January 22nd, 2021

Curling has a long, rich history in Lethbridge

By Woodard, Dale on July 8, 2020.

Lethbridge Sports Council

In the 1880s, as the community of Lethbridge was being formed, some of the first organizations developed were sport organizations. The Lethbridge Curling Club was one of the first, established in 1887.

Lethbridge has always loved its curling, setting up one of the earliest curling rinks in Alberta. From curling on ponds and sloughs, in 1895 Lethbridge set up its first two-sheet curling rink. This was the first rink in Alberta to have electric lights.

Lethbridge has become a lot better at setting up curling rinks since this first one -the northwest corner was about a metre lower than the southwest one, giving a very distinct slant to the ice. Bonspiels with rinks from across southwest Alberta were soon being held.

According to the Lethbridge Curling Club website, the club was “spearheaded by Johnnie Bruce, Tom Kirkham, Duncan Duff, Dr. McClure, (Mayor) Harry Bentley, Norrie MacLeod, Fred Freeman and the Scott brothers.”

Eventually, the club moved to the Civic Ice Centre in 1950 where it operated until 2016 when it moved to its new home at the ATB Centre. With 10 sheets it is among the largest in Canada.

From the Lethbridge Curling Club website, “What has remained constant throughout is the enthusiasm for the sport of curling, the motivation of the teams who have brought home many provincial and national titles and the camaraderie of the curlers and curling fans of all ages.”

Known by curling fans across Canada and arguably around the world, the Lethbridge Curling Club has grown to meet the needs of an active curling community and as a result Lethbridge has become a sought-after host of major national and international curling events.

Over the past 20 years Lethbridge has hosted many noteworthy curling events starting with the 2003 Canadian Senior Men’s and Women’s Curling Championship and the 2007 National Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Curling Canada started seeking out Lethbridge to host events beginning with the 2012 World Women’s Curling Championships.

Following the move to the ATB Centre curling facility the Lethbridge Curling Club hosted the 2017 World Mixed Doubles and Senior’s Curling Championships, and the 2017 Alberta High School Curling Championships. Most recently, Lethbridge hosted the 2019 World Men’s Curling Championships at the Enmax Centre.

Last month, Lethbridge City Council supported the Lethbridge Curling Club in their bid for the 2022 Tim Hortons Brier, the pinnacle curling event. If Lethbridge is successful in their bid, our community will play host to 15 teams representing each of Curling Canada’s 14 member associations as well as the defending champion Team Canada.

To find out more about curling and other local sport organizations visit http://www.lethbridgesportcouncil.ca/sport-directory.

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