For many of my readers, curling season has ended. Many more of you are seeing the season winding down. The women's World Championships are done, and the finals of the men's Worlds are coming in just a few short hours. Next week, the Player's Championship, the culminating event of the Grand Slam of Curling season, is coming. Many of our clubs have gone to slush, or will in the next two weeks. My home club goes to slush on April 21st.
Curling is done for the year, or is very nearly so. At least, that's what conventional wisdom says. But here in the US, it's not exactly true.
One of the disadvantages of new curling clubs here in the States is the fact that they are playing not on dedicated curling ice, but hockey arena ice. That disadvantage becomes an advantage come spring and summertime. Ice time is cheaper during those times, and so a lot of arena clubs have been spring and summer clubs.
Several clubs, because the ice is available, have summer bonspiels. Here in the Northeastern US, there are at least three summerspiels that I have heard about. Pittsburgh hosts their famous TropiCurl 'spiel in early July. 48 teams compete on five sheets of curling ice. It sold out last year. The Anthracite Curling Club hosts a new 'spiel in late July this year - and I plan to be there. They're located in Wilkes-Barre, PA. I'll also be making a side trip to Scranton - The Electric City.
Between the two Pennsylvania bonspiels, Cape Cod Curling Club hosts FOUR of them, on dedicated curling ice - they're NOT an arena club, but they fire up their compressors and make ice just for these events in mid-July. I've never been, but I hear they are a fantastic time.
For those farther south, Triangle Curling Club in North Carolina hosts the Carolina Classic in early August. They're a club that has traditionally had a later season - they've held clinics throughout May in years past, and in 2011 hosted the GNCC Arena Championships in June (this year, that's hosted by Vermont's Woodstock Curling Club). Triangle is a club that really gets it - year-round curling has appeal.
I've heard that one club in Ontario - Gravenhurst - is also having a summer 'spiel. I have yet to confirm that, but I am very happy to see that Canadians want to keep curling as much as we do down here in South Canada.
This is by no means a complete list of spring and summer curling available - in the States, you'll find that here (don't think we missed the Hollywood one on the list for July) - and for the rest of the world, check here. Please, support summer curling. This way, in future years, maybe we can all have year-round curling, rather than toasting our compressors and lamenting the end of our favorite season.