The Missoula Curling Club, with its more than 150 members, has joined the Dakota Territories Curling Association.
The move means that the club will now work more closely with clubs in North and South Dakota and any regional playoffs or official USA Curling events will be with those groups.
According to club president Barry Bollenbacher, the move is to help continue the rapid growth of the sport in Missoula and throughout Montana.
Bollenbacher said the Dakotas have many clubs that support dedicated curling facilities with fairly small or spread out populations.
The Missoula club continues to work to build a curling facility in partnership with existing ice facilities and local government groups. The hope is the Dakota experience will help inform the Montana discussions.
“We have a lot in common with the Dakotas,” Bollenbacher said, “and this move will give us more opportunity to learn from them and grow the sport in both places.”
It’s possible as the club expands that the move to the Dakotas may also lead to reduced club fees for members.
The club also plans to expand their connections with Canadian clubs in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The move also means Missoula will no longer be a member in MoPac, the Mountain Pacific Curling Association. MoPac includes major clubs in Phoenix, Portland and Los Angeles.
This week the Missoula Independent ran a great cover story outlining the growth of curling in Missoula (and really Montana). We really recommend that all our members and other folks read the piece as it outlines our growth over that past six years and why it is really important to develop new ice in Missoula to support all our sports.
The story features lots of pictures and quotes from folks within the club, as well as this critical point:
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.
The story even got the attention of USA Curling, who posted it to Facebook on December 9.
The Club is working with Glacier Ice Rink as well as the City and County to try and develop new ice opportunities in the coming years. Your continued support — whether as a full or social member or simply someone interested in watching the sport — is critical to those conversations.
Thanks for all your support and we will see you on the ice.