New curlers: You got them, but now how do you keep them?

By Kim Nawyn, Director of Growth & Development,

the sport receives during the Olympic Winter Games. Tese efforts have resulted in strong attendance at intro to curling events hosted by many clubs. For example, the Schenectady and Ardsley curling clubs, both located in New York, reported approximately 800 people attended their respective introductory events. Utica (N.Y.) Curling Club had more than 400 attendees at an open house that was serendipitously scheduled hours aſter the U.S. men’s team won gold. More than 1,000 people took advantage of opportuni- ties to try the sport at each of the Coyotes (Ariz.), Denver (Colo.), Nutmeg (Conn.), and Peachtree (Ga.) curling clubs. So many people were inter- ested in trying the sport in the Denver metro area that the club now has a waiting list of more than 1,500 people. Tis interest has also translated into higher


sign-ups for leagues than would be expected in a non-Olympic year. Bowling Green (Ohio) Curl- ing Club needed to add seven starter leagues in order to meet the demand. Aſter the largest turnout for post-Olympic learn-to-curl classes to date, the Grand Forks (N.D.) Curling Club has a waiting list for its mini-leagues. In addi- tion to sold out instructional leagues, the Ever- green Curling Club in Beaverton, Ore., booked all slots available for corporate events/private parities through the end of their season in May. Te Peachtree (Ga.) Curling Club added leagues on three days of the week; balancing the high demand for rentals kept the club from adding more. Tis is the first Olympic Winter Games on new dedicated ice for Bowling Green, Denver, Grand Forks, and Peachtree. Clubs with dedicated ice facilities are not the

only ones that have been able to take advantage of this wave of excitement. Arena-based clubs have found similar success. In addition to intro- ducing nearly 800 people to the sport through eight sold-out events, the Long Island (N.Y.) Curling Club added more than 60 members. Te

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uring the past season, curling clubs have put significant time and effort into capitalizing on the attention

Missoula (Mont.) Curling Club had more than 600 people attend learn-to-curl classes, another 600 students try curling through physical educa- tion classes in local schools, and approximately 180 participate in private events of various types. Te Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Curling Club taught nearly 1,000 people to curl through a series of group, outdoor, and learn-to-curl events. Over 2,000 people attended learn-to-curl classes at the Hollywood (Calif.) Curling Club, which resulted in almost 120 new members joining leagues. HCC’s summerspiel, a 56-team event, is sold out with a waiting list on the beginner’s side. Te Granite (Wash.) Curling Club found that

curlers who continue into their third season have a strong chance of remaining with the club for the long-term. While this pattern may or may not be consistent in every club, strategies for combating high levels of new curler attrition is something that most clubs need to consider. Steve O’Keefe of the Wausau (Wis.) Curling Club encourages clubs to form retention committees in order to develop a plan to get new curlers more involved in club life, improve their skills, and ensure there is an obvious pathway to transition into experi- enced leagues. Bucky Marshall of the Coyotes


By David Garber, Emeritus Editor Harold “Harry” Maier, Jr.

Harold “Harry” Maier, Jr., 90. Harry Maier,

journalist, curler and curling booster died April 25, 2018. A long-time member of the Green Bay Curling Club (he moved to Green Bay in 1956), Harry was well-liked by the hundreds of curlers he befriended over the years. Born in Sheboygan, Wis., Harry received a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was a news reporter, editor and photographer, first in Portage, Wis., then in Green Bay, retiring in 1993. He used his professional skills to promote curling. He is survived by Marian, four children, two siblings, nine grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Philip Swing “Phil” Robertson Philip Swing “Phil” Robertson, 80, died

Feb. 11, 2018. He was a member of Te Coun- try Club’s curling club for more than 50 years, and a member of the 1992 USCA Scotland Tour team. He volunteered many hours on behalf of his club and the Grand National Curling Club of America (GNCC). He was the go-to person for the annual bonding between the Royal Mon- treal and TCC curlers. A popular man, his fine tenor voice graced Auld Lang Syne to close many curling events. In business, Phil was Senior Vice President and Treasurer at Robertson factories. He is survived by Anne (a major curling figure in her own right), two children, a son-in-law, four grandchildren and three siblings. Q

(Ariz.) Curl- ing Club suggests


signing new curlers to teams with experienced players who are willing to take the time to pro- vide both encouragement and instruction. From the Denver Curling Club, Phil Moir suggests set- ting aside time on weekends for new curlers to practice under the supervision of mentors. John Benton of the Four Seasons (Minn.) Curling Club proposes offering short, specialized train- ing classes in lieu of multi-day camps to promote development of skills. He also encourages clubs to educate new curlers about bonspiels. As retention of curlers who were inspired to

join the sport following the Olympic Winter Games will be a challenge for clubs over the next few seasons, it will be a key topic of discussion at several upcoming USA Curling Member De- velopment events. Tis includes the Business of Curling Symposium in Lakeville, Minn. Te symposium is scheduled for June 3-4. Te topic will also be highlighted at the 2018 Members’ As- sembly, which will take place Oct. 13-14 in Al- bany, N.Y. Keep checking out the USA Curling website,, for details. Q

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