There has not been much communication - or as much as we would like - to the membership as a whole regarding ice. We are hoping to correct that so expect to see more of these 'Cody's Corners' coming out in coming weeks or months.
The purpose of these communications is to try to educate the membership on what's happening or what to expect when it comes to the ice.
I would first like to welcome all of the new imports from our sister (or brother depending on how it identifies) Esquimalt Curling Club. The ice staff thanks you for putting your trust in our hands to keep you safe in these uncertain times. We would also like to shout out each new team to our club for being so vocally appreciative of the ice and everything else that we have going on.
There are a few growing pains for new members. We have no dividers separating our sheets. The reason for this is long winded but ultimately it comes down to creating a better playing surface. If you have questions regarding it further, please just ask us in person, our ice techs are all willing and glad to help educate or help.
Having no dividers is a growing pain that doesn't take long to get used to. Essentially, we all want to feel and be safe. Our suggestion to members is that if you are sweeping a hit, to follow it the whole way down. Skips, talk amongst yourselves about who may be 'catching' a stone that might run into another sheet. Sweepers for the most part need to be cognizant on the angle a stone is going to be directed after contact.
Bottom line is that you have 4 teams or 16 players sharing a divider. A rogue stone should be caught.
This shouldn't be a surprise to many that have been in our club for, really, any amount of time, that we have curl. This is on purpose. It is quite literally the name of the game that we all play and love. This is achieved by sanding our stones. This was most recently done this past Sunday (January 30th).
Over time stones lose their curl. The longer stones go without being sanded the straighter our 'ice' is as a whole. I'm sure we can all think of playing in club bonspiels out of town where you have rocks that curl a foot on draw weight or where hits actually fall backwards. This is because the stones aren't being sanded often enough to give curl that we would expect. We try to make sure that we have a consistent 4 feet of curl on draws in our club.
When stones are first sanded we will have more curl than normal, and after a long enough time, they become much straighter than the expected 4 feet. It's a battle that we try to stay on top of so you can expect consistency from week to week, though sometimes we do lose this battle and you end up with more or less than intended.
The rules of thumb in our club are never be tight of the broom, don't dump the stone and make sure you have a good amount of rotation (3 rotations minimum from hogline to hogline). Easy right?
We have been trying to host a free “Ice 101” to all members that want to understand more about the medium that you all play on. This would encompass all things to do with ice, rocks, refrigeration, air quality etc. The large part of the Ice 101 would be a Q&A, where we can try to answer the questions that might be most beneficial to each individual. Unfortunately, current restrictions do not allow us to hold one. We are hoping that by the end of the season restrictions might be lifted enough to host one.
It wouldn't be a communication from the ice staff if we didn't address our expectations of the curlers: Please check your grippers. We are mostly concerned with what the INSIDE of your grippers look like. The insides of grippers are a great place for them to accumulate lint and other debris. This then sticks to your sliders through static and then gets planted into the ice. Please, even if half of you reading this take your shoes home and give them a 5 minute clean, our ice will be noticeably cleaner as a whole.
I also need to address the nice holes that have developed around our hacks. This is from some nice warm knees that tend to sit for extended times when cleaning stones. This is avoidable. If your knee needs to be down to clean your stone, place it on the rubber of the hack, or place a glove down for your knee to rest on. I guarantee either option is much softer than the ice you like to suck up with your pants.
Bottom line is that the club doesn't have one single owner. This is a private club and each and every member has ownership of it. Treat it like your own and respect it. Anything you do to diminish the ice is going to be felt by the league's following you.
Lastly, I'd like to please implore you all that if you have questions, or concerns of any kind. Please seek us out. We want to help you, we truly do. If you're upset with something happening in the club or on the ice, we want to either fix it or educate you to why things are the way that they currently are. Either way, no question or concern is too trivial for us to want to try to address.
Keep curling, and even if the ice doesn't treat you well, the ice in the bar surely will.