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UPDATE: Curling clubs closing for season

Return to Grey-Lockdown provides too much uncertainty going forward for Port Arthur Curling Club and Kakabeka Falls Curling Club.
Bryan Burgess
Bryan Burgess gets ready to release a shot on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020 in Tbaytel Major League of Curling play at the Port Arthur Curling Club. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY -- The return to lock-down status means curlers will have two fewer places to finish off the 2020-21 season.

Directors with the Port Arthur Curling Club on Sunday, and the Kakabeka Falls Curling Club on Saturday, announced their facilities will shut its doors until next fall, saying the sport simply can't continue this winter.

"With the unknown date of when (or if) curling will be allowed, the board has made the difficult decision to close the club for the remainder of the 2021 season," reads a note posted to the PACC Facebook page.

"When we decided to open the club in the fall, our goal was to curl as much and as long as we could, as safely as we could. And we did just that; however, our time together turned out to be a lot shorter than we all would have liked. When the club closed in December of 2020 we anticipated that we would be able to return to play in January when the restrictions were lifted.

"None of us could have foreseen that Thunder Bay would be in such dire circumstances. Please know that this was not a decision that we took lightly and came only after lengthy discussions of all possibilities."

Directors at the Kakabeka Falls Curling Club said they were left with little choice, given the lock-down news.

"We were fortunate to have curled a half-season during this pandemic and it was great to see the majority of the members return this year. It was still a great season with great curling and great ice."

Officials with the club say they plan to refund members 20 per cent of their registration fees for the season, saying by keeping the club open two extra months during the province-wide stay-at-home order, extra expenses were incurred.

Organizers of the Tbaytel Major League of Curling last week said they were still hopeful they could complete their season. They had been splitting play between the Port Arthur Curling Club and the Kakabeka Falls Curling Club.

The province on Monday plans to apply an emergency brake and return the District of Thunder Bay to Grey-Lockdown status, with the number of active COVID-19 cases in the area standing at 343.

Fort William Curling Club has not yet indicated publicly if it plans to stay open for the remainder of the season.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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