The 26th annual Save Our (Ice) Plant bonspiel may be history, but that doesn't mean its future is on the back burner.
As each event ends, planning begins for the next one, says Rob Lane, outgoing bonspiel co-coordinator.
“This started when the 25th was over – the 26th getting ready,” he said. “But about a month ago we really started on the ice. I don't know if anybody really realizes how much work goes into getting that ready.”
A common complaint at the Buchans Curling Club is condensation forming on the ceiling of the rink. Weather outside contributes to it, and it was a factor in getting the ice on the rink this year again.
“We have a condensation problem – we get a lot of frost on the ceiling so now we put plastic on the ice surface and put a heater out there to melt the ice off the ceiling and get it to fall onto the plastic.
“We pick it up and try to clean the ice and put on a flood.”
There are other faults with the ice as well. Over the years, certain sections strategic to the path of the rock being thrown fall away to the outer edge.
“I don't know if anybody can read it properly,” Lane says with a laugh, “but anyway, everybody plays on the same sheets. Everybody took it in great stride and had a great bit of fun.”
Michael O'Brien is now coordinator for the annual fun spiel and knows he has big shoes to fill.
“We wouldn't have been able to do any of it without Rob (Lane),” O'Brien said. “It's going to take time to learn it all – it's a steep learning curve.”
A few upgrades were made in preparation for the 2018 spiel thanks to funds already raised in previous events. Flooring and carpet for entry to the ice surface were re-done, and new heaters were installed under the viewer/spectator windows to help reduce condensation on the glass. These renovations cost approximately $2,000.
“We are looking at sealing off the flooring of the ice surface in the off-season with plastic and re-opening some vents … to alleviate some moisture, which tends to become trapped and has caused dripping onto the ice surface in past years,” says O'Brien.
“This year Rob put a great effort into removing that moisture before they put the ice down, which worked well. Also we are looking at possibly removing the side board areas and widening the ice surfaces, re-sheeting the inner walls.”
The original intention of the SOP fundraiser was to keep the stadium ice plant repaired and ready for each hockey and curling season. The event now supports all Town of Buchans recreation facilities and to that end, the SOP committee appreciates all the support for this annual weekend.