Ice is being laid. Registration is underway and it’s looking to be a full season of curling in Inuvik, with the Office of the Chief Public Health officer approving Return to Play plans across the territory.
Inuvik Curling Club chair Nick Saturnino said curling could be happening as early as Oct. 13 for the regular Tuesday night open league.
“We’re thinking of running our first bonspiel in November,” he said. “We’re going to see what the participation is like first.”
Junior curling and Youth curling are also proceeding on schedule, though to keep in compliance with Covid-19 restrictions the play will look a bit different.
Saturnino said there would be a maximum of 24 youth on the ice during half-ice youth league games for the five-to-eight year olds and parents would have to be aware of keeping safe distances. Registration, which is open until Oct. 25, will be limited to 32 kids.
Adults and junior curlers will have to settle a maximum of 16 players on the ice and games will be limited to two sheets at a time to maximize social distancing, but the biggest change on the ice will be the allowance of only one sweeper when the rock is in play. Bathrooms will be for emergencies only and access to the Midnight Sun Complex will be cut off to ensure MSC staff aren’t forced to put in extra hours to ensure the building is sanitized.
Saturnino said the club won’t be opening a bar this year either, at least under the current system. Talk about potentially opening the bar during a bonspiel has been passed around, but for now the priority is getting people playing.
“For adult curling, we’re going to have 16 people walk in, they’re going to curl, they’re going to walk off and they’ll walk out,” he said. “If we have a second draw, we’ll have another 16 people come in and do the same thing.
“So we’re never going to have more than 16 to 20 people in here.”
Covid-19 restrictions aside, Saturnino said the club was doing quite well this fall, with the early bird draw for the $30,000 mega-raffle pulling in $5,000 in sales with a week yet to go, which he said would allow for better planning for the Junior team to travel to Yellowknife for the Rock the Rings event in early 2021.
Saturnino said getting curling started on time will also mean the club’s usual gamut of bonspiels would be proceeding as usual. He added that in the absence of the national championships that were cancelled earlier in the year, with Inuvik set to send three teams to represent the NWT, the club has offered to host the two championships the named the two championship teams again.