TRAVERSE CITY — The next step in getting a curling club started in Traverse City occurs on Saturday.
That’s when clubs from around the state will be coming to Centre ICE Arena to do demonstrations and tutorials on the sport as well as play competitive games. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. as locals continue to drum up interest to start a club.
“Essentially, what we have happening is we have an off-ice session where we have someone giving a talk every 20 minutes or so,” said Don Piche, who has been at the head of the effort to bring a curling club to Traverse City. “Just kind of a brief talk on what the sport’s about, how it’s played, the scoring, the rules, safety issues, the history, that kind of stuff. Then we have three sheets set up on the ice. One of the lanes is going to be specifically for a game. Four games are going on through the whole day.
“The other facet of the open house is we’re going to have a demonstration. People will actually register. It’s a donation of $10. They will get a chance to be on the ice and get instruction on how to present the rock. They will actually get a chance to go out and throw a couple rocks, do a little sweeping and try it themselves.”
Teams are coming from already-established curling clubs out of Lansing, Kalamazoo, Detroit, Lewiston and Midland. Those teams were contacted a few weeks ago to see if they would be interested in taking part in the open house and all were more than willing to help grow the game to a new area.
Piche thinks a league could be formed in Traverse City if at least 50 people appear to be interested in playing. Early indications are that it shouldn’t be hard to reach that goal. One day after starting a Traverse City Curling Facebook page, Piche said 100 people liked it. Within a week that number jumped to 300 and almost 700 have now liked the page. How many of those are really interested in playing in the league remains to be seen, but Piche is confident the group will be able to proceed and begin play by late next winter. The open house is set up to demonstrate the game to as many as 500 people.