Melfort ready for Curling Day in Canada

Don Healy/Regina Leader-Post. Pat Simmons, pictured here playing for Team Saskatchewan at the 2006 Brier in Regina, will be in Melfort on February 1. 24 to celebrate Curling Day in Canada.

Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wakaw Recorder

Taking a page from Hockey Canada’s playbook, Curling Canada is set to celebrate Curling Day in Canada on February 24, 2024, in Melfort. The day will include meet-and-greets with curling celebrities as well as plenty of free events and the chance to take part in Melfort’s “epic” fun game.

This national celebration of curling will also be broadcast as a special live event on TSN. A reporter and mobile cameraman will film the festivities throughout the afternoon before Bob Weekes begins the live broadcast at 4 p.m. Organizers are encouraging people to “fill the backdrop” of Northern Lights Palace to show people across Canada how much Melfort loves curling.

The official festivities will begin at 2pm at Northern Lights Palace and Melfort’s Memorial Gardens where crokicurl, sleigh rides and hot chocolate will be available. Other free activities will include bouncy castles, street curling, photo ops with the Brier Tankard, live music and a Scotties watch party. At 2:30 p.m. at Northern Lights Palace, there will be a special farewell presentation for the Melfort Special Olympics team as they prepare to depart for the Winter Games in Calgary.

Famous curlers set to appear in Melfort include Jill Officer, the current president of the World Curling Athletes Commission. Of course, Officer also has a few championships under his belt. As the runner-up on Jennifer Jones’ team, Jill Officer won an Olympic gold medal, earned world champion status twice, and was a six-time Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion.

Two-time Brier and Grand Slam champion Pat Simmons will also be in Melfort on the 24th. Jill Officer and Pat Simmons will be on the ice for the Try Curling competition! clinics led by Bobby Ray and Dustin Mikush of Curling Canada, which will cater to all ages and skill levels.

Ace of February. On September 9, spots in the two-person stick clinic were filled, but there were still spots available in the youth and adult clinics. Contact the Melfort Curling Club for more information.

At 3 p.m., at the Bourgault Curling Center, the community curling confrontation will take place featuring six matches between twelve businesses and municipalities. In a fun four-end curling game, competitors will compete and try to win bragging rights for winning the showdown. The Funspiel Festival will take over the pebble surface at 5 p.m. No experience is required, the emphasis will be on fun with short four-end games and music on the ice. Registration is open to teams of four or individuals wanting to join the fun.

The day ends with a cabaret at Northern Lights Palace. The Rock Candy group will take the stage to provide live music. Doors open at 8:00 p.m. and the band will begin at 9:00 p.m.

Don’t miss the opportunity to enter the 50/50 draw with a guaranteed jackpot of $10,000, sponsored by Worley Hoppers! The maximum jackpot is $100,000 and the draw will take place at 4:30 p.m. at Northern Lights Palace. The winner does not need to attend the drawing to qualify. Tickets are available in person at the festival, or before the festival by calling 306-921-6897, or sending an e-transfer to [email protected]

Funds raised through the 50/50 split will go toward the main entrance accessibility and restroom renovation project. First announced in June 2022, the comprehensive revitalization project included the replacement of the ice plant, a roof renovation, reconfiguration of the main entrance and installation of an elevator, an upgrade from lighting to LED lights, interior renovations and a wall painting project. which saw young curlers lead the fundraising.

Phase 1 included ice plant replacement and roof renovation. The Bourgault Curling Center and the Melfort Curling Club are independent from the Town of Melfort, but partner with schools and the Special Olympics as a community hub where many local organizations hold their fundraisers and special events like wedding receptions are organized. After receiving approval for a $100,000 federal Accessibility Fund grant, the renovations will be completed by October 2024. Highlights of Phase 2 of the revitalization project include the reconfiguration of the main entrance and the installation of a vertical elevator, renovation of the toilets and lounge, reconstruction of the ice ramp and improvement of the LED lighting and sound system.


Alec Dittman

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