Lacombe preps for Scotties starting Jan. 21st

A small army of volunteers will transform the Lacombe Arena from a hockey rink to a curling rink in time for the 2015 Alberta Scotties tournament Jan. 21st.

The key for many of them is the fact it’s not their first campaign with Lacombe having hosted the men’s provincial championship in 2014.

“We only lost three people from our committee of 26 so what that told me is they enjoyed doing it,” said committee chair Don Gullekson.

“What it did for us this year is that everybody knows exactly what to do.”

More than 200 volunteers will be involved in keeping this operation running smoothly with individuals signing on as well as members of service clubs like the Kinsmen, Rotary and the Lions Clubs partnering up.

In the past the city of Lacombe has been home to a popular baseball tournament along with hosting the Senior Summer games a few years back. Now curling takes the spotlight.

Gullekson says there is plenty of excitement building as things fall into place to hold their second major provincial curling championship in a row.

“Our support has been really, really good and I believe the reason is that it’s a feature event. If you had three or four in a row I think you might run into some difficulty getting enthusiasm but right now everybody is still pumped up.”

The curling itself will be outstanding with defending champion Val Sweeting returning along with other big names like Shannon Kleibrink, Cheryl Bernard and Heather Nedohin hitting the four sheets of ice.

Gullekson says the arena configuration makes for some great viewing for the fans as there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.

“Our arena sets up really good and with 1,200 hundred seats it’s just ideal for a provincial event of this size; when you get a crowd of say 800 it’s just perfect.”

The off-ice entertainment will be solid as well with the popular St. James’ Gate performing next door in the curling rink along with talented local singer Randy Boulton.

The entire event is very much a social gathering for the community with adult entertainment along with a kids’ zone where they can experience the game firsthand through the Rocks and Rings program for schools.

Last year more than 400 kids went through the program and Gullekson expects even more this time around.

The Scotties gets underway with the first draw at 9:30 on the 21st and the opening ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. that night.