Broughton curlers make a comeback
April 25, 2017 - Port McNeill, B.C.
The Broughton Curling Club has wrapped up a successful season, raising hopes that curling is making a comeback on the north island.
Marine Harvest’s primary process manager Kathy Baker curls with her husband Tom, who is also the vice president of the club. They’re stalwarts of the club, and she hopes that curling in Port McNeill will return to the level reached in its heyday, in the early 90s.
“When we first moved to Port McNeill our curling club was booming. When we started to curl, people were just starting their families,” Kathy says. “Curlers were at the club four nights a week. Everyone was there.”
“But once their kids became old enough to play junior sports, most parents moved away from curling and they never came back,” Kathy says.
There were about 50 curlers in Port McNeill in 2017, which was a shortened season from January to March.
The major bonspiel this season was won by a team from Fort Rupert, who brought enthusiasm to the local scene and cash to the club’s coffers.
Curling doesn’t attract big sponsorship dollars, so most of the club’s income is collected through memberships and over the bar, Kathy explains. It has been a difficult task to break even with the costs of the ice, hydro and insurance.
The club is run by volunteers like the Bakers. There is a core group who put the ice in, maintain and clean the buildings, run the bar and keep the books. It shows their dedication and passion for the sport and social connections.
“I curl for the social side of it, and it is a night out together with my hubby,” Kathy says. “Regardless of what people say it is good exercise.”
The team from Fort Rupert took the top prizes at Broughton’s bonspiel in March.