I used to assign my grade 11 economics class the task of choosing the best site, in Canada, for a new automobile plant. The class was divided into teams. Each team, after research, would present its chosen site, with reasons. Many factors were presented: market availability, transportation access, labour supply, but always, each team would find the ‘quality of life’ issue to be a major consideration. New employees had to want to live in the area. Recreation facilities weighed heavily in the consideration of a location. So enters curling.
My father introduced me to curling back in my Regina days. I remember the Campbell brothers in the 1955 Canadian Brier at the Regina Arena (that’s how old I am). Teaching in small town Saskatchewan (Govan, Star City) I witnessed many hard-fought games. Curling is at the center of life in Saskatchewan’s winters.
I found the same when we moved here in the 60’s. The Prince Albert Golf and curling Club (PAGCC) was the place to go, especially on a Friday or Saturday night. It was crowded.
This January, that atmosphere appeared again. The rink was packed. The games were on. Excitement was in the air. The Provincial Scotties were there. Sherry Anderson, the local favorite, made the playoffs. She did not win, but we saw curling, fellowship, and good fun on display. The event’s success was due, of course, to the excellent ice conditions, and shot making that made the crowd roar approval, but it was also due to the hundreds of volunteer hours put into preparation prior to the Spiel, during the long days of the event, and the cleanup afterwards. Prince Albert showcased its ‘quality of life.’
This volunteer showcase goes on each and every day at PAGCC. Pat Bibby is at the center of that volunteer base. I interviewed her to determine some of what occurs at the rink. Curling instruction for beginners and intermediates is provided Mondays at 4:30 p.m., and those 13 to 20 years of age can receive instruction on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday is also‘Family Learn to Curl Night.’These programs are supplemented when senior curlers host school programs Monday and Tuesday mornings. As many as forty plus excited students fill the rink those days. Most have never touched a curling rock prior to starting. Within an hour, they are sliding to the hog line, rock in hand. You should see the grins and hear the cheers when they finally draw the house at the other end. Perhaps, the topper for this occurs in March when more than 20 Japanese exchange students step on the ice. Their sheer joy is captivating, as are their thank-you letters. I quote: “You saved my life. I came to like curling. I don’t forget you. You were very kind and taught me pleasantly.”
Prince Albert’s reputation is spreading far and wide.
Come on down to the Club and join in. There is something for everyone. The Monday afternoon Mixed League is the best of times. Fellowship abounds. Yes, we try hard, but we share a lot of laughs. Monday night there is the Ladies League. Tuesday there is the Women’s Afternoon League, which plays beside a recent innovation - The Mixed Stick League. There you do not even have to get down in the hack. My old knees love it, and so do I. Tuesday night sees the Econo Lumber League on the ice. This is where competitive curling shines. On Wednesday afternoons and Friday mornings, the Senior Men’s League plays. There is a good deal of ribbing involved in that league, but some very powerful competition as well. Wednesday and Thursday night the Conexus Credit Union League takes to the ice. This is a mixed recreational league. Watch out for Friday night special events like Family Night or Glo-curling.
The Club plays host to many play downs and fun spiels as well. The Monty Fun Spiel is one of the best known. It is for all ages, and all levels of skill.
Overlooking the ice, a fine restaurant provides excellent food and beverage, both casual or fine dining. Sip a drink, munch away, and watch the curling.
Yes, the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club contributes to the quality of life in Prince Albert.
Call 306 -763- 8402 with questions or suggestions.