Curling club seeing demographic shift


There seems to have been a shift in demographics at the Fort Frances Curling Club—and the positives have been all about the ladies.
While some leagues are bursting at the seams, a couple are running a little bit light early on in the new season, which kicked off last Tuesday (Oct. 12).
The Monday night ladies’ league has seen an increase in teams and is now up to 15, meaning there is one game that is played at 7 p.m. instead of 5 p.m., and one team has a bye each week.
Similarly, the Thursday night ladies’ league has 14 teams, again resulting in a weekly one-game overflow.
However, there were no great leaps in the number of curlers—and a couple of the leagues saw declines.
The Monday men’s league held steady, as did the Wednesday 7 p.m. league which has 16 teams.
But both of the early 5 p.m. men’s leagues on Wednesday and Thursday would like a couple more teams.
Wednesday night’s league, for instance, sits at five rinks this year after generally having six-eight.
As well, the Thursday afternoon ladies could use some extra bodies as they sit at four teams, often run six, and have been as high as eight.
Anyone interested in joining a league that is looking for teams can contact club manager Rick Grenda at 274-6667.
Grenda said there are a number of reasons associated with the drop-off in various leagues.
“Lots of the ladies in that [Thursday afternoon] league are up there in years and various things are happening to their body where they just can’t, whether it’s their shoulder or their knees,” he remarked.
“Or they’re snowbirds, taking off early and that type of thing.
“Everything from people getting hurt, their knee giving out, to maybe a work schedule or something like that seems to be affecting a few of the people,” Grenda added.
He said the skip generally is the one who holds a team together, and if circumstances prevent the skip from coming, more often than not, the rest of the team makes itself scarce, too.
“As soon as the skip falls apart, usually, but not always, the team goes into hiding also,” he noted.
“There’s the odd time some guys or ladies will join another team or that type of thing, or they’ll sign up as spares, but you lose that team,” he stressed.
However, there’s also a wide range of reasons why some leagues have seen a boost this year, from rookies giving the sport a shot to veterans returning after a brief hiatus.
“There are some new people aboard, some new faces,” Grenda said. “Some of the skips who haven’t curled for a year or two have come back and have put together a team with some new members.
“It’s nice to see some old faces come back into the sport,” he added.
As well, Grenda said the Muskie teams have looked to get in some extra game competition—and they’ve found it by joining two leagues, up from the one in which they participated a year ago.
“One thing that’s helped us is both the high school girls and the high school boys both wanted to play on two nights this year,” Grenda enthused.
“In prior years, they only played in one league [each].”