Canadian curling legend Kevin Martin (right) will be among the elite Canadian skips at the Masters.

Canadian curling legend Kevin Martin (right) will be among the elite Canadian skips at the Masters.

Having the Masters in town a thrill for Abbotsford Curling Club

With the Masters Grand Slam of Curling coming up this week, the excitement is palpable at the Abbotsford Curling Club.

With the Masters Grand Slam of Curling coming up this week, the excitement is palpable at the Abbotsford Curling Club.

“It’s incredibly cool,” said Ken MacDonald, general manager of the local club. “We’ve got a lot of people who are volunteering, and a lot of people saying they’re going over to watch.

“They know that it’s the best event in the world, other than the Olympics, in this coming year, because the men and women are both here and all the teams are invited that are also going to be showing up at the Olympics.”

The Abby club is taking an active role with the Grand Slam event – they’re helping to promote it throughout the Lower Mainland curling community, and MacDonald and Debbie Sand are spearheading the organization of volunteers. A small army of 100 volunteers is needed to make the bonspiel truly hum, and MacDonald said they still have room for more helpers.

The club is also running a membership drive in conjunction with the Masters, and will have a booth set up at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.

MacDonald is hopeful that having a high-profile Grand Slam event will help boost interest in curling locally, and he’s passionate about seeing the sport cross cultural boundaries.

“It’s not a traditional sport for Indo-Canadians, it’s not a traditional sport for Africans,” he noted. “But we’re getting both of those groups coming out here (to the club) and having a lot of fun.

“Our easiest thing for people to take advantage of is Wednesday nights, when we have space for novices and people who want to learn to curl in a league environment.”

Other opportunities afforded to the local club by the Masters event include a coaching symposium on Saturday, Nov. 2 from noon to 6 p.m. which will connect coaches from around the Lower Mainland with instruction from elite coaches. Cost is $80, and includes a free ticket to the afternoon Masters draw.

Additionally, the top two boys and girls teams from the Abby club’s recent junior cashspiel will get to play an exhibition at the AESC on Nov. 2 after the ladies’ semifinal.

To volunteer to help at the Grand Slam or for more information about the Abbotsford Curling Club, call 604-859-9244 or email abbycurlingclub@shaw.ca.