Out shoveling snow in 2o12, her first winter in her new home of Armstrong, Terri Nicholson got to chatting with a neighbour about meeting people in the city.
Freshly arrived from New Westminster and a 35-year career with the Royal Bank, the newly retired Nicholson was told by her neighbour, ‘the best way to meet people in winter here is to curl.’ So Nicholson, a non-curler, joined the Armstrong Curling Club.
She had only watched curling on TV, and did take part in a lesson provided by Canadian and World champion, and Olympic bronze medalist, Georgina Wheatcroft, as the Royal Bank was an Olympics sponsor at the time.
During the lesson, Nicholson had her rock in place and was told to push hard out of the hack. She did that. She just forgot to let go of the rock and slid halfway down the ice holding her stone.
At the Armstrong club, Nicholson took a 30-minute crash course in the game and was put on a team. Later, she had been having trouble with her knees and couldn’t maintain her balance. Once she let go of the rock, Nicholson fell face first onto the ice.
Noted Armstrong stick curlers Tim Smith and Larry Burns came up to Nicholson and convinced her to try stick curling because ‘we are tired of seeing you hurt yourself.’ No bending in the hack. Just walking out with the stone on the end of the stick and pushing it down the ice.
As a new member to the club, Nicholson listened to concerns about dwindling membership, and with her work background in branding and attracting/retraining clients, she offered some suggestions to the board. In 2014, Nicholson was elected vice-president and became president in 2016 after then-president Ron (Sully) O’Sullivan died suddenly.
It’s a post she’s held ever since and her efforts during her time in Armstrong have not gone unnoticed.
Nicholson, along with Mike Kelly of Oliver, has been named Curl BC’s 2020 Club Volunteer of the Year.
“I have such amazing support from my board of directors and the club volunteers, it is hard for me to take credit and it is very humbling,” said Nicholson, who has been instrumental in helping attract new members.
Nicholson felt that you can’t just close the club in the spring, sit dormant all summer, and then expect people to flock to your door in the fall, so she started promoting the club in the off-season with info tables at the annual Green Fair and at three farmers’ markets a year.
Nicholson also trained as a club coach and worked on some new programming based on Curling Canada’s “Try Curling” program that has brought in at least 10 new enthusiastic members each year. She is very proud of the club’s efforts and it shows in their numbers – since 2014 the club membership has grown from 215 active members to 271 active members this year.
“I love the game. I’ll never be at the professional level, but I have fun doing it,” said Nicholson. “I’ve been increasing my skills, I’ve been trained as a coach so I can help other people learn and it’s taken off from there.”
Besides her role as president, Nicholson manages the club Facebook page, is a coach focusing on teaching stick curling and has her Serving It Right. She is also currently serving as the secretary for Region 4.