With 15 weekly leagues, a variety of learn-to-curl programs, and a unique six-pack curling league, there are plenty of options available for curlers this season.

Ice preparation has begun and some league play begins on Sept. 28 with the rest coming on stream the next week.

Barb Gibson, secretary and league coordinator of the Cochrane Curling Club, says they're fired up about the season ahead.

"There are opportunities for people to come on out and grow with us this year," says Gibson. "We'd like to see some new people that are living in Cochrane or some people that used to curl before that haven't curled for a while come back and join up with us."

There are open and seniors leagues throughout the day and into the evening. Many have room for more players and teams. You can find a complete list here.

"If you haven't got a team,  you've curled before and you want to get on a team, or you're new to Cochrane, you don't know anybody, just call us and we will try and get you on to teams."

She points out the day leagues are all single-entry.

"You do not have to put in a full team. You just have to come and register with us and we'll see if there's an opening where we can put you where you'd like to play." 

Among the new leagues is an open ladies' day league.

"We've got some spots available on Thursdays at 12:30 p.m., so that's a great one. It's a brand new league for Cochrane. A lot of ladies have been looking to start a day league, so we've got it started this year."

They've also added a second sturling league on Fridays.

"A lot of people relate sturling to people that play with the stick, but you can actually play in this league and throw out of the hack. There's no age restriction, and you only play for an hour. It's just a lot of fun on ice, and so we have room in both of those leagues."

The SLS Centre is offering a brand new mixed 6-pack league for those 18-plus.

Teams play one week a month from Oct. 21 to Mar. 9 for those 18 and over.

"It's meant to be a bit of a casual, casual league where we hope you can come up to the lounge afterward and you'll get a six-pack of beer included with your registration per team," explains Morgan Muise, SLS bookings/program supervisor,

Some experience is an asset, but not necessary. If you need an introduction to curling, a quick 30-minute crash course is available before play begins.

Gibson says the curling club also has a vibrant junior league for younger players on Sundays and the 11-plus age group on Thursday. The junior program has produced several curlers who continue to climb up the rankings, but most important of all, it's fun.

They also have a club coach training program running Oct. 21-22. There is a charge for the course, but the club will reimburse those who successfully complete it, she says.

"There are quite a few leagues, and it's really nice to see so many people on the ice," says Gibson. "The one thing that I love about curling more than anything is it's a sport you can play from the age of 6 to 96 if you want."

Plenty of learn-to-curl options

The SLS curling centre will be offering a range of learn-to-curl sessions, says Muise. 

There are a series of two-day pre-season crash courses beginning Sept. 25. Following that, there are several different learn-to-curl programs, depending on the skill level you hope to achieve. 

She says the two-session crash courses are ideal for people new to curling or have signed up for league play.

"The instruction starts with covering the basics and helping you get through learning league play and the etiquette around league play. But the whole goal with all of our learn-to-play programs is that you have fun. First of all, you feel safe while you're on the ice. You learn some skills and you feel confident enough to come back either bringing your family down or joining a league, or sparing in a league through the curling club."

Those wanting more information on curling club leagues can contact Gibson by emailing coordinator@cochranecurlingclub.com or calling 403 932-2077.

You can register online for curling programs offered by the SLS Centre or drop by its Guest Services desk.

There's also a curling open house on Sept. 28 from 6 to 8 p.m.

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