B.C. Mixed Doubles Curling Championship kicks off on Wednesday

B.C. Mixed Doubles Curling Championship kicks off on Wednesday

Paul Rodgers

Over the month of February regional qualifiers were held across B.C. and now 32 of the province’s best curlers will compete for the title in Cranbrook at the B.C. Mixed Doubles Championships.

“The mixed doubles sport has been around for about ten years and it’s been extremely popular in Europe,” said Chris Medford, facility manager of the Cranbrook Curling Centre where the championship will be held.

Medford explained that mixed doubles was invented by a Canadian by the name of Warren Hansen in 2002 as a way of making it faster and more exciting.

“Pro Canada kinda said, ‘well we don’t think it’s going to fly’ and sure enough now it’s an Olympic sport and we’re playing catchup.”

He added that the event was one of the most-watched events of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games, and that the play style as well as curling as a whole is gaining popularity.

“We’re trying to push curling in the community,” Medford said. “It was the sport in the community before hockey became as popular as it is and now it’s gaining some more traction. So we’re trying to create some excitement around it, which is why there’s been so much curling activity over the last few years.

At the end of each year’s season, Curl B.C. looks for hosts for the various provincial events, and over the years Cranbrook has hosted numerous regional events as well as the Canada Cup. Medford said that what makes this week’s championship special is it gives Cranbrook members to compete at a provincial event.

“For the most part, we’ve always had to travel to Vancouver, to Kelowna, Kamloops, so we thought let’s start hosting these events here ourselves, let’s be known as the big club in the Kootenays and let’s put ourselves on the map here.”

This Championship begins with a first draw game on Wednesday, March 7 at 2:00 p.m. with opening ceremonies taking place later that day at 5:30 and a second draw happening at 7:30. Then Thursday and Friday there will be games at 8:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Admission is free for the whole event that will see 16 teams of two compete for the chance to go on to Nationals in Leduc, AB.

And finally, while most of the doubles teams will have a combined age of around 45, a special honorary mixed doubles has been put together, honouring Kay Fargher and James Hong. With a combined age of 182, the two curlers have been proud members of the curling community since day one.

Curling is truly an important part of Cranbrook’s history, and prominent curlers have emerged from all over the Kootenays throughout the years. Events like this, however, both honour the past and illuminate that the future for curling in Cranbrook is bright.