly occur in the next few days.
Of course, given the current situations surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be some substantial modifications to the way the club will function.
” Curling is really different. Curling Canada brought out return-to-play standards in the summer season. We follow those, as we fall under their umbrella,” said Meunier.
One major difference will be that physical distancing will have to be practised as best as possible, which will take some getting utilized to by the standard four gamer units.
” So only one sweeper is allowed to sweep a rock at any one time. We need to mark areas on the ice where individuals stand, so they stay physically distanced from one another.”
From a competitive and tactical standpoint, there is another big change.
” Whereas before, the opposing avoid could sweep the opposing group’s rock behind the T-line, that has actually been gotten rid of. There will be no sweeping behind the T-line so that everybody stays well apart from one another.”
Meunier stated one gamer sweeping isn’t totally unusual.
” With the brand-new directional sweeping, in some cases in games that are of a higher competitive level, you’ll only see one sweeper. But for club video games, it would definitely be something that is a little bit different.”
While it may take some adjustments, he said the bottom line is there will be curling.
” If that’s what we need to do to ensure that we keep people physically apart from one another to abide by the regulations, then we’re more than willing to do that. We’re rather pleased that we have the ability to open our doors at the time we normally do every year.”
Additionally, the club’s locker rooms will not be utilized for the foreseeable future. Everyone will need to wear a mask or face covering when entering the building, and sign themselves in.
” So that on the occasion that a contact tracing is essential, we understand who was in the structure and when.”
The McIntyre Curling Club’s prepare for a safe go back to play had to be approved by both the Porcupine Health Unit and the City of Timmins.
” We feel like we’re in pretty good shape to start.”
Concerning subscription, Meunier stated the interest is still plenty of regional interest, especially for the Friday night social league.
” We normally would have two draws, however due to the amount of individuals, we can only have a maximum of 50 in the structure, we have actually moved the one draw to Saturday night. We’ll alternate that back and forth. All the other nights are only one draw.”
There has actually been a noticeable boost in interest in the New Horizon league, which is for those 50 plus, as well as strong number in other leagues.
” The sign-ups have been stable. They might be down a little bit from the year prior to. To help out our members, just to make sure that if something were to occur, and we had to scale back, we have actually used a half-year subscription.”
Curlers would then have the choice of restoring their subscription in early January, which would cover them through the end of the season in late March.
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Meunier likewise sits on the board of the Northern Ontario Curling Association, and validated that essentially all competitions have actually been cancelled or held off for this upcoming season.
” We have no competitors slated for the club.”
Timmins was to play host to the Canadian Under-18 Curling Championships this February, but unfortunately Curling Canada had to cancel it.
Approximately 250 athletes would have come to town for the competition, as it was to be integrated with last year’s cancelled championships, but the word came from Curling Canada that it simply wasn’t going to be feasible under the scenarios.
The bright side is that Timmins will have the chance play host in 2022, which Meunier said actually gives them more time to plan and place on the very best event possible, which will include the future stars of Canadian curling as they work their method towards occasions such as The Brier and Tournament of Hearts.
He said Curling Canada recommended curlers concentrate on abilities development this winter instead of competitive play.
One thing that is particularly interesting for the club is the reality they will be debuting brand name new curling stones, also known as rocks.
” The rocks that we had previously were about 60 years of ages,” said Meunier.
” We’re very delighted the city partnered with us for the purchase of these rocks. So we have actually got six full sheets of brand new curling rocks to begin with. We’re actually delighted about that.”
The brand-new regulations will carry into the club lounge and bar area.
” We have actually set up our lounge so that everybody is well apart from one another.”
The bar server will be behind a Plexiglas wall, and seating will be limited and appointed based upon the sheet a player is using, so that they can utilize that seat to keep their equipment and individual impacts.
Meunier is anticipating getting things underway and provided lots of credit to the club’s board of directors, and his better half Kim, the club manager, for their progressive thinking and efforts in making certain a regional curling season occurs. He’s been receiving messages from members who more than ready to “hurry hard.”
” They’re quite delighted about it due to the fact that a few of the other sports have been cancelled through the summer season, so it’s definitely something for them to eagerly anticipate, come out and curl for a night, and to have something to do.”