A Windsor city councillor who is also the chair of the Roseland Golf and Curling Club says despite a weekend rally, curling at the club remains cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.
On Saturday about 65 curlers, with brooms and signs in hand, held a socially distanced rally in front of the city-owned facility to show their displeasure with the club's decision to cancel the upcoming curling season.
But board of directors Chair Fred Francis, who is also the city councillor for Ward 1, said it's highly unlikely the board will reverse it's decision.
"The decision was made and I think it was a responsible decision," he told CBC News. "I agreed with the decision. I still agree with the decision."
"I appreciate people are upset and I respect the fact that they want to curl and that they don't want anything to interrupt their season this year, but the fact of the matter is 2020 has been a year of interruptions, of inconvenience to many for a lot of different reasons. The sole focus has always been on the public health and keeping people safe."
Back in July, Curling Canada released a 29-page return-to-play document for all clubs across the country. Many modifications were made to the game, from new sweeping rules to on-ice player positioning, all in an effort to ensure player safety while allowing the game to continue — if clubs desired — in the midst of the pandemic.
Francis said the board considered many factors such as costs, revenue and the number of members in the leagues when making its decision. He said that even with changes to the game, there's too much uncertainty surrounding safety for players and staff.
"The board weighed all those factors, debated all the issues, and came to the conclusion that it would just be appropriate at this time, factoring in all that uncertainty, that we postpone for the current season and reopen next season if we can, without any COVID restrictions or limitations," he said.
'It's definitely disheartening,' player says
The decision to cancel the upcoming season has disappointed members, including Andrew Kuntz who was at Saturday's rally.
"It's definitely disheartening," he said. "Sometimes it's hard to get through the winter and having that — whether it's weekly or daily — activity with something you love is wonderful."
"Just about every other sport is running in our city. We're running hockey, baseball and soccer, but no curling and we think we could curl safely, just like every other sport."
Kuntz, who has been curling for three decades and has spent half of that time on the ice at Roseland, hopes the curlers can still persuade the board to change its decision.