See You on the Ice
Coastal Carolina Curling Club hopes to open their own, 11,000-square-foot facility in Brunswick Forest by next fall.
Curling enthusiasts can get excited, because Coastal Carolina Curling Club is coming to Leland!
For those of you who don’t know much about curling, or have only caught a glimpse of it on TV, be prepared to get hooked on this increasingly popular sport.
“What’s great about curling is that it is a sport anybody can play,” says Jason Allen, board and building committee member of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Coastal Carolina Curling Club. “It doesn’t matter what skill level you are. You can be anywhere from club level to Olympic level. You don’t need to be athletic, and there are modifications that can be made to help all abilities perform at their best.”
For example, Allen knows of a centenarian woman from Vancouver who has made headlines for playing for more than years.
What exactly is curling? While there is some discussion as to the origin and date of when people began playing, a form of the game can be evidenced in early paintings, such in a 16th-century painting by Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel, in which people are depicted pushing what appear to be stones across a frozen pond. One of its first written mentions was in the form of a recorded game challenge from John McQuhin of Scotland in 1540, and in the 1800s, Scotland was the first to recognize the first curling clubs.
Today, it’s an Olympic and Paralympic winter sport and played by men and women all over the world.
As for the object of the game, simply put, curling is a sport played on ice in which two teams take turns sliding polished granite stones (weighing approximately 38 to 44 pounds) across the ice toward a target, earning points for proximity. After the stone is pushed into play, players use brooms to warm the ice and thereby help to guide the stone’s trajectory, speed and distance.
Not much gear is needed to play. In addition to the club providing curling stones and brooms, a beginner typically wears flat-bottomed sneakers, though rubber slip-on grippers for shoes can be purchased for added traction. More advanced players may choose to use shoes specifically made for curling: right or left-handed shoes with one shoe being a slider (commonly with a Teflon sole) and the other a gripper.
Since Coastal Carolina Curling Club’s beginning in 2011, they have enjoyed playing at The Wilmington Ice House, but because of its availability, ice time is limited.
When they heard of a 1.5-acre land deal in Brunswick Forest on Kay Todd Road near The House of Pickleball, they jumped at the possibility of building a facility specifically designated for curling. The club procured funding in July 2020, and while currently in the financial proceedings because of COVID setbacks and building supply shortages, they hope at the earliest, to open in the fall of 2022.
“We are still fundraising and accepting donations,” Allen says. “We hope to meet our goal very soon.”
The new 11,000-square-foot facility will include three sheets of curling, locker rooms, a lounge area and a prep kitchen. With their own building specifically designated to curling, the club has the capability to offer ice time like they have never been able to previously.
Allen sees many exciting opportunities for the future of the club in their new home. Building curling leagues and offering learn-to-curl events is just the beginning.
“We will be able to offer day, evening and weekend curling and host corporate events, tournaments and birthday parties,” he says.
“We have the possibility to start a juniors program, an after-school program, partner up with schools like UNCW and be able to work with Wounded Warrior Project like we had in the past.”
They may also consider offering prepaid memberships so people will be able to jump right in and start playing.
“A goal would be to have up to 90 members,” Allen says. “But our capacity would be about three hundred-ish.”
In the club’s new location, the curling season would run from September to May, and in the off season, the mats could be taken up and the facility rented out.
“It’s a ‘build it and they will come’ type of project,” Allen says. “It’s one of the fastest-growing sports, and our club is seeing good interest.”
The club welcomes newcomers and veterans alike.
“I am excited about the diverse demographic and the opportunity to include everyone in the sport of curling. Everyone has a blast once they try it,” Allen says.
Want to join?
For more information about Coastal Carolina Curling Club or how to make a donation, contact Jason Allen at email@example.com. For the latest club happenings, check out their Facebook page @coastalcurling and visit their website at coastalcurling.com.