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Ice sports look to build Shore rink

FELICITY REID
Last updated 05:00 21/02/2014
Curling NST
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ICE SPORTS: Curling could find a home on the North Shore.

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A rink to call their own has been on Auckland Curling's wish list for years.

Funding from North Shore local boards is helping to get the project off the ground.

A grant of $20,400 from Auckland Council's community development funding pool has allowed Auckland Curling together with other ice and indoor sports to put together a feasibility study for a centre on the Shore.

Curling is the "orphan" of ice sports, Auckland Curling Club president Ian Ford says, but he is determined to find a dedicated home for his favourite game.

The proposed centre will be at least a two-pad rink, with one purely for curling and one for other ice sports.

"Proper curling ice is colder and harder than that used for other ice sports, who prefer it a little softer so the skates can bite.

"Curling ice also needs to be exactly level - and it's very difficult to achieve that with skaters tending to push ice to the sides," Ford says.

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.

"Lack of ice time means we are limited to a total of 10 games per week for the club league, and five games for schools - a game is played between two four-person teams," Ford says.

"If you do the maths that means that 90 people can have one game per week, with no opportunity to practice.

"We made the mistake of promoting too well for the school league three or four years ago, without trying too hard, and we got so many teams that they only got about three games all year."

Expanding the ice facilities in Auckland is now a must, he says.

"There's just nowhere near enough ice time for a city of 1.4 million. And with none on the Shore, that's the natural place to start.

"Our focus is on grass-roots, and the benefits for the representative level curlers will just come naturally when the rink is up and running."

The feasibility study will determine a location for the centre.

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- North Shore Times

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