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Alliston Curling Club hosts first bonspiel of the year

December 11, 2020   ·   0 Comments

The Alliston Curling Club hosted its first bonspiel of the season on Saturday, December 5, when the annual Men’s Turkey Spiel took over the ice sheets for the day.

However, this year they decided to mix it up and invited some of the women Club members to take part as well.

The Club is one of only handful of curling clubs that are operating this season in the province. Most clubs lacked the membership needed to operate due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic and decided to cancel the season.

The Alliston Club is practicing safety protocol both on the ice and in the club room by limited the number of people allowed, sanitizing all areas, and practicing social distancing.

“We have a full spiel going on,” said event coordinator Remi Welch. “We’re only doing one draw so we are limiting the number of people in the building. There’s only one group of players on the ice and no extras in the club house. Normally the first prize for the winning team is turkeys. That’s why we call it the Turkey Spiel. This year we’re doing gift certificates.”

The Club limits the number of players on the ice and also has teams alternating their start end to avoid congestion on the ice.

“There’s 32 players on the ice, both men and women,” Mr. Welch explained. “Normally we’ll have two starts, one a nine o’clock, and then another at 11, when the first group is up here having lunch. But we’re only doing one so we have a minimal number of people and we don’t have people crossing because we want to control distances. In the club house, we have a maximum of four people per table and they’re all two metres apart. Normally there’s eight people at each table. We are limited to 50 people in the building. We don’t want the congestion in the stairwells, washrooms, and dressing rooms so we’re only running at half capacity.”

The new rules have also changed the way the game is played.

“There’s still four people per team but there’s only one active sweeper at a time during the game,” Mr. Welch said. “Normally you would have two sweepers for every rock thrown. Now the second sweeper often walks along and coaches the sweeper on when to sweep and when not to sweep and the timing.”

The Alliston Club usually hosts four or five bonspiels per season.

The Club is going to continue to operate this year and has actually brought new members in where were part of another club that decided not to run a season this year.

By Brian Lockhart
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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