INNISFAIL – Members from the Innisfail Junior Curling League joined other curlers from around the region for the first junior bonspiel at the Innisfail Curling Club.
The two-day event for U-15 and U-18 curlers took place Jan. 27 and 28.
“This is the first year that it’s been done,” said Nancy McInerney, a bonspiel committee member. “We wanted to have a junior bonspiel in Innisfail to help the kids and parents see what it’s like. We have awesome ice and a great facility here.”
Players from Innisfail and across the province, as young as 10 and as old as 17, took part in the event.
McInerney said the junior curling league practises on Mondays and Wednesdays in Innisfail.
“We have two junior leagues here at the Innisfail Curling Club, but this bonspiel was open to anyone in the province who wanted to come,” she said, noting curlers from Calgary, Red Deer, Airdrie, Sundre and Innsifail took part in the event.
There were a total of eight teams in the U-15 category and eight teams in the U-18 category for a total of 64 curlers in the bonspiel.
“It worked out really nicely that we had even numbers in the two groups,” said McInerney. “It worked out perfectly that all eight teams played at the same time from each group.”
A bonspiel is a different experience than league games, said McInerney, pointing out the competitive aspect with prizes to be won.
“Teams were placed in pools and played three round robin games (each) before playing one playoff game. For some, it was their first bonspiel and for others, they had curled for years,” explained McInerney.
“I think everybody had a great time. Parents and grandparents came out to watch. We had great support from our sponsors in town too,” she added. “That helps make the event a success.”
One curler who participated was 14-year-old Milanne Dubray-Remple from Innisfail. She has been curling for three years and was excited to participate in her first junior bonspiel.
“It was a lot of fun. I thought it was a good experience for some people that have never (curled),” said Dubray-Remple. “It was also nice to meet people from different places in Alberta.”
Dubray-Remple said she loves the teamwork in curling.
“Everyone is so supportive and nice. You make a lot of friends. It’s really fun to throw the rock, to sweep and to skip,” Dubray-Remple concluded.
Nancy McInerney, bonspiel committee member
“We wanted to have a junior bonspiel in Innisfail to help the kids and parents see what it’s like. We have awesome ice and a great facility here.”