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Sask. curling rink shut down for season

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The Unity Curling club’s ice surface has to be shut down for the remainder of the season due to a structural issue.

The club made the announcement official on Monday.

“It's quite disappointing,” said Unity Curling Club president Glen Heitt.

A beam needs to be repaired in the rink, which Heitt is hopeful will be done for the fall. Early estimates have it costing $200,000.

“It's just too big of a project to do right now, and a temporary fix was going to cost us way too much money,” said Heitt. “We didn't really expect what was coming.”

The Unity Curling club has roughly 130 curlers who will have to put their brooms away for the rest of the year. The club was planning to hold several bonspiels in the coming months, which would have raised money for the club. For Heitt, it’s the staff he hurts for the most.

“We have really good employees, and we got to try and find a way to keep them on and not lose them,” he said.

SASK CURLING CLUBS AFFECTED

Unity's curling rink can be added to a list impacted this season. The Granite Curling Club closed down for the start of the season due to leaks in the surface’s brine lines and other costly repairs.

In Aberdeen, they swapped their curling ice for a second a sheet of skating ice, according to an employee.

“It's never good to have any curling club close for a year,” said CURLSASK President, Jim Wilson.

CURLSASK Championship director Steve Turner says many of the province’s rinks are facing aging infrastructure issues. According to him, many have a life expectancy of 30-40 years.

“We are starting to get to this point that they're starting to wear out,” said Turner. “To replace some of these it’s thousands.”

An expense hard to swallow for clubs trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The aging infrastructure is an issue CURLSASK is looking into. Money can fix that issue, but time, which people will be spending away from the rink, is another problem.

“When you lose your membership for a year, you might lose them to some other activity,” said CURLSASK Executive Director, Kellyn Geiger. 

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