When Marlene Hall’s husband came home one day in 1974 and said he had signed them up for something fun, she had no idea her life was about to change.
“He told me we were doing a curling funspiel, and I said, ‘what’s that?’” said Hall. “We were teamed up with two experienced curlers and played six games in two days. I could barely move for days after, but I was hooked.”
For the last 45 years, Hall and her husband have played and coached curling around BC as work took them from Nelson to Fort St. John, Smithers and Lantzville before they returned to Powell River, where Hall grew up, in 2007.
“Whenever we moved, one of our first stops was always the curling club,” said Hall. “It really is a way to make instant friends, and the people I’ve met are so valuable to me.”
Hall passed the love of curling on to her sons as well, signing them up for their first bonspiels at age seven. Her older son Sean took up the game again when he moved to Australia.
“Curling started in Australia because a few Canadian immigrants missed the sport,” said Hall. “Sean was actually the 16th person to join Team Australia, and they went to worlds in 2007 and 2008. This year, Sean was asked to join a new team, and last month they won the Australian National Men’s Curling Championship. Considering they had very little practice time and were one man short during the competition, it was a great accomplishment.”
While Hall has competed in the past, her focus is more on what curling can bring to people in the community.
“Curling really is a sport for life,” she said. “We have young people signing up year after year for our school program, and we encourage them to continue because some universities have curling scholarships. We also had an 81-year-old who wanted to learn, and she’s been having a great time curling for a few years now.”
Powell River Curling Club has been working hard to improve its facility, according to Hall. Club president Don Mitchinson has spearheaded a grant application process, which has allowed the club to update its ice-cooling plant, as well as increase accessibility to the facility.
“We now have a chairlift to the second floor, accessible washrooms, one of our new doors will be wheelchair accessible, new lockers and flooring, and the parking lot has been repaved,” said Hall. “We’ll have a completely new look when members come back later this month, and that’s all thanks to Don.”
Hall encourages people to attend the club’s open house on Saturday, September 21, from 10 am to 1 pm at 5750 Crown Avenue, to learn more about the sport and the different leagues. They can also go to powellrivercurling.com for more information.
“If you are looking for something to do, check us out,” said Hall. “We might be the community you are looking for.”