The Quesnel Legion pipes led in curlers from across the province to mark the opening ceremonies of the BC Club Championships.
Ten teams, including two Quesnel rinks, will be competing for a spot in the National Club Championships in Ottawa in late-November.
Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson and Cariboo District Regional Director Mary Sjostrom welcomed the curlers to the Quesnel Curling Centre, with both noting the opening ceremonies were taking place on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
“It’s an important day for us to reflect on our relationships with the First Nations who resided here a lot longer than our western settlement,” he said.
The club championships were open to any club team in B.C. due to COVID-19. Usually teams must qualify, but with the pandemic, any eligible team was allowed to play. Curlers must not have competed in provincial championships for a period of years before being be eligible to play in the club championships.
Teams skipped by Brenda Ernst and Shane Yamamoto are hoping home-ice advantage will lead to success. Four women’s teams and six men’s teams will be competing. The Quesnel rinks are the only northern teams competing in the championships.
“I hope you really enjoy the opportunity that you have when you’re not curling,” Sjostrom said, addressing the out-of-town teams.
“Whoever comes out and competes from this club into Ottawa, I hope you bring home the trophy. I know in 2017 and 2018 we did that as British Columbia.”
The BC Club Championships are the first curling championships held in B.C. since the start of the pandemic.
“The Quesnel Curling Centre has made extra efforts to host this playdown, and I would like to make mention of our club manager Dave Plant and his team of volunteers,” Quesnel Curling Club president Ralph Givens said.
“They spent some long days down here preparing the ice surface and the curling stones for this competition.”
Regional Governor of Curl BC Terry Philips also thanked Plant and local volunteers.
“We are delighted to have Quesnel host the first 2021 championship of our fall championship season,” Philips said. “Thank you to each one of you for entering this year’s event even though there is so much uncertainty as we come out of this pandemic.”
The championships are open to spectators at the Quesnel Curling Centre, with proof of vaccination required. Up to 50 spectators will be allowed in the upper level lounge, and the finals are set for Sunday, Oct. 3 at 9 a.m.
“The club curlers are the beating heart of our sport,” Philips said.
“Curling would not thrive without your support.”
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