Rock of ages: Seniors get active at Yellowknife Curling Club

Every Monday teams of senior-aged curlers face-off in friendly games on the ice, throwing rocks, sweeping and hurrying hard.

"Curl baby, curl baby, curl baby curl!" one of them chants before a speeding rock hits a stationary one with a satisfying smack, sending it spinning outside the house.

It's a lively group that gathers for drop-in seniors curling at the Yellowknife Curling Club every Monday afternoon. They draw from a deck of cards to decide teams and then take turns playing different positions.

One of the familiar faces is Larry Adamson who says he's been curling for the past 25 years, about 10 with the seniors group.

"It's fantastic," he says.

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"I like the competition and I like the afterwards, when you get together and you have a beer or a drink with the other team or with your team. But it's just fun to throw the rock and compete."

Larry and Cappy Elkin started the group several years ago and have kept it going.

"These are great people." - Larry Adamson

"As we got older and most of us started to retire, we had the afternoons and the rink was never being used in the afternoon so we thought that's a good opportunity," says Cappy Elkin.

Curling since she was a young girl, Elkin says she loves the sport because it's challenging like chess, along with good companionship and exercise. 

Emily Blake/CBC

The seniors group is always changing, with people coming and going, she says. At one point they had a 92-year-old teammate.  

"Everybody just comes out and has a great time."

Adamson would like to see more people coming out to seniors curling. Around five to 10 people play every week but he thinks they could get up to three times as many curlers.

According to the 2016 census, there were 1,115 people aged 65 and older living in Yellowknife.

"I'm a big advocate for seniors health and activity, and it's a wonderful way for seniors of varying skill levels to get exercise and as well to socialize. A lot of seniors don't do either one of those and they should," Adamson says.  

Emily Blake/CBC

One of the best parts of seniors curling, he adds, is the gathering after each game for cookies, coffee and conversation. 

"These are great people," he says. "Everyone has a story and it's just fun to come out and meet new people and listen to them tell you about their vacation and what they like to do and where they've been."