Guelph Golf and Curling Club cancels upcoming curling season
GUELPH—Gregg Derrett and many other local curlers will have to find a new place to throw their rocks this fall.
Last week, the Guelph Golf and Curling Club announced to its members it will be suspending its 2013-14 curling season due to financial constraints.
"It came right out of the blue," Derrett said. "It's a really disappointing thing."
Derrett has been an active member with the curling club for the past 10 years. As a participant on many teams and curling several times a week, Derrett said he was shocked when he received a letter from the club announcing it would not be offering the ice this fall.
In a letter addressed to its members, the club said the board of directors decided to cancel the curling season to give the club time to reevaluate its current business model.
"The winter operations at the club have put the operation in a deficit position for the first six months of our fiscal year for many years and it has become obvious that we cannot continue to operate successfully with the current model," the letter reads.
"Moving forward it is our intent as a board to develop and implement a sustainability plan that will identify future capital needs and provide consistent service level in our operations."
Those who already paid for a curling membership will be given a full refund and those members who purchased a "locker for life" will not be charged this year.
Last year, the club celebrated its 100th anniversary and officially changed its name, rebranding itself as the Guelph Golf and Curling Club after spending the century as The Guelph Country Club. The curling facility was added to the clubhouse building in 1963.
Although the club's letter announces the suspension of curling for the upcoming season, Derrett said this might be the end of curling at the club indefinitely.
"If you shut down your operation and people go somewhere else, if they're content where they went, why would they come back to a place that seems to be struggling to stay around?" he said.
"I think it's probably the death nail for the curling club."
Jeff Stillman, the club's curling director and David Vogel, the director of operations were reached by phone on Monday, but declined to comment on the decision. They said all comments about this decision needed to come from the board of directors.
Multiple attempts to reach a spokesperson for the board of directors were unsuccessful.
The Golf and Curling Club asserts it has formed a partnership with The Guelph Curling Club on Woolwich Street to give members new a place to play for a discounted rate for this next year.
Kathy Brown, general manager of the Guelph Curling Club, said the discount will be the same as all new members receive in their first year at the Woolwich Street club.
She said awareness for sport of curling has grown over the past few years with increased television coverage of bigger curling events, but her club has still had to work hard to bring in new members.
Derrett said the members at the Golf and Curling Club were an aging population. Over the last few years he said he hadn't seen as many juniors showing up to play.
"There are just not enough new people coming into the game."
Derrett said he'll continue to curl when the season starts up again this fall, but he'll be travelling out to Elora to do it.