Curling Masters Seeking Volunteers

Curling Masters seeking volunteers

With less than three month to go until Coaldale hosts the 2014 ATB Canadian Masters Curling Championship the push is on to sign up volunteers to help run the event.

The championship will be hosted at the Coaldale Granite Club Mar. 31 to Apr. 6. Roger Hohm and Larry Taylor are co-chairing the host committee and said they have reached a point in the organization and preparation for the event where they need to know who their volunteers will be.

Hohm said given the history of volunteerism in the community and the support for previous curling events he has no doubt there will be enough volunteers but with less than three month to go, volunteers need to sign up so schedules can be drawn up and volunteer shirts ordered.

“We really need people who can volunteer during the day,” said Hohm.

He noted volunteers are especially needed for the team hospitality areas, hosting the teams taking part in the championship. All that is required is the ability to commit a minimum of 12 hours over the seven day event, offer up a friendly smile and enjoy meeting new people.

“It’s coming really fast now,” said Hohm of the national championship for master curlers from across the country.

He said the last couple of committee meetings have been focused on ironing out the details of the actual event. There are 12 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams expected to arrive in Coaldale at the end of March for the competition. Teams represent each province and territory in Canada for a total of 96 competitors.

A few local curlers might event get in on the action as local curlers will help make up the pool of players teams can select from if they have an injury or illness and need help filling out their foursome.

“There is a chance we may have a local player sub in for a game or two,” said Hohm but he added players who are coming to compete in a national event are going to play even if they aren’t at 100 per cent.

The event will kick off on Sunday, Mar. 30 with an opening social for the teams, the sponsors and committee chairs at the Gem of the West Museum. Monday, Mar. 31 the teams will get a chance to check out the ice before the first draw begins at 3 p.m. followed by the opening ceremony at 6 p.m.

The day’s second draw will follow the ceremony and then action runs Tuesday through Friday beginning at 8:30 a.m. each day with four draws per day.

The lone exception will be Wednesday, Apr. 2 when there will be one less draw so that teams can be part of a unique social event aimed at giving them a little taste of Southern Alberta.

They will be treated to a Cowboy Country Night at the Readymade Community Centre complete with a steak barbecue and local entertainment.

Saturday the semi-finals are scheduled with a closing banquet that evening at the Lethbridge Lodge.

On Sunday, Apr. 6 the bronze medal games will take place in the morning followed by the gold medal games in the afternoon.

“It’s in pretty good shape, time-wise and money-wise,” said Taylor.

He is also confident the event will draw enough volunteers to cover all of the championship needs but people just need to sign up so the organizing committee can begin assigning volunteers where they will be needed.

“We know we’ll get enough volunteers, we just don’t know who they are yet,” he added.

Anyone who is planning to volunteer is encouraged to contact Volunteer Coordinator Shanny Geers. She can be reached by email at shannyg@shaw.ca or by phone at 403-315-5452.  Volunteers can also leave their information with the Granite Club at 403-345-4742.

Geers said volunteers who know where they want to donate their time can request specific areas and they will be assigned there if those postings are available or they can simply sign up to work where there is a need.

“We can put them where we need them,” she said.

With the championship drawing ever closer in the coming weeks, Taylor said the committee is starting to see all of its planning come into play.

“I’m excited about the possibilities.”

Taylor said he feels Coaldale will be able to host one of the best Masters’ championships the country has seen in recent years.

One of the new editions to this year’s event is live streaming on the internet.

The last four games including the two semi-finals and the two finals will be streamed.

“That’s a huge thing for this kind of event,” said Taylor.

It has never been done before as the Masters don’t receive the same televised coverage other national curling championships do in Canada. He would like to see that change and feels the live streaming of this year’s event may help to make that possible in the future.

He said it’s also a bonus for family and friends to be able to watch their teams in the finals via the internet.

Overall the organization committee is excited to be drawing closer every day to the event they have already been working on for over a year.