SACKVILLE, N.B. – She just turned 68 years old but she is in more beautiful, in better condition and more welcoming than ever.
Yes, the venerable old Sackville Curling Club is once again offering up opportunities for competition, recreation and entertainment in a much-improved atmosphere than it did 68 years ago when the first rocks were thrown along the three sheets of ice inside the building on Lansdowne Street.
President Tom Trueman, entering his second year at the helm, says the club is in great shape financially and recent upgrades mean the facility should be here and functioning for many years to come.
The cost of constructing and equipping the current club in 1949 was $55,000 – compare that to the nearly $100,000 retrofit carried out just five years ago. With a contribution from Kraft Canada and the sale of shares to the members the work was carried out locally and brought new life to the centre. When one enters the second level you will see one of the brightest lit ice venues anywhere – due to new lighting and the fresh white interior.
New windows and an outside coating greatly improved the overall appearance and Trueman says those who invested in the shares will soon be fully repaid.
Thus, the lady is more beautiful and in better shape than ever. And as member Don MacIntyre says she is “a really welcoming place.”
In its very early days of existence the club was rather exclusive and elitist. Membership was limited to professional people, academics and businessmen. But it soon became obvious that if curling was to continue in Sackville it would require greater membership to keep it financially viable.
From an early beginning when three younger people, including your columnist were inducted the number of curlers has steadily grown and now is capable of serving 200. Today, the memberships ranges from 150 to 200, with about 40 per cent being female. In addition, the club provides ice time for the little rocks, juniors and curlers from Mount Allison.
Trueman stresses that membership is open to any man or woman interested in the game, with regular membership held at a low of $275, while first-year curlers are charged $129 for all the privileges. Instructional sessions are offered to those interested in learning the basics and ethics of curling. Those considering taking up curling might begin by contacting any of the members.
While the public is free to observe the on-ice action, it would be wise to contact a member first. For security reasons the main entry is kept locked, thus making it inconvenient for walk-ins to gain entry.
Curling is scheduled for every day of the week from October until late March. The morning men’s group meets on Monday and Thursday mornings. The morning women’s section curls on Tuesday and Friday mornings. The men hold competitions on Monday night and the women on Tuesday nights, with mixed doubles on Sunday evenings. The Border League, featuring rinks from Amherst and Sackville square off on Wednesday nights. Mixed matches are held on Thursday and Friday evenings, while Saturday is kept open for bonspiels and any unexpected events.
Working with Trueman on the executive are treasurer Anna Acton and secretary Julia Hunter. Those heading special committees include Morris Carter, Kathy Best, Cathy Johnson, Nick Portman, Greg Estabrooks, Lloyd Varner and Peter Oulton.
The club rents office space on the first floor and has a large banquet room on the second floor, which is also available for rent. In addition, the building houses a full kitchen, bar, observation room and bathroom facilities on the second floor. The control systems are located on the ground floor along with dressing rooms and lockers and with other facilities.
As Tom Trueman says in summing up the offerings of the Sackville Curling Club, “Where could you find a more comfortable place to settle down on a cold snowy night in winter than in our cozy observation area where you can enjoy the action along with plenty of nourishment from the bar and good fellowship?”
And obviously a good many members take advantage of the opportunity – warmth, fellowship, entertainment and refreshments – all in one place.