HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
Another curling season, whether competitive or recreational, is upon us.
Time to get out your curling checklist and track down where you put your equipment. Did you use it last year or was that two years ago? Thanks COVID-19 pandemic.
Sliding shoe? Check. Broom? Check. Shoes? Check. Warm clothes? Check. Multi-page Return-to-Play information package? Say what?
If you’re a member of the 65-year-old City View Curling Club, that last item might be the most important piece of equipment you’ll need to familiarize yourself with, if you plan on curling this season.
Each club in the Ottawa Valley Curling Association will have similar Return-to-Play protocols because of the pandemic. The City View Curling Club’s 12-page document is quite thorough and a must read.
The City View board of directors and a Return-to-Play committee created a plan to allow the club to open this fall in a safe manner and provide a version of curling that is close to “normal.”
The club’s report is built on the foundation of following the COVID-19 health and safety guidelines initiated by official health, municipal, provincial and federal groups.
Anyone 12 years of age and older, including club members, guests, staff and contractors, must be fully vaccinated and show proof of their vaccination status to enter the west-end building.
City View is planning to start its league season Oct. 15 based on three principles: create a safe environment for all members by putting safety first; the club must follow the laws of Ontario and the bylaws of Ottawa; and the board of directors must adhere to Ottawa Public Health recommendations and the Return-to-Play guidelines from Curling Canada and CurlON.
“City View Curling Club is approaching return to play in the 2021-22 season with a cautious approach,” according to the message from its board of directors. “The board has set out to make curling at CVCC in 2021-22 as orderly as possible, while following these principles. The members are our priority and we appreciate your co-operation in making this a safe and enjoyable season for everyone.”
A safe environment starts with the lessons everyone has heard over the past 18 months: stay home, if you are not healthy; wash your hands regularly with an alcohol-based sanitizer or soap and water; avoid close contact as much as possible by staying six feet apart; and masks must be worn at all times in the club except when curling or practising on the ice or eating or drinking while seated in the lounge.
Masks may also be worn if physical distancing is an issue. The City View lounge will have a maximum capacity of 75 people. Players from different draws and leagues can mingle in the lounge. League teams also will be allowed to move between divisions.
If a member has made a partial or complete payment for the season but has decided not to play this season, Oct. 1 is the deadline to file for a refund at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If cancellations or closures are necessary because of a COVID-19 outbreak and it affects City View, Ottawa or the province, there will be no refunds.
“The club is committing to you, our members, by committing the funds necessary to put the ice in and get the club up and running for the season,” says the club’s Return-to-Play package.
“In return, the Board asks that you commit to CVCC and understand that the club is a not-for-profit organization and will be unable to provide refunds, if closure or cancellations occur. Please do not register if you are unable to accept this risk.”
The most recent curling commandment is everyone 12 years of age and older entering the club building must show proof of double vaccination.
As a way to reduce congestion and allow for physical distancing, the club will only allow members with a locker to access the locker room. Members should enter the club ready to play, put on their curling shoes and should arrive no more than 20 minutes before their game.
Everyone entering the City View club must sign an attendance log for possible contact tracing. If there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, the club will immediately notify Ottawa Public Health and follow its guidance.
Members must bring their own brooms, stabilizers, shoes/sliders and delivery sticks as the club will not be supplying any equipment.
In league play, representatives will pre-determine the last rock and colours for all teams to minimize contact and maximize playing time. The first team named in the schedule will throw red rocks and have the hammer, while the second team throws blue stones.
There will be in-ice markers to assist non-throwing curlers maintain physical distancing. A match will have no extra ends or tiebreakers. Each team is allowed two brushers, and the thirds and skips can brush in the house. When the bell sounds, curlers must finish the end they are playing to complete the match.
City View also has specific rules for curlers entering and exiting the four sheets of ice. Sheets No. 1 and 3 will start at the home end of the ice, while sheets No. 2 and 4 will be at the away end.
Pre-game hand shaking is out and should be replaced by a friendly wave or a tapping of brooms. Curlers should only use a gloved hand or broom to remove debris under a stone. When releasing a stone, a bare hand is acceptable.
In a game, curlers should only take care of their own rocks and “all stones must be returned to the appropriate end at the end of your game… to ensure that the following draw will start with proper physical distancing between sheets.”
Game spectators are not allowed, but standing parents and guardians can watch in the lounge, while wearing masks.
Inside the lounge, there will be physical distancing signage, sanitation stations, payment must be by debit card or credit card, only individual serving sizes of food and beverages will be available, water jugs have been removed from the bar counter and the bartender or IT staff will hold the electronic remotes.
Happy COVID curling.
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 48 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.
When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Martin can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com and on Twitter @martincleary.
HELP SHINE A LIGHT ON LOCAL SPORT! The Ottawa Sports Pages has proudly provided a voice for local sport for 10 years, but we need your help to continue another 10 and beyond. Please donate to the new Ottawa Sports Pages Fund today.