I recently returned from a bonspiel at the new Coyotes Curling Club dedicated ice facility in Tempe, Arizona, which opened this past spring. The facility is simple and “bare bones” at this point, but the ice is great and the community is amazing. They worked hard to get the club that they have now – it took over a year and multiple fall-throughs to finally sign a lease, many of their club members gave money to the club as donations, bonds, and no-interest loans, and volunteers have worked tirelessly to get the club up and running. Through their hard work and dedication, they’ve opened a club with great ice, gathering space, and lots of room to grow. I know that we can achieve this, too!
Coyote Curling Club
Besides being motivated by what I experienced in Arizona, here are additional reasons why I believe that building our own dedicated ice facility is necessary for our club:
- Consistent, high quality ice is a beautiful thing. It was amazing to play on ice that was predictable and curled in both directions. The shots I made did what we expected and I could see that my sweeping made a difference. The strategy was different, too, as it didn’t depend as much on ridges and valleys in the ice. Over the course of the weekend, I could see my improvement and the games were fun and exciting. I want to have this experience every time I go out to curl.
- A dedicated ice curling club brings people together. A community space with a bar, sitting area, tables, and a TV provides a place for gathering to watch curling live or on TV, watch other sports, play games, and spend time with friends. Bored on a Sunday afternoon? Head to the club for some curling and the 49ers game! Want to watch the Brier or Scotties with others? Head to the club!
- A dedicated ice curling club keeps people curling. We’ve lost a number of curlers due to bad ice conditions. With our own ice, we would be more likely to attract and keep curlers with our high-quality ice and welcoming community space.
- We’ll have more control over cost. Arena curling is expensive with unpredictable ice conditions and no community space. The ice conditions can be pretty terrible and we’re paying a lot to be able to play (and the cost will only increase over time). Most of the money we pay does not go to our club, but to the arena. When we go out after games, again we are paying money to businesses outside of our club. With dedicated ice all of the money we pay will go directly to our own club. Additionally, when we host corporate events or bonspiels, the money that we make will be ours instead of handing most of it over to others. Personally, I would rather pay the same or even a little more now for great ice and community space with the expectation that over time the league costs would decrease.
- We’ll have more ice time! We can have leagues whenever we want them! Some ideas: men’s league, women’s league, mixed league, novice league (less than 5 years experience), beginner league (with delivery/sweeping/strategy class time built it), competitive league, youth league (after school), mom’s/dad’s league (during the day with possible child care), day leagues (for those with a flexible work schedule or in retirement), wheelchair league, and the list goes on! It will be a challenge this fall finding space on our arena ice for all of our curlers to join a league since we have so many new curlers (which is GREAT!); we want to keep all of our current curlers and have the necessary resources to grow our membership – this would not be a worry with our own space. We would also have plenty of time for practice ice. Dreams of becoming nationally competitive could be a reality.
Also keep in mind that we won’t have the same ice prep as we have now – we won’t have to move rocks, set hacks, etc. The Arizona curlers reminded me that an extra 15-20 minutes of driving (their new club is 30 miles away from their former rink) takes the place of all the set-up and cleanup that will no longer be necessary.
- We’ll be the California hub for curling. We will be the only dedicated ice facility in California. Many CA curlers travel all over the country to play on dedicated ice and we will provide a closer alternative. We could have multiple bonspiels per year and even host our own intensive clinics.
I know that we can build a club that we call home. It will take a lot of hard work and dedication, but in the end it will all be worth it when we welcome our curling community to share in what we’ve built. I see a warm-room with sofas and tables and chairs where people are watching curling, laughing, and socializing in a comfortable space, a full-stocked bar, changing rooms with lockers, a kitchen, classroom space, and last but certainly not least, an ice house full of curlers, enjoying the consistency and excitement of curling on real, high-quality curling ice.
I hope that you can help me and our club to realize this dream. If you have not yet donated, I encourage you to donate, even just $25 to show your support. I know that there is more support for dedicated ice than is shown through donations so far. I know that it’s a lot to ask to donate to a dream that currently has no signed lease, but please keep in mind that it’s important to show your support by a donation of any amount at this point (you can always donate more later!) so we can show that a high percentage of members have contributed. This is important because outside sources may be more likely to donate if we can show that the club members are truly behind building our own club.
Please consider a donation to support our club!