Thursday, April 3, 2014

Gay national championship takes off in Edmonton

The Canadian Gay Curling Championship gets underway today in Edmonton, with teams from seven provinces set to battle it out for the right to be national champions. 

As Marty Klinkenberg reports in the Edmonton Journal, the championship has grown and the calibre of play has also improved. A gay league that plays at the Granite is an example of the expansion the sport has gained in the gay community. 

“The league went through its hardships with discrimination, but with everything changing in the world we are up to 18 teams and expanding all of the time,” said Colin Rechlo, a curler participating in the national championships on one of Edmonton’s three teams and the treasurer for Curling With Pride. “It’s nice that barriers are being broken.”

The other part of this story is that this is not some knee-slider bonspiel -- the competition is top-notch and representative of a national championship. 

“We are trying to showcase that this is a gay event, but at the same time we also want people to know these are national championships with some pro-calibre curlers,” Rechlo said. “It is not going to be in-your-face gay, that’s for sure.”
There are gay curling leagues in many cities across Canada. In Toronto, at the Royal Canadian Curling Club, there are two that are packed and very active.  In fact, I did a story on the success of the league a few years back and club officials told me that the success of the leagues helped the club survive some dark days when finances were limited. 

One of the Toronto leagues, the Rotators, was a great example of how to run a successful operation, gay, straight or otherwise, with active recruiting, help for newcomers, lots of social events around the games and involvement by a wide group of players.

All curlers could learn a few things from these guys.

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