Curling has taken Missoula by storm. Since launching in December 2010, hundreds of people have joined the league and played, thousands of high school students have learned the sport, and dozens of organizations have included curling in their events.
The result has been a lot of attention to our sport and we wanted to share the way our story has played out.
The big picture is best told in a couple of stories, one in the Missoula Independent and the Missoulian. The Missoula Independent captured the state of things, writing:
But six years of rampant growth has put local curlers in a tough spot. With only two rinks in town to divide among a multitude of interests—figure skating, public skating and various hockey leagues—time on the ice has become a precious commodity. [Curling Club President Barry] Bollenbacher says Glacier Ice Rink has been extremely accommodating to curling, going so far as to host regular Friday [open curling] events to help introduce more people to the sport. But for curling to realize its full potential in Missoula, it’ll need more time, more space and more infrastructure than it currently has. And the solution may lie in the long-awaited redevelopment of the Missoula County Fairgrounds.
In the Missoulian, the paper noted the reality of ice in Missoula, noting:
Almost 20 years ago, hockey in Missoula moved in and got comfortable at the fairgrounds, but with its surge in popularity that accompanied the ice’s installation, plus the emergence of the Missoula Figure Skating Club and more recently the Missoula Curling Club, local ice sports have out-grown their starter home.
Although these stories are more about the state of curling and ice generally in Missoula, many of the pieces focus on the excitement people