November 2022


The Missoula Curling Club is one of the largest arena clubs in USA Curling. It has grown thanks to the ice time and support of Glacier Ice Rink, but in particular due to the dedication of the club members and the Missoula community.


Now, the Club proposes to expand the opportunities of curling in Missoula by building a dedicated curling facility that will allow us to greatly expand youth programs and take advantage of the all-abilities nature of curling to potentially add  a wheelchair league and seniors league. Our main impediment to this expansion is not the sport, the financial cost of putting on such programming or interest from the community. It has all come down to finding time in Glacier’s crowded schedule to make this all possible. 

A dedicated curling facility will allow our 501(c)3 to operate to its full potential, creating important community events, a youth-centered program for both high school and college programs as well as a youth competitive curling program. We also plan a series of tournaments that could attract teams from around the country as well as official USA Curling events. 


And for those hundreds of people who have curled and stopped because of late Saturday night league times or the unpredictability of arena ice, this is our opportunity to welcome you back to a dedicated facility where curling is community.


Dedicated Ice Plan
After more than a decade, the Missoula Curling Club has outgrown our roots at the Glacier Ice Rink. We now have more need for ice than they can provide and so we have begun the process of finding a home for the club where we can maintain a 9-month or year-round, four or five sheet curling facility.


We will create a club where people can come to many open curling and learn to curl sessions, where leagues run most weeknights and membership allows people time to come in and practice as well as play in games.


The facility will ideally be within the city limits or just beyond. A commercial realtor, contractor and architect who have curled are all helping identify possible properties and connect us with owners.


We are also working with ice making companies to identify systems we could put into a leased space and how they would operate. The club has also had early conversations with partners who may be interested in running the concessions.


In short, the club has built a business plan, raised some of the early capital and made the business and professional connections to be able to move should a property that fits our needs becomes available.


We have begun to explore grants, donations and low-cost loan programs to assist with financing the project. We hope to demonstrate the breadth of support by asking current and former curlers to donate to the effort. As we work with financial institutions and community groups, showing membership and alumni is committed to the project will be important. 

Additionally, we are in talks with USA Curling and the World Curling Federation to apply for a no-cost loan to develop the curling facility. We will also explore large donations that may include naming rights for the facility.

Youth and All-Abilities
Although serious curlers could bend your ear for days about the unpredictability and inconsistency of arena ice (the call of “playing the zam[boni] line” is one of the prime jobs of a skip), the real impact of arena ice has been the inability to add programming that would serve more people and take advantage of this unique ice sport.


With no skating or contact, curling is one of the most accessible and affordable all-abilities winter sports. We could have a wheelchair league or a retirees league or a family league or a high school league. But we have been unable to start any of them because of the complexity of building interest and then finding available time at a rink with enormous time demands for hockey leagues.Young players


And so, we have tried to do the programming at the odd open slots. We have taught more than a thousand high schoolers over the years, but have been unable to offer them a reasonable time to get involved in the sport. We have had a University of Montana team, but have been unable to coordinate ice time from Glacier to start a class. We have had sessions during learn to curls for wheelchair players, but cannot offer more.


A dedicated curling facility changes all of that. Built into our plan is an aggressive plan to create multiple leagues to allow the development of youth programs that include partnerships with high schools, potential camps with Parks and Recreation, outreach to veteran groups and connections with physical therapy programs to encourage all-abilities curling leagues.


Senior and Retiree Leagues

One of the largest group of curlers we have struggled to maintain are older curlers who do not want to play later into the night (or early morning). This group of seniors include players from outlying communities who will make the trek to Missoula now to play during open curling. To have a facility that would allow more expansion into daytime curling creates opportunities for those players who have retired or are free due to their schedules. 


Among our current players there are those who would help organize and run senior or daytime leagues if the ice time were available. A dedicated facility offer them a chance to practice, build community and develop new leagues. 


Bonspiels and Playdowns

In addition to youth, senior, and wheelchair leagues, our plans include an array of tournaments and events. The Big Sky Bonspiel, one of the largest bonspiels in the northern U.S. Rockies, will continue, but we will add other events, including cash spiels, a brewery-sponsored brewer’s cup tournament as well as potential regional or national playdown events. 

A dedicated facility will attract curlers from across the country as well as Canada to travel to Missoula. We will ideally partner with local tourism groups to make the Garden City a destination for curlers. The business and sponsorship opportunities for these bonspiels will also help expand the economic footprint of the club.

Corporate and Team-Building Events

As part of a diversified business plan, we will also offer community groups and local businesses the opportunity to host curling parties and learn-to-curl events at the new facility. 

These events can both bring in revenue as people find the teamwork of curling a great tool to bring groups together and can serve as a recruiting tool for the club. 

We have spent years planning bonspiels, leagues, youth programs and events and the proposed dedicated ice location will allow the Missoula curling community to grow in new and exciting ways. 

About the Club

Founded in 2010, the Missoula Curling Club hosted its first learn to curl in December of that year. By January 2011, the club had formed its first league and hosted its first bonspiel in March of that year. The club played its first season in two, 90-minute sessions, from 10-11:30 pm  and 11:30 pm - 1:00 am.  By March of 2011 the club was hosting its first modest bonspiel.

The club went through cycles of growth and shrinking as new people tried and some older members tired of the times. By 2019, the club was at about 170 members. 

Then COVID swept the sports world. By the next season, we had shrunk to a mere 45 players. 


But in the 2021-2022 season, the club undertook a concerted effort to re-engage with members and get people curling again. That year, the membership soared to 190 members, making it one of the largest clubs in the northern U.S. Rockies.

We finished the 2022-2023 season with over 200 members, even though our ice time has not particularly improved from that inaugural season. Member and partner support will be critical for the success of this venture.