No-smoking vote looms for curling club

Members of the Fort Frances Curling Club soon will get a chance to clear their throats about clearing the air this coming season.
Registration for the new season will be held this Monday (Sept. 16) from 7-9 p.m. But a potentially controversial gathering will take place early next month to decide whether smoking will be banned from the club beginning this year.
“The push is on,” noted club president Bill Gushulak, who added the issue will be voted on at its annual general meeting slated Oct. 2 at 7 p.m.
“People will have a chance to speak about the issue at the October meeting, and all members present will get to vote,” Gushulak said Monday night.
“I hope we get a good turnout so we can get an honest and fair vote that will represent our membership,” he remarked. “We don’t want 20 people to make the decision for the rest.”
While unable to predict the exact impact a smoking ban would have on club membership, Gushulak expected a reasonable trade-off.
“We won’t know what happens until we try it,” he said. “Some people may be disappointed and leave if it the vote turns out that way, but some new people probably would come because there would be no more smoking.”
Should the vote go in favour of a non-smoking building, Gushulak said it’s uncertain at this point when the new regulation would be instituted.
“It may be phased in gradually, perhaps by November, or the membership may decide to bring it in before the new season starts Oct. 7.
“That will be up to them.”
Meanwhile, Gushulak anticipated the club will equal—and possibly surpass—its 500-person membership from last season.
“The mixed league has gained in popularity over the last couple of years,” said Gushulak, who estimated 75-100 of last year’s curling group were part of the junior and Little Rockers programs.
“There’s been some interest shown by International Falls about merging their mixed league [which already plays its games in Fort Frances] with ours, which would add another eight to 10 teams.”
In related news, the Tuesday night ladies’ league, which was absent from last year’s schedule, will return for this season.
Those new to the sport or who haven’t played it in a while, as well as those currently without a team, shouldn’t feel excluded from the curling fraternity.
“The more, the merrier,” enthused Gushulak. “If people want to curl, we’ll make sure we fit them in somewhere.”
As well, players who want to participate but can’t commit to being available every week have the option of signing up as spares. Then teams needing a player for a particular night can call on spares to fill in.
A new innovation planned for this season at the club will be jet ice, which Gushulak said is used in all the major curling facilities in the country.
“The composition of the water used for the ice is altered so that the ice is smoother for curling,” he explained.
As for bonspiels, the annual ladies event is scheduled for February while the men will hit the ice in March. Gushulak noted a mixed bonspiel is being discussed, but added there still are no plans to have a junior one at this point.
Anyone wanting more information about seniors’ curling at the club can call Rob Sinclair at 274-4440. All other inquiries can be directed to Kathie Jackson (274-9438) or Gushulak at the club (274-6667).