Curlers seeking home after grant
Curlers throughout Auckland have been searching for a place to call home for more than a decade.
And now they're beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Auckland Curling was given more than $20,000 from the council to conduct a feasibility study alongside other ice sports to see whether a centre could be built on the North Shore.
Mt Eden curler Tessa Farley says a new rink would be life-changing.
The 20-year-old usually travels to the South Island every summer to practice.
The Auckland club, which operates out of Paradice ice rink in Avondale, is the North Island's only curling club and ice-time is in demand.
Farley says the facility is so packed Auckland curlers only get a four-hour slot on Sunday nights to compete.
She started playing at Epsom Girls Grammar about eight years ago and has been in the New Zealand under-21 and open teams since 2011.
"You can see why so many people are picking the sport up - it's social and fun.
"We just never have the big comps here. It's such a shame but we just don't have the facilities."
Auckland Curling held a membership drive a couple of years ago and the response was so enthusiastic they had to start turning away teams, she says.
A new rink would mean anyone interested could take part and there would be more people to play against, she says.
Proper curling ice is colder and harder than that used for other ice sports and it has to be completely level.
At the moment players are paying high fees for renting the joint facility which makes the sport expensive, she says.
Farley's teammate, Eleanor Adviento, says the sport is solely run by volunteers.
The Birkenhead 18-year-old has high hopes of becoming an Olympic curler one day and new facilities would help her on the way, she says.
"A lot of people do it because of the community feel. It's a huge community and everyone pitches in."
Curling is the "orphan" of ice sports, Auckland Curling Club president Ian Ford says.
Expanding the ice facilities in Auckland is a must, he says.
"Paradice do a good job with their existing rinks but there's just nowhere near enough ice time available for a city of 1.4 million."
Go to curling.org.nz for more information.
- Central Leader
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