It’s been an interesting last few months for Glenn Rubuliak.
In addition to settling into his new job as the coordinator and icemaker at the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Centre, he’s arriving at a time where the sport is looking to resume after shutting down in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the moment, things are going somewhat according to plan as registration opened for the new season on Tuesday and on-ice play is set to begin on Monday, Oct. 19.
“I think curling is one of a few sports that can get their feet back on the ground in a pretty solid spot this year, which is why we’re trying to get the word about our adult Learn to Curl programs,” Rubuliak said. “It’s going to be a lot harder for sports like volleyball and hockey to come back as you are dealing with larger numbers and close contact with one another.
“There’s a system set up where the team that isn’t throwing stands to the side and they rotate with the other team as they shoot. Plus, there’s only one sweeper allowed and the skip can’t sweep the rock when it goes past the tee-line, so that will be a bit different. However, I think that the teams will be able to talk things out amongst themselves so that they run smoothly.”
CURLSASK released their return to play guidelines on Aug. 27 and have already held a test event at the Sutherland Curling Club in Saskatoon last weekend, which was won by Ashley Howard’s rink from Regina.
They will also be hosting a mixed doubles competion at the Sutherland this weekend.
“Everyone’s working hard to make sure that everything is safe and all of the provincial curling bodies have been following the guidelines that Curling Canada has put in place,” Rubuliak said.
“I know that from the survey that we put out to our members, 95 per cent said that they would be coming back to play, and I believe CURLSASK’s numbers are around 88 to 89 per cent. That’s really good to see, as I know that some of the numbers from Alberta clubs aren’t that high.”
Prior to his arrival in Prince Albert, Rubuliak has worked primarily as an icemaker and club manager in Fort McMurray, but has also held those job titles in Edmonton and Fairview, Alta.
“Everything’s been good here so far,” Rubuliak said. “One of the biggest things is to have (Cooke Municipal Golf Course head pro) Darcy Myers around to help with the icemaking process as each building you make ice in has its own tweaks.
“The board has been awesome so far and everyone here has been really helpful and working hard to make sure that we have a great season.”
In terms of major events at the club this year, that part of the curling calendar is still being finalized as Rubuliak and CURLSASK held their first meaningful conversations earlier this week.
“One of the biggest changes this year is Curling Canada has elected to cancel all of the junior and younger age group national events, so that changes things quite a bit,” Rubuliak said. “CURLSASK has asked us to host a mixed doubles provincial tour event and the provincial mixed doubles championship this year, so we’re trying to work out the details on that.
“Our regular bonspiels are still going ahead as planned. The only difference is that we can’t have banquets for those events.”