Marpole club helps curb costs for student curlers

Sir Winston Churchill Secondary gearing up for provincials

The Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School girl’s curling team practices at Marpole Curling Club.
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Reported by Liam Hill-Allan

Without the Marpole Curling Club’s support for one South Vancouver high school team, the high costs of the sport would make it impossible for the school to compete.

For Sir Winston Churchill Secondary’s curling teams, the club’s help means the difference between existing, or not.

The curling club provides free ice time for the high school’s curling teams, enabling the girls’ team to not only win their regional division but place sixth at the 2019 High School Curling Provincials Championship earlier this month.

“This club has been very passionate about encouraging youth into the sport,” said Pam Langham, the general manager of the club.

Churchill’s coach, Emma Wong, said at a regular price of $160 a session, practising at the club would be unaffordable without the club’s subsidies.

Wong said while some schools can provide funding for their curling team’s ice time, those funds are unavailable for Churchill’s program.

“Unfortunately, it hasn’t been something that we’ve been able to get,” she said.

Students shoulder the costs

While the team is able to save on rink time, Wong says equipment costs are still placed on students.

“The students all pay for everything,” said Wong.

And the costs associated with the sport are just one issue facing high school curling teams.

According to Janet Dunkin, curling commissioner at B.C. School Sports, Vancouver’s junior curling scene has always been small, but the sport become less popular among high schoolers in recent years.

“There’s fewer people to encourage them to curl,” said Dunkin. “You kind of really need somebody at the high school level to promote it.”

While Wong said the team has attracted interest from other students, she said that expanding the team can be hard.

“In terms of getting a team, it has been difficult because they all have to be willing to commit the time to practice and then to go and compete,” said Wong.

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