Midwest Curling Association Member Clubs and Members:
Autumn is right around the corner, and I can almost hear the compressors whirring away to usher in the 2022-2023 curling season! That whirring mimics many of the conversations curlers had over this off-season about national, regional, and club-level issues. To cut through this noise, I would like to touch upon the MCA goals mentioned in my inaugural President’s letter last year and address some recent developments.
Return to Safe Curling and Increased Number of Events: Last season, our clubs reported increased numbers and renewed interest in events. We anticipate a further increase this year. As always, the MCA offers our free, “no-frills” events to grow the sport of curling and increase camaraderie in our region. As all of our clubs are returning to normal operations, the responsibility of event hosting will also return. MCA events will be split among clubs and follow our yearly rotational schedule to help our member clubs plan their seasons in advance. Please visit the 2022-2023 MCA Calendar to plan your next bonspiel.
Improve Member Club Support: As highlighted by recent events involving the GNCC region, a strong curling region is important to grow the sport of curling. In addition to the events mentioned above, the MCA advances our region and the sport of curling by:
- Advocating for our regional clubs and members | USA Curling’s recent decisions involving U18 Nationals, the GNCC vote, and US Arena Nationals were poorly communicated to the MCA and its entire membership. I, along with other members of the MCA Board, have directly expressed our frustrations. As the regional association, we want it to be known that we expect:
- Clear and transparent communication from USA Curling
- Involvement in decisions that affect our region and our curlers
- The actions and decisions of USA Curling benefit all types of clubs (paper, arena, and dedicated) and all levels of curlers, not just Olympic hopefuls
- Rock rental | One of the biggest benefits of the MCA is our ability to purchase curling stones and rent them to new clubs at a reduced cost. Several of our clubs use this benefit and over the summer, we were contacted by Glenview Park District to help start a program at their ice arena. We hope we will be able to kickstart more clubs in our region to grow our region and sport.
- Shared knowledge | The “spirit of curling” to share best practices for events, ice making, and club governance was never more evident than over the pandemic. We will continue to foster these connections to make curling better for everyone in and visiting our region.
- Communicating regional events and successes | The MCA’s Website, Facebook Page, and Facebook Warm Room Page all experienced increased traffic and participation. We will continue to publicize not only MCA events and winners but any information provided to us from our member clubs. To us, club success is regional success and we want to hear from you.
Strengthen Our Region’s Curling Potential: As I stated last year, the Midwest is still filled with dedicated and passionate curlers and we want to harness that commitment and build toward a better Midwest curling community. Unfortunately, progress on most of these items was hindered.
- Host a USAC Level I/II Officiating Clinic | Without these certified volunteers, our regional playdowns would not be possible. The number of officials in our region is in the single digits, therefore, the MCA believes a clinic is imperative. The MCA contacted USA Curling regarding these clinics all last season to no avail; however, we received more information this summer and plan to announce information about a Level I/II Officiating Clinic soon.
- Host USAC Level I/II Instructor Clinic | We want to increase the number of certified instructors and, as a result, improve the Learn2Curl experience for new curlers. As part of our discussions with USA Curling, the MCA expressed a desire to have a yearly officiating and instructor clinic put into their trainer’s schedules. A successful clinic was hosted last year within our region, and we will continue to work with our member clubs to add these events to our regional calendar.
- Providing resources and in-person timing instruction | Last year, our regional timing materials were updated, and many new volunteer timers were successfully trained at our numerous regional competitive events. The MCA will continue to work to grow our timer network and invest in the materials and equipment required to support these individuals.
- Improving ice conditions at our clubs | We want all of our clubs to make great ice and for all curlers to enjoy it. In May, the USA Curling Ice Making Summit was announced for early June. The MCA notified all our clubs and committed to financially supporting the attendance of one ice tech per club. Two members from Windy City Curling attended. We aim to offer similar opportunities in the future, hopefully with more notice from USA Curling. Also, the MCA Board ice improvement sub-committee will continue to examine regional ice techs’ opportunities.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your MCA Rep or myself.
President, Midwest Curling Association