Alberton–Hips and knees seem to be common talking points when stick curlers get together for bonspiels and championships.
Harvey Holm calls a shot on one ice while fellow Alberton stick curler Audrey Callaghan watches as Cornwall curler Gloria Clarke calls a shot on an adjacent ice. Stick curlers, when they are playing skip, can sweep from their hog line in. Their teammates deliver their stones using a delivery stick. – Eric McCarthy
Etta Reid, who teamed up with fellow Cornwall stick curler Elaine Hughes last week in Alberton to win their second provincial women’s stick curling title in five years, says she’s just back in competition after taking last year off following hip replacement.
They edged perennial women’s champions Gloria Clarke and Ruth Stavert, also from Cornwall, 5-4 in the championship final
At 79 years of age, Sterling Stratton has just won his fifth stick curling title in the Open Division. The Cornwall curler had given up the traditional four-person sport at age 50 because of arthritic knees.
He was 60 when, at the urging of Ernie Stavert, he got back into curling. Stavert had just pioneered stick curling on P.E.I., in 1998, using a length of plumbing pipe with a 45-degree elbow fastened to the end of it as a delivery device.
Stavert, the coordinator for this year’s stick provincials, is thrilled with the growth of the sport. ”It’s a very congenial game,” he said.
“It keeps people in curling who mightn’t otherwise be in it,” he said.
Stavert estimates there are now at least 125 curlers in the province, either in stick doubles or still playing the traditional four-person game, who rely on a delivery stick.
Most of those curlers, he said, are from the five rural clubs, but he noted efforts are underway to get the stick curling sport going in Summerside.
“It’s a significant contributor to curling club memberships,” Stavert acknowledged. “If they didn’t have people using sticks, their clubs would be in much different financial situation than what they are.”
Clarke is thrilled with the stick game’s growth. “Stick curling is a great sport because you’re always involved in the game. You have to skip an end (call the game) and you have to throw an end, so you’re never idle and you’re always involved,” she explained. “It’s short. It’s an hour, so you don’t freeze to death. It’s great for people like us who are getting older and we have a bad knee or we have a hip replacement. It allows us to continue curling.”