History of the BC Club Challenge
2008 marks the 10th anniversary of the BC Club Challenge. The roots of the BC Club Challenge go back to 1999 when a small group of dedicated curlers decided that they would organize a championship event focusing on the grass roots of curling – club curlers. While the curling associations and the cash spiel circuits were providing competitive curlers with lots of opportunities for playdowns and championships, the curlers that support club leagues on a regular basis from September to April didn’t have a major venue to compare their skills against other curling clubs.
Ken Watson, Al Campbell, Bob Black and Jim Mann organized the very first event, then called the Pacific Club Challenge, in April 1999 hosted at the Royal City Curling Club in New Westminster. The event was open to men’s teams whose curling clubs had declared them their Club Champions. Eligibility restrictions were placed ensuring that only one player on each team could have advanced in a competitive playdown in the current or previous year thus ensuring that the focus of the event would be on club curlers. Sixteen of the 22 curling clubs in the lower mainland, covering from Hope to Squamish and Gibsons quickly entered their men’s club champions to gain bragging rights as the best club curlers in the lower mainland. Some clubs, who had previously not held club championships, quickly arranged club championships giving their club curlers both a club championship event and a regional championship event where they would represent their club.
In 2000, after word of the great success of the inaugural event, 18 curling clubs entered their men’s club champions in the second annual event, all of them sporting club championship jackets and thrilled to be paraded onto the ice during the opening ceremonies to the traditional curling music of the bagpipes. An added incentive was created in 2000 when Jim Schuman, on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Coast Curling Association (PCCA), formed a committee and created the Pacific International Cup – an event hosted by the Richmond Curling Club which pitted winners of Pacific Club Challenge events against international curling teams. This added incentive and some grant monies from the PCCA soon got Vancouver Island on Board and Club Challenge events were started on both the South and North Island. Teams not only had the opportunity to play in club championships but then were entered in regional Club Challenge events for bragging rights as the best club curlers in the region. Winners of these regional events then advanced to the Pacific International Cup to pit their skills against international teams from various states in the United States as well as the Yukon, Korea, Japan and Chinese Taipai.
In the lower mainland, the event moved around to various host curling clubs who generously donated their ice time because of the benefits it provided to them and their club curlers.
The BC Interior Curling Association (BCICA) also saw great value in the event and with the strong support of regional co-ordinators including Andy Adams (North Island), Wes Craig and then Heather Lindsay-Lecuyer (South Island), Duane Long (Salmon Arm), Dennis Jensen (Kaslo) and Rick Cotter (Kamloops), Club Challenge events expanded on the Island and began to grow in the interior. Their champions also won the right to compete in the Pacific International Cup against the other regional champions and the international teams.
In 2004, when the Pacific International Cup decided to expand and accept four international women’s teams and four British Columbia women’s teams, the Pacific Club Challenge also expanded in the lower mainland involving a competition between eight curling clubs to decide the four women’s teams that would advance. In 2005, all Pacific Club Challenge events around the province expanded to include a women’s division – a natural move along with the amalgamation of the Pacific Coast Curling Association, the BC Interior Curling Association and the BC Ladies’ Curling Association into Curl BC.
2006 and 2007 saw the six BC Club Challenge events held around the province (the name being changed from Pacific Club Challenge to BC Club Challenge in recognition of the province-wide participation in these grass-roots championships). Curl BC Directors Lisa Nevakshonoff, Terry Vandale, Gord Judzentis, Nigel Easton with the strong support of Curl BC President Judie Roberts, Past President Wayne Braun and Executive Director Ian Hennigar, have added their strong support to the growth of the Club Challenge concept around the province ensuring its success and future growth.
Through its partnership agreement with the Pacific International Cup, the BC Club Challenge has sent representatives from 39 different curling clubs in British Columbia to the Pacific International Cup. Every one of Curl BC’s 11 administrative regions has had a representative at the Pacific International Cup and all except Regions 4 and 5 have had multiple representatives.
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Last updated: February 14, 2013