(Black Press file photo)

(Black Press file photo)

Vernon curling club forgoing bonspiels, focusing on members amid pandemic

The club won’t host bonspiels until January at the earliest, manager Dave Merklinger says

It’s Curling Day in B.C., and while teams around the province are beginning competition this weekend, the Vernon Curling Club continues to err on the side of caution.

Curling resumed at the Vernon club on Oct. 13, but with COVID-19 cases rising manager Dave Merlklinger says they’ll be catering to their membership only, refraining from hosting bonspiels or allowing outside players into the rink until January at the earliest.

“The second wave is on, lots of people are still getting sick, so we’ve got to be careful,” Merklinger said Saturday, Nov. 7, shortly before the province announced 567 new cases of the virus.

Merklinger said things are otherwise going well at the club, which is only down about 10 per cent in its membership.

“Our membership numbers are good, everything’s been going good. We’re just staying away from bonspiels, staying away from having outside people coming in to curl.”

The club on 39th Avenue has undergone some changes in response to the pandemic, including mask and social distancing requirements and a 50 person limit in the lounge.

So far so good when it comes to COVID concerns, says Merklinger, who’s glad to see the lanes occupied on Curling Day.

“We all need to get out and socialize and to take part in a sport that looks and is pretty safe,” he said. “We need it.”

This weekend marks the start of men’s and women’s BC Curling Tours, with increased safety measures. There are fewer teams and events this year, and the teams will be playing a modified game with only one sweeper at a time to allow for physical distancing, according to Curl BC.

The following BC Curling Tour events are scheduled to take place in November:

  • Raymond James Double Cash – Kelowna Curling Club – Nov. 6-8
  • Ashley Home Store Classic – Penticton Curling Club – Nov. 13-16
  • Raymond James Double Cash – Kelowna Curling Club – Nov. 6-8
  • Kelowna Women’s Cashspiel – Kelowna Curling Club – Nov. 20-22

Vernon isn’t alone in holding off on competitions for the time being. On Thursday the Golden Ears Winter Club in Maple Ridge cancelled its King Cash event planned for Dec. 4-6.

READ MORE: Armstrong Curling Club president wins provincial honour

READ MORE: BCHL still on track to begin regular season in December


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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