Those who had hoped to hear the familiar shouts of "hurry hard!" in Crapaud this winter have been out of luck — the curling season ended last fall just as it was about to begin.
A key part of the club's ice plant — called a chiller barrel — broke, forcing the cancellation of the entire curling season.
"It was very disappointing because we had worked so hard last year leading up to this season," said board member Jonathan Ramsay.
"Everyone was excited and we were going to do really well. We had more people signed up, and it was just very disheartening for all of us, and it was a big blow to both the club and the community."
'A lot of income is lost'
The club's current ice plant has lived a long life — installed in the early 1950s, it was well-worn and frequently required fixing over the years.
A new chiller comes with a hefty price tag of more than $120,000.
Insurance will cover about half the cost, and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is expected to match those funds.
But it was too late to save this season.
"A lot of income is lost because of it," explained Ramsay. "The spiels and the sponsors bring in a lot of money during the winter for this place and without that we're struggling."
"It was very disappointing and very frustrating because we worked very hard last year to keep it open," added board member Bobbi-Jo Crossman.
'It's been a part of me'
It's not the first time the club has faced financial hardship. Two years ago, another piece of cooling equipment broke and cost $3,000 to repair. That was after the club spent $80,000 to renovate the facility.
The curling club has held some fundraisers this year and has more planned for the coming weeks including hall rentals, a raffle for a travel voucher, chase the ace, and a kitchen party Friday. There's even a wedding booked for next summer.
However, all of the money raised is going to operating costs, not for new equipment. Crossman said the club has to continue to pay those costs if it wants curling back next year in Crapaud.
"It's been a part of me, and I know a lot of people will come out and hopefully volunteer, and we'll get this place up and running," she said.
"I'm pretty stubborn. I said I was going to do this, so I'm going to do this. I don't want to disappoint people, so the way I look at it is, I'm going to do it for the community and for the curlers."
'New blood' needed
The club had 75 curlers registered this season, and Ramsay hopes just as many or more return next season.
"It's always a challenge to get members back," he explained.
"We need more people, new blood... I'm sure we lost some this year that went to Summerside. I don't know if we'll get them back, but we're going to give it a try and hope for the best."
"We've put a lot into this place and we hate to see it go. I'm stubborn and I won't give up," added Crossman.
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