Andrew Nerpin of Kelowna Curling Club’s Team Geall releases a shot during the 2018 belairdirect BC Men’s Curling Championship at Parksville Curling Club Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018. — J.R. Rardon photo

Parksville Curling Club hosts its own ‘big game’

Club, volunteers lauded during B.C. Men’s Curling Championship

Its television ratings may not have matched those of the Super Bowl, but Parksville Curling Club still managed to draw hundreds of fans for the 2018 belairdirect BC Men’s Curling Championship final on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 4., 2018

“We’ve had a bigger turnout for some draws this week,” said Terry Miller, co-chair of the local tournament organizing committee, with a nod toward the arena bleachers. “But that’s a pretty good crowd. I’m told there’s something called football going on right now, though I wouldn’t know anything about that.”

Parksville Curling Club drew rave reviews from CurlBC officials and from the province’s top players while hosting its eighth provincial championship event since 2009, including men’s championships in 2012 and 2013.

“We sold 350 event passes, and then offered walk-up tickets for each draw,” said Clare Cooney, head of the ticket committee. “I was here for the 2013 event, and I know our (ticket) receipts are up 35 per cent from then.”

Over the five days of play, it also drew what is believed to be a record turnout, though precise numbers were not available, said Cooney.

Even before the arena was dressed up for Shaw TV cameras for the weekend’s page playoffs, a number of improvements had been made to the club in the months before the championships. Among them are a closed-circuit television system that provides overhead camera views of the circles on each of the five curling sheets to the audience in the lobby, as well as a new wheelchair-accessible seating area. Both were funded with the help of a government grant secured with the assistance of Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell, said Miller.

Roughly 200 volunteers from the curling club assisted throughout the provincial tourney.

“Parksville is one of our go-to communities for provincial events,” said Paul Addison, CurlBC chair. “You look at their wall and they’ve got seven other provincial plaques up there because, first of all, they have an unbelievable cadre of volunteers. But also, the facility itself is very valuable. I think people underestimate it, being an arena. But when you think of it, all the (curling) nationals are in arenas, too.

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