The Trail Curling Association (TCA) is poised to welcome some of the best curlers in the province at the Torchlight Brewing Classic this weekend.
The club will host the first BC Curling Tour and World Curling Tour event at the Trail Memorial Centre from Sept. 24-26.
Nelson resident and Kootenay Savings Super League curler, Nathan Small, is lead for top-seeded Team Sebastien Robillard, and was instrumental in bringing the Tour to Trail.
“It’s kind of a big deal for Trail, that’s for sure,” said Small. “It came down to the ice maker for the Trail Curling Club, Mike Williams. He is one of the top ice makers in B.C. and he wanted to throw an event.”
Williams was part of the ice technician team for the 2020 BC Men’s Provincials and BC Scotties in Calgary, a member of the ice team for the National Scotties in Penticton, and also an ice technician for the World Championship in Lethbridge in 2019.
Small, a regular competitor on the World Tour, was able to get Torchlight Brewing Co. on board as sponsor, and along with the efforts of the TCA, sign up enough teams for the competition.
At stake is a prize pot worth $10,000. In addition, teams that compete on the Tour are eligible to accumulate Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) points. The team with the most points as of Dec. 7 will earn a berth into the 2022 BC Mens championship.
The field is led by four men’s teams skipped by Robillard, Rob Nobert, Neil Dangerfield, and Paul Cseke. Also competing are a U23 team led by skip Matt McCrady, a Junior team skipped by Connor Kent, and two seniors teams skipped by Mark Longworth and Tony Pellerin from Cranbrook.
Team Kent is coming off a big win at the Anita Cochrane Memorial Junior Cashspiel on Sept. 19, one of the most competitive and prestigious events on the BC Junior Tour.
Nobert is another well known figure in Greater Trail curling circles as he played lead for the BC champion West Kootenay team comprised of Deane Horning, Don Freschi, and Fred Thomson, who competed in the 2005 Brier.
Virtually all the curlers have competed in provincial, national and international events, so Trail curling fans can expect elite play throughout the weekend.
The Classic will also include events off the ice, with teams planning to hit Redstone Golf Course for a round of golf and enjoy a social craft-beer tasting courtesy of Torchlight.
“Because it’s such a long season, and because it is demanding on the players, we wanted to do something fun, get some golf in there, have the craft-beer tasting,” said Small.
Organizers hope to make the World Tour an annual event, and Small is confident that players will be impressed both on and off the ice.
“As someone that competes in the Trail Super League, I can attest that Mike Williams, the head ice maker, makes fantastic ice and Trail’s rocks are also excellent,” said Small. “You can expect excellent ice at this event and rocks that will curl consistently.”
Games start on Friday with the draws going at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., and on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. The semifinal on Sunday starts at 9 a.m. and the final match goes at 1 p.m.
Spectators are welcome on a first-come-first-serve basis to a maximum of 50 in the viewing area, and COVID restrictions in place. Admission is free.