The Steinbach Curling Club is trying to bounce back from the dip in numbers from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Don Neufeld, executive of the curling club, says he wants to see the community try curling. 

Neufeld says on Fridays, they have an evening fun league where anyone interested can play. He says your performance is not what matters, it’s the fun that does. Next year, they are planning to host Learn To Curl Clinics for those who want lessons. 

“We have the room to expand. We have the facility to expand, and I think if people would just come and look and try, they just might like it, and it would definitely grow the sport,” he says. 

Neufeld says stick curling has become popular with those who have knee and hip problems.  

“The older generation is really catching on to this type of the sport,” he says. 

A way they’re hoping to grow the sport is through the Steinbach Curling Bonspiel, which they hosted earlier this month. The week-long event included split, senior, men, ladies and junior categories. Teams came from Steinbach, Ste. Anne, Winnipeg and other communities.  

He says while they have been struggling to recruit teams, they had approximately 160 curlers at the event—a number he is happy with. The stick category, which had 20 teams, was their largest division.  

There is also interest from younger people with six teams in the U15 junior category. However, they had to cancel the U19 games as teams pulled out because of high school curling provincials. 

He says there weren’t enough teams in the mixed and ladies divisions, so they combined them. They also hoped for a stronger turnout with the senior category, where they had eight teams compete.  

Looking ahead, they are hoping to make changes for categories that Neufeld says had weaker turnouts. They will be tweaking the schedule as teams expressed a change for it.  

They will also need to have more volunteers for the next bonspiel. 

Neufeld says the 60 spectators filled the stands on Saturday, especially when the juniors were in action. He thanks the spectators and sponsors for their support. 

With files from Kenton Dyck.