On December 13, 1913, a meeting was held and the Cochrane Curling Club was born. A membership fee of $5 was established and the inaugural budget was established as follows: $125.25 to purchase curling rocks; ice maker $150 for the season; $.50 for a cash book and $1.50 for a minute book – total annual budget $475.25. Fast forward 100 years and the annual budget to run a four-sheet rink ranges around $175,000.
The curling rocks in the early days were not symmetrical, and weight varied from 35-54 pounds. Some were actually owned by the curlers and some were owned by the club. They were kept locked up in a special box at the rink. The rocks were not numbered, so in order to distinguish which rocks belonged to whom they would tie colored pom-poms that would slip over the handles.
The first rink was outdoors with one sheet of ice east of town and south of the Big Hill Lodge. From that beginning, they moved to a Quonset structure with two sheets of ice. They agreed to purchase a building for $600 and the ground the club was to be built on for $80. They also purchased one scraper, a sheepskin, a tank for hot water and a sprayer for pebbling the ice. They hauled water from the river in a wooden water tank pulled by a team of horses in order to make the ice. Sometime in the 1930’s they got tired of hauling the water and put in a well.
In 1953 they started to build a new rink just east of St. Andrews United Church with three sheets of ice – the cost to build the facility was less than $15,000. It served the community for many years not only as a curling club but was used year-round for other community events. Unfortunately, this facility burned to the ground in 1984. Also in 1984, the curling club officially became a Society. In 1985, the existing curling club on 5th Ave. was built with four sheets of ice. Over the last 28 years it has served Cochrane well but it has out-lived the growth of this vibrant community.
For the past several years the club has been working closely with the Town of Cochrane, Rocky View County and Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre officials to relocate to the Spray Lake Centre. This move will allow the club continue to grow with the town. With six sheets of ice, it will allow the club and Cochrane to host more prestigious events, bringing an economic value to the Town of Cochrane.
The design of the facility also allows for Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre to run many other programs in the building, other than curling, generating revenue 12 months of the year rather than just during curling season.
So, again, happy 100th birthday to the Cochrane Curling Club and we look forward to seeing you celebrate another 100 in your new location in the near future.