With a full complement of 36 teams and a few new twists, the Cochrane Curling Centre will be rocking this weekend during the men's open bonspiel, Jan. 25-27.

The Cochrane Curling Club bonspiel sold out last year at 32 teams and when they upped the draw by four it maxed out again and has a waiting list.

Club board member Kendall Waiting, who's a member of the men's team organizing this year's bonspiel, says they've attracted many teams from the greater Calgary region and even have an entry from Saskatchewan.

"We're very happy to have all the teams participating, not only from local clubs but of residents who have curled and lived in Cochrane before and are coming back for the bonspiel. Parents and sons that will be curling against each other will be especially fun to watch."

Added Twist

The bonspiel will have your traditional 'A', 'B' and 'C' events, based upon wins and losses as the teams progress through the draw. They've replaced the 'D' event where teams struggling to notch a win end up, with a new, fun and creative take on the sport.

"We've arranged for a fun game for our first four 0-3 teams that will use the small sheets at the back of the curling rink which I think will be more than entertaining for everyone to enjoy," says Waiting.

The "little league" games go Saturday night and they'll have some special rules to make it entertaining for the curlers and spectators alike

It is a collaborative idea that started to be flushed out after the first draw of the men's league this season while brainstorming for the bonspiel, says Waiting.

This is a cash bonspiel and there's money on the line for each match.

"We always naturally hope that the money is reinvested in some libations but some people might choose to put some in their pocket for home."

Play begins Friday night at 4 p.m. and the final draws start around 3 p.m. on Sunday.

The upstairs lounge that overlooks the ice will be open all weekend. There will also be many great raffle prizes donated by local sponsors up for grabs.

Man Van Prostate Testing- 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday

In Canada, the state of men’s health is often called the “silent crisis.” Men live five years less than women on average and out of the top 15 causes of death, men lead in 14. Men also are more likely to avoid preventative care, delay treatment, pay less attention to health information and are less likely to have a health care provider.The Man Van will be located near the main entrance to the aquatic centre on Saturday from 12 noon to 3 p.m. (Photo Courtesy Prostate Cancer Centre)

That's where the Man Van of Calgary's Prostate Cancer Centre has stepped up to help. It will be parked in the outside loop by the main entrance to the aquatic centre on Saturday from 12 noon to 3 p.m. to provide free prostate blood testing for men ages 40 to 80. Ten minutes in the Man Van can aid in early detection of prostate cancer. When discovered early it is very treatable.

The Prostate Centre will also have a booth set up in the curling centre.

"It's a new addition," says Waiting. "We worked earlier at the start of the year to coordinate with Prostate Centre and the Man Van to get them here and be part of the solution."

According to the prostate centre, one man in seven will develop prostate cancer in his lifetime. Approximately 2,600 men will be diagnosed annually with prostate cancer and eight men will die from it every week.

You Can Never Say It Enough

Waiting says you can never say thank you enough to the many sponsors and volunteers that make the bonspiel possible and salutes everyone who has pitched in.

"Without them and our sponsors we would never be able to put these on and all you can say is thank you and you can never say it enough."

Among them is the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA), who has donated $800, $200 for each of the club's four annual bonspiels as well as some raffle prizes. A cheque presentation takes place Saturday afternoon.

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