Youngsters are introduced to curling through the Rocks and Rings program
There wasnât any curling ice on the Sherwood Elementary School gym floor in Charlottetown, but the students curled anyway.
That was courtesy of 16 rocks on wheels, a roll-out house made of vinyl and 200 or so willing participants.
Throw in a relay race with hula hoops and curling brooms and a stop-and-go sweeping drill and it proved a fun break in the school day.
Wednesday, the Capital One Rocks and Rings, a national curling program designed to introduce elementary students to the sport, landed in Charlottetown for a one-day visit.
Nolan Ryan, for one, was happy it did, at least for part of it.
â(The best thing) was when we did the running thing,â said Ryan, referring to the relay race which split his Grade 4 class into two groups.
So will he try curling on ice when he gets older?
âYeah,â he said, nodding.
Thatâs music to Amy Duncanâs ears.
The executive director of the P.E.I. Curling Association ran the presentation and the drills, all in the hopes of keeping her sport on the front burner and attracting new recruits.
âWeâre bridging the gap between the schools and the clubs. Weâre here to introduce them to the sport. Spark that fire. The next step is to bring it to the ice,â said Duncan. âThey can touch the rocks, even though they arenât real rocks, (the students) can feel the excitement.â
For four years ago the program, developed by Rock Solid Productions Inc. of Toronto has visited schools across the country.
Itâs partnered with Capital One, The Dominion, Curl Atlantic and the Canadian Curling Association.
Specialized equipment like the rocks, which are roughly the size of the handle and base that attaches to the top of a curling stone and covered by a rubber band and fitted with three wheels underneath, are part of the show.
Races and sweeping drills keep the kids moving and engaged.
Duncan also gave several short talks about the fundamentals and scoring of the game.
Nine-year-old Olivia Boch of Charlottetown enjoyed the presentation, too, although she wasnât as fired up about curling as her classmate.
âNo, Iâm not that into curling. I liked the running,â said Boch.
Cost for program is $150 and the PEICA offers a subsidy for schools to help pay the fee.
Capital One is also the main sponsor of the Playerâs Championship, April 17 to 22, in Summerside.