Prince Albert Golf and Curling Centre goes quiet as a result of new COVID-19 guidelines

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Daymond Bernath of Saskatoon delivers a shot during a Saskatchewan Curling Tour event at the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Centre on Nov. 13.

The start of this week was a busy one for Prince Albert Golf and Curling Centre coordinator and ice maker Glenn Rubuliak, as he began to finalize plans for the second half of the 2020-21 curling season.

However, that soon changed on Wednesday when the Government of Saskatchewan announced that all team sports would be suspended for three weeks as of Friday in order to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of the ladies in our Thursday league had come down and told me that they were going to be getting ready for their last game this week,” Rubuliak said. “I said to her ‘oh, really’ and then she told me about everything was starting to shut down.

“I guess I’m the last to know, but I’m kind of used to that,” he joked.

On-ice play at the facility got underway on Oct. 19, with the Curling Centre following the guidelines that had been set in place by CURLSASK and Curling Canada.

“I think things were going pretty good here,” Rubuliak said. “There was the odd time that we had to remind the curlers about the rules, such as when the skips got a little too close together in the house, but everyone was really understanding.”

The Curling Centre had already planned a Christmas break from Dec. 21 until Jan. 4.

Those plans might though as the current restrictions are set to be reviewed by Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab on Dec. 17.

“If everything comes back in a few weeks, we might try to make up some games over Christmas, especially as nobody is supposed to be going anywhere,” Rubuliak said.

“I’m working on a couple of different proposals that I’ll be bringing to the board of directors in the coming days, one of which involves finishing the first half of league play in January and also extending the season a couple of weeks into April. In talking with the curlers, everyone wants to curl and have something to do. They don’t want a refund.”

The restrictions also meant the cancellation of an Under-18 provincial qualifier, which was scheduled for Dec. 11-13 at the Curling Centre.

“We still have are other events on the schedule for the new year, which includes a provincial mixed doubles tour event in January and the Deanna Rindal Memorial Open Doubles Bonspiel,” Rubuliak said.

“One of the biggest things for us right now is just what the situations will look like for banquets. We were down to a capacity of around 50 people, but now I don’t think we can have anyone. Who knows what happens though once we get later into the year.”