Once a week, the next generation of curlers is learning the game in Timmins.
The Little Rock Bantam Curling Program at the McIntyre Curling Club runs every Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
On the ice, more than 40 youth from the ages of six to 15 years are learning the basics of delivery, sweeping, ice safety, etiquette and sportsmanlike play.
At 13, Chloe Chilton has already been playing the game for about six years.
Before stepping on the ice, she had watched it on TV with her family. At the Little Rock program, she said she likes making friends at the rink.
According to Rosanna Furletti, one of the coaches, to help keep the youngest players interested, they play a modified game.
“The little ones can’t get the rock across the far hog line so it’s a bit of a challenge,” she said.
For the season, which runs October to March, it is $140 per child.
At the beginning, Furletti said all the players need is a clean pair of shoes and warm clothing. The club has equipment (rocks, brooms and sliders) available for the kids to use.
For beginners, Furletti said it’s best to join at the start of the year to develop those basic skills.
In the past decade or so, curling’s popularity has grown.
Players like John Morris and Brad Jacobs, she said, have helped change the image of the game.
“They’ve really brought it to light where’s it more athletic,” Furletti said.
While she said kids who are analytical or who have a skating background and are comfortable on the ice might be interested in the game, the program is open to everybody.
“If you have an interest in the game, you don’t have to have special skills,” she said.
If you’re interested in how the program runs, people can stop by on a Sunday to check things out, she said.
And for people who love the game, it can last a lifetime.
“You start young and you can play until you’re in your 90s, there is no age limit in this sport, that’s what’s good about it,” she said.
For more information on the Little Rock program, visit curlthemac.ca or call the clubhouse at 705-360-1770.