LOCAL EDITORIAL: Comox Valley needs viable curling facility

After finishing atop the Olympic medal standings in 2010, Canadians didn’t quite own the podium in Sochi.

While host Russian made a late charge to emerge first at its own Games, Canada gamely seized third place – just behind Norway and just above the USA.

Among the late medals earned by our athletes were golds in men’s and women’s hockey as well as men’s and women’s curling.

Canadians rightly pride themselves on being international powerhouses in these sports, but it is a striking achievement to sweep all four gold medals.

It’s hard to conceive how hockey could have a higher profile in this country, but curling is another matter.

A nerdy sister to hockey’s homecoming queen image in this country, curling rarely gets the credit it deserves.

The roaring game nonetheless has its share of fans in Canada – and a history of outstanding players.

Comox Valley resident Lindsay Sparkes, who coached the Sandra Schmirler rink to its third straight world title in 1997, was a heck of a curler herself.

How must she feel about the state of the Comox Valley Curling Club building at the Exhibition Grounds? The more-than-50-year-old year building has a leaky roof and a failing ice plant.

There’s a history of Canadian youth being inspired by Olympic performances such as those of skier Nancy Greene (1968), speed skater Gaetan Boucher (1984) and swimmer Alex Baumann (1984).

Registration in certain sports can mushroom after a legendary performance on the world’s biggest athletic stage.

It would be a shame after Canada’s two curling medals if Comox Valley kids were inspired to take up the game, only to find there is nowhere to play.

How many Canadian communities of more than 60,000 people have no viable curling rink?

After all, the long road to the Olympics begins at home.

Speaking of which, Spencer O’Brien will hopefully be back in four years, wiser from her 2014 Olympic experience and ready to rock the slopes.



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