Vernon Curling Club’s Dave Merklinger accepts a plaque for the host team’s work on the provincials. (John K. White/Morning Star)

Vernon Curling Club’s Dave Merklinger accepts a plaque for the host team’s work on the provincials. (John K. White/Morning Star)

COLUMN: Vernon can take pride in junior provincial event

The volunteer crew was busy keeping time, score, and the ice conditions right on the pin.

There were tears, cheers, fist-pumps and broom slams.

There were fries, coffee, Ceasars and 50/50 draws.

There were even dogs.

The BC junior curling championships were hosted by Dave Merklinger and crew at the Vernon Curling Club last week and it was an incredible sight to behold all of the behind-the-scenes work that went into making the event a world-class production.

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While you were watching the games from behind the glass, the volunteer crew was busy keeping time, score, and the ice conditions right on the pin.

The ice was so good, even the losing teams were commenting on how solid it held up through the round-robin games and into the playoffs. To hear the ice crew talking condition minutiae was very interesting (at least to a curling nerd like me) and it reminded me of the care and craftsmanship that goes into hosting high-level curling events.

Curl BC brought in their own rocks for the event, as they always do. The host teams have no advantage if the rocks are foreign to them, too. The ice needs to be fast and swingy to ensure the emphasis is on finesse. Ice King sends one of their machines in for grooming as an event sponsor, so the ice crew needs to use a new machine instead of the one they’re used to at the club.

The crew also had to set up for the livestream video broadcasts and all of the logistic nightmares inherent to those. They had to add foam side bumpers, blue carpeting, new scoreboards for the curling-math impaired viewers… It was a whirlwind of activity.

If you asked any of the teams and coaches what they thought of the event, they’d likely give two enthusiastic thumbs up. They were all treated like rock stars (sorry). I’m sure they’d love to come back for future Curl BC events, knowing how the event is run here.

It is important to recognize this effort to host a provincial event as it not only impacts our reputation in the province but it also contributes to the local economy. There were 16 teams worth of players, coaches and family and friends in town for the event, spending money at hotels and restaurants. The tremendous treatment they received here will spread out to communities throughout the province as participants report back on the week that was.

Consider this a major tip of the curling tam to Dave and his crew for making Vernon proud of the effort put forward by the curling club and the volunteers.

To report a typo, email: newstips@vernonmorningstar.com.


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