Fort Frances Curling Club
City: Fort Frances
Published on: June 3, 2013, 11:39 a.m.
Nominated by: Patrick BriereWatch the TSN SportsCentre broadcast >
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Fort Frances Curling Club
Fort Frances is a sportsman’s paradise in the heart of beautiful Northwestern Ontario. From world-class fishing and hunting, the thriving local hockey scene, to miles of hiking, snowshoeing and snowmobile trails, there’s something for everyone in Fort Frances. We’re very lucky to boast some of the region’s finest sporting facilities.
One of the great facilities in Fort Frances is the members-owned, not-for-profit Fort Frances Curling Club. The Club is home not only to a variety of Fort Frances leagues, but also the International Falls (Minnesota) Curling Club, and the Fort Frances Muskies High School Teams. The Club has hosted numerous provincial playdowns over the years, including the 2006 Ontario Scotties Tournament of Hearts. The Club has been represented at the Dominion Club Championships with the Raymond Roy rink competing in 2010 and the Kathie Jackson rink set to wear Northern Ontario colours in 2013. Former member Jenna Enge represented Ontario as part of the Tracy Horgan rink at the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts while Tirzah Keffer skipped the Northern Ontario team at the 2013 Junior National championships. The Club has hosted the likes of Guy Hemmings and Brad Jacobs, and community events such as an annual Gun and Hobby show. Showing our ability to think outside of the box, this September the Club will host the inaugural “Sticks and Stones” bonspiel with the Kitchen Creek Golf Club. As part of our mandate to promote youth development in the sport, the Club invests significant resources in teaching kids the great sport of curling, including coaching clinics and hosting physical education classes from local schools on both sides of the border.
The Club recently undertook a massive capital investment by installing a geothermal heating and cooling system. It is one of just a few curling clubs in Canada to use this green technology and renewable energy resource. This project was a leap of faith on the part of the Club’s board, and has resulted in a utility cost savings of $26,000 last year alone. Here in the North, we are stewards of the environment. From ensuring the survival of our pristine lakes and rivers, to promoting responsible hunting and fishing, Northwestern Ontario’s inhabitants care deeply about the environment and the abundance of nature that we enjoy right on our doorstep. That’s why the Club’s move to geothermal energy is so important. Not only does it result in tremendous cost savings, it is both green and renewable – it is the future.
This system also allows the Club the option of opening earlier in the season and even having ice in during the summer. This year, the Club will offer community curling for free before the season starts so that we can encourage new curlers to try the sport out and get tips from coaches and seasoned curlers. We can now air condition the entire facility allowing it’s usage for private weddings and receptions through the hot and humid summer months.
Such an investment does not come without significant cost. Over $500,000 was put towards installing the geothermal system. Some help came in the form of various grants, but the Club remains on the hook for a significant portion of the cost, leaving a shortfall of about $30,000 in this year’s budget. As a small club with a big idea, it has been tough to make ends meet. Over the long term the new system will reap benefits for generations of curlers to come, but in the short term we need help. If selected as part of the Kraft Celebration Tour, the prize money would be used to offset the outstanding debt from installing this state-of-the-art system and ensure the viability of our Club for the future. We will be able to retire that debt much faster and use the cost savings to improve our Club moving forward. This would also provide TSN the opportunity to promote this technology to Clubs across Canada. Green, sustainable energy. What more could Kraft and TSN be looking for?