USCA launches national Arena Championship bonspiel

The inaugural United States Curling Association Arena Curling National Championship, an event designed specifically for curlers who utilize arena curling facilities, will debut next summer. This new championship will take place July 18-21 at the Fort Wayne Curling Club in Fort Wayne, Ind.

“The Fort Wayne Curling Club is excited that the USCA has initiated a new Arena Championship to provide many of the newest curling clubs in the United States, like us, the ability to compete against clubs of similar circumstances,” said Craig Fisher, Fort Wayne Curling Club president and chairman of the 2013 Arena Curling National Championships.

The event will feature 32 teams, with men’s and women’s divisions, and the hopes of growing the event in the future. To be eligible to enter, team members must all be dues-paying, league-playing members of the same arena curling club.

“This club has done great things over its two-plus years of existence including hosting three bonspiels of 40 teams or more, two cashspiels, two Challenge Cups, wheelchair clinics, special needs programs, etc., but we are most excited about the opportunity to host the inaugural Arena Championships as a way to raise the profile of curling in our area, energize our membership about competitive curling and support the growth of this great sport,” Fisher said. “We are thankful for the support of our bid partners who have helped bring this event to Fort Wayne, including the Lutheran Health Sports Center and Visit Fort Wayne.”

The USCA launched this championship to meet the needs of its members in arena curling clubs. Arena curling is the fastest growing segment of the USCA, with 53 clubs and 2,627 members. While arena curlers are often some of the USCA’s most enthusiastic members, there are several unique obstacles that arena curling club members face that make it difficult for them to compete in USCA events. Among these challenges are:

  • Difficulty in accessing practice time
  • Poor quality of arena ice
  • Being located in areas that are quite a distance from bonspiels
  • High cost of arena ice
  • Difficulty of booking ice time for playdowns
  • Non-traditional curling season (i.e., curling in late spring and summer months)

With these obstacles in mind, the USCA has designed an arena championship that is strictly for arena curlers. The event will have a modified double knockout format for 16 men’s teams and 16 women’s teams in their respective divisions. This four-day event will be a great way to keep cool during the summertime and will include special clinics for the participants on arena ice making and curling skills.

Due to time and space constraints, and because we’re unsure of the interest and participation levels of arena curlers, the size of the field has been limited to 32 teams for the inaugural event. One of the goals of this event is to promote women’s arena curling. As such, we have developed a unique registration process that will ensure regional diversity and full participation of women’s curling teams in the championship. For this event, each club can enter one men’s team and one women’s team. It is up to the club to determine its representatives. Clubs can accomplish this either through an internal playdown or by using records from their club’s regular league schedule to determine the most deserving entries.

Each region is assured of at least one entry. If more than one arena club within a region enters a team, then the entry will be awarded to whichever club entered both a men’s team and a women’s team. In the event more than one club in a region entered a team for both divisions, then the region’s entrant will be determined by selecting the club entry at random. Any remaining open slots in the events will be selected at random from all the entries received that did not win a berth through the first selection.

The registration fee for the event is $400 per team. Pre-registration is required. Club presidents will be required to pre-register teams by using the pre-registration form embedded here. The pre-registration deadline is April 15, 2013. The teams that are selected to compete in the event will need to complete their online registration through the SportsSignup system before May 22, 2013.

Get your teams together today and join us next summer in Fort Wayne, Ind., for the inaugural USCA Arena Curling Championships.

Complete event rules will be posted on the USCA website soon.

By Jonathan Havercroft, Chairman, USCA Arena Curling Committee

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