Nobody can accuse the Parksville Curling Club of not being ready for prime time.
The club, located in the former hockey arena at Parksville’s Community Park, has been undergoing a transformation as dozens of volunteer members help prepare the venue to host the B.C. Men’s Curling Championships Jan. 30 through Feb. 4.
“By next week there will be a complete transformation of the place for the event itself,” said Terry Miller, PCC vice-president and chair of the tournament organizing committee. “We’ll have the lobby set up with banners and pop-up posters, and the rink itself will look different as curtaining starts to go up around the scoreboards and sides of the playing area.”
The new look is designed in part for the prestigious event, which will determine B.C.’s qualifier for the Briar Canadian men’s championship tournament. The final four matches, on Feb. 3 and Feb. 4, will be televised by Shaw TV.
But much of the work at the club has been ongoing and will remain in place with a view to the long term, said Miller.
That includes new furnishings in the lounge and a revamped viewing area in the lobby, with a two-tiered viewing platform. The club has also installed a closed-circuit television system within the arena, which boasts cameras over each of the circles to allow those in the lobby to closely follow play.
“Volunteers have been all over the club doing quite a number of things,” said Miller. “Now we’re down to the fine-tuning. This is going to enhance the event, big-time.”
The Parksville Curling Club is no stranger to provincial championship curling. This will be the club’s eighth provincial championship since 2009, including back-to-back men’s championships in 2012-13. It has also hosted women’s and mixed championships, and once hosted the B.C. High School championship tournament.
One of its primary draws is its arena ice and layout as a former hockey arena, which includes bleacher seating in the playing area.
“The players are very pleased with it, because it emulates what they can expect at the next level,” said Miller, citing the Canadian and World championships. “Those are all going to be played in arena settings, so it’s a good experience for them to do this on arena ice.”
Parksville also has the benefit of a large and active club, which currently has about 500 to 600 member playing games each week, and a total membership, including lifetime members, of more than 1,300.
“We’ve tried not to do (championships) two years in a row, because it’s such a demanding thing for our volunteers,” said Miller. “But our members have just been incredible, the way they step up. Most clubs can’t handle this kind of event.”
The 2018 BelairDirect B.C. Men’s championship will feature the top 12 men’s teams in the province. The tournament will actually be run by Curl BC, with local club members serving in volunteer support roles. Even PCC head ice technician Tim Kottsieper will be relegated to assistant ice tech and work with a Curl BC technician.
Following team arrival and a banquet at the Beach Club Resort Tuesday, Jan. 30, the tournament will begin Wednesday, Jan. 31 with practice rounds in the morning followed by the opening draw, which will be played around the official opening ceremonies at 6:15 p.m.
Round-robin play continues through Feb. 2, with the top four teams in the standings advancing to the Feb. 3-4 championship draw.
Tickets are $5 at the door for each draw, or spectators may purchase a full event pass for $45, available at the curling club concession and at Save-On-Foods in Parksville. Passes may be purchased or ordered online, through links at www.parksvillecurling.com.