Weathering the Storm - An Affair of "the Heart"

In the late afternoon of January 30th, 2015, Keith Switzer, Vancouver Curling Club member, Past- President, Honourary Life-time Member and accomplished curler, suffered a heart attack at the Peace Arch Curling Club during the Provincial Mixed Doubles Championships.

Originally perceived as a slip, key individuals quickly responded and ascertained that Keith's heart was no longer beating. Within 45 seconds CPR was started by Scott Mol, head ice official at the time. Scott was on the other side of the rink when Keith fell, and responded in seconds due to excellent radio communication from the on-ice officials. Simultaneously, Shelley Birston, a registered nurse and curling compatriot of Keith's (in VCC's Thursday Open League) rushed to the scene from the viewing lounge and assisted Scott by providing oxygen. Moments later, Kent Bird, Club Manager called 911 and arrived with the Club's AED (automated external defibrillator) which Della Bird (also a registered nurse) prepped, utilizing the AED shocks to "restart" Keith's heart.

Early CPR, air administration, and two rounds of shocks was vital to Keith regaining consciousness. He thought he had slipped, knew he was curling, and was ready to start the next end -- with or without clothes (his shirt was cut to deliver treatment). With some convincing, Keith stayed on the ice until the ambulance arrived, six to eight minutes later.

What started as a day of competitive curling unfolded in a way that has become a model of how to be prepared and respond to, such an emergency.

On Tuesday November 17th, 2015, Scott Mol, Shelley Birston, and Della Bird were honoured with a St. John Ambulance National Lifesaving Award and credited for saving Keith's life. Keith remains incredibly grateful to Scott, Shelley and Della for their quick and effective response and appreciates the concern, support, and contributions of many others who were present at Peace Arch Curling Club on that day.

Keith has since undergone treatment and surgery (done with state-of-the-art techniques at VGH in February) and is recovering very well. He began the curling season this September, just eight months after his heart-attack.

The Vancouver Curling Club is also grateful to Scott, Shelley, Della and the curling community for their timely and informed actions that day. The VCC is thankful that Keith continues to curl and support the VCC through his generous donation of time and professional council.

An AED is located at the Vancouver Curling Club, on the ice shed level, next to the elevator. VCC staff has been trained in its use to respond to similar incidents should they (heaven forbid) arise.

2015 Harvest Bonspiel "Oktoberfest" an Über Success

 
The Vancouver Curling Club would like to say a big "danke schön" (thank you) to all the participants, volunteers, and staff members who helped make the 2015 VCC Harvest Bonspiel a tremendous success.

This year's spiel featured lots of spirited teams (many in costume), an excellent Oktoberfest-inspired Saturday feast, and some terrific curling. A special thanks goes out to "Mama and the Oompahpahs," for their great tunes during the Saturday banquet.

Also in the mix this year was an integrated wheelchair team skipped by Darryl Neighbour, 2010 Paralympic Gold Medalist, and two-time World Wheelchair Curling Gold medalist.

The finals saw four great matchups, with a good mix of VCC teams, as well as two out of town teams. A special thanks to Rink Barajas from the San Francisco Bay Area, and Rink Placek, a regular at VCC bonspiels, from The Evergreen CC in Portland, Oregon.

 
 
 

See the final draw schedule and results here.

Summary of Results

A Final: Chamber's Vs. Robertson
The A final was a hard fought battle between these two teams. Robertson, a successful team in the PRCL League, and Chambers, a well known group composed of VCC and Marpole CC members. Both teams made for a very entertaining game to watch, with Team Chambers making just a few extra "clutch" shots to score in critical ends. Congratulations to the winners of the A Final, and the Harvest Trophy, Team Chambers (Skip: Randy Chambers, Third: Jim Lawson, Second: Brian Russell, and Lead: Jack Chow).
 
 
B Final: Giles vs. Barajas
A warm welcome to the VCC from a former North Shore Curling Club, Team Giles. Now curling out of the VCC, this team fit right in on Sunday with their defeat over Rink Barajas, from San Francisco. While we hate to see our American guests lose, we're very proud that they has such a great showing this weekend, second place in B is impressive in this competitive field. Congratulations to the winners of the B Final, Team Giles (Skip: Don Giles, Third: Glen Dickson, Second: Elaine Dickson, and Lead: Roxie Giles).
 
 

C Final: Make it a Double vs. Placek
Another strong team in the local PRCL League, Team Make it a Double defeated Team Placek from the Evergreen Curling Club in Portland. Team Placek is now a staple at this annual bonspiel, travelling up from Portland to join us each year. A great game indeed, with Make it a Double, indeed making a few "key doubles" to come out with the W. Congratulations to the winners of the C Final, Team Make it a Double (Skip: Aaron Thompson, Third: Jack Holmes, Second: Brian Oldham, and Lead: Jeff Berg).
 
 
D Final: $hamrockers vs. Rolling Stones
The $hamrockers are another staple of VCC Bonspiels, usually showing up in one final or another. Clearly their new and improved name, now with a $, helped them pull out a win this weekend. Up against another great group of curlers from our PRCL League, The Rolling Stones, the $hamrockers made it clear that they deserved to be in the finals with a healthy point lead. Congratulations to the winners of the D Final, $hamrockers (Skip: Kris Wright, Third: Selwyn Alexander, Second: Jon Braun, and Lead: Brett Ballah, Alternate: Jon Braun).

League Spotlight - VCC Blind and Visually Impaired League

"I'm enjoying my experience [with the Blind & Visually Impaired League] more than I could have imagined. I would have joined sooner than this if I'd known I'd have so much fun," shares Linda, a member since 2014. Blind and visually impaired curlers throughout the Lower Mainland have been active in the sport since 1962. The league was formed by Joe Lewis, then an employee of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). In 1974, the league moved from its original home, the Pacific Curling Club, to the old Vancouver Curling Club on Dinmont Avenue. The League continues to curl at VCC every Wednesday from 12pm - 2pm.

"Curling for individuals with visual impairments provides a type of "sight" that would otherwise not exist," says Carol Kent, long time volunteer and League Rep. "Volunteers use a combination of sounds, bright lights, physical cues, and verbal direction to help the blind curlers "see" the sheet of ice, and help them throw the correct line and weight."

Members are deeply committed to the sport. Linda explains: "I travel from Surrey every Wednesday for our curling practices, with Jeeves, my loyal yellow lab guide dog. We take 2 buses and the Skytrain. A one way commute takes us 2 hours, we leave home just before 9:00 am and we return home at around 4:00 pm."

"I'm willing to devote an entire day, once a week, to be able to participate with the VCC Blind & Visually Impaired League. The socialization, skill development, and the camaraderie of being part of a team is crucial for my emotional and physical well being. Without these types of recreational outlets, I could easily become isolated, lonely, and dependent on my family. Having a reason to get out regularly promotes self confidence and independence."

The League is made up of fourteen members, a few furry friends and a cohort of dedicated volunteers who support members in realizing success on the ice. League members value their friendships with volunteers, and along with VCC, are grateful for their commitment.

If you know a curler, who may be diagnosed with macular degeneration, please let them know they can continue to participate in the great game by joining the VCC Blind & Visually Impaired League. The League welcomes both new members and volunteers. For more information, please contact Carol Kent: carolkent@telus.net.

Blind & Visually Impaired League members and the Vancouver Curling Club thank the Province of BC for their continued financial support.

VCC Curling - A Corporate Team Building Concept

The Vancouver Curling Club (VCC) has become a hot bed for progressively thinking corporations looking to experience new and exciting team building sessions. Our facility has been used to build team synergy by Vancouver's tech elite, sporting organizations, theatre companies, choral groups, and a myriad of other local and visiting businesses.

Phil Summers, Toronto Raptors Media Relations said this about his team's recent visit to the VCC:

"While in Vancouver some of the Raptors staff wanted to try something new. Curling offered a great opportunity to have some fun while also proving to be a different type of challenge for the group. The Raptors would like to extend a special thanks to the Vancouver Curling Club for providing a great space, Olympic-level equipment, and just enough coaching to level the playing field."

VCC will tailor a positive experience for groups of all sizes and skill levels. Our coaching staff is ready to get beginners up to speed while honing the skills of more experienced curlers. Many of our customers use the skills of our staff to create mini competitions; ask us about our "build-a-bonspiel" package.

Lululemon and Intel, brought nearly 200 employees to our ice.
"The great thing about curling is that unless you have done a lot of it, everyone is pretty much at the same level. One shot you might miss completely and the next you're right on the button and the whole team is cheering for you. It's a great way to build a team atmosphere with staff and co-workers. Our 60 plus person team was able to spend some time on the ice, followed by a more formal session in the lounge" remarked a representative of local tech company, Hootsuite.

The modern and accessible lounge and boardroom can be transformed to suit 200 people; a casual lounge with couches and chairs, or a formal setting with tables and chairs. Lounge staff supports food and beverage needs, and a high end audio-visual system, with screens in the lounge and ice shed, allows clients to personalize their messaging during their booking.

For more information, or to book our facilities fill out this form: http://vancurl.com/rentals/submit-rental-request or contact Shirley at 604-874-0122 or smann@vancurl.com

We look forward to curling with you and your group.

VCC's Junior Development Program is Growing

The VCC's Junior Development program is a Club-run league that is coached by dedicated volunteers. The league welcomes young people ages 10-18, to learn the game, develop their curling skills and have some fun while learning the sport. It is open to all skill levels including those who have never curled before. The Program runs 23 Saturdays from 11:30am to 1:30pm from Sept. 19 to April 9.

Last season's Junior Development Program saw a 100% increase (from 21 members in 2013 to 42 members in 2014).



 

"We expect to see between 45 and 50 members in this season's Junior Development League", says Mark Robinson, volunteer coach and Club Past President.

The league consists of engaging drills, game scenarios, and mock games to help the Juniors develop their skills. There are also opportunities to dress up and have fun during the Halloween and Christmas season, as well an a Crazy Wig Day.



 
 
 
 

Pre-Season VCC Clinics a Resounding Success

The pre-season beginner, beyond the basics, and intermediate clinics have come and gone. With over 50 individuals combined, this year represented a 25% increase in clinic attendance over last year. Thanks to the great coaches and all who participated.

If you missed the button on these pre-season clinics don't smash your broom all over the ice, just register for one of our in-season clinics. Learn about them and register here: vancurl.com/lessons-clinics/clinics

<-- Coaches Brad and Croft teach ideal come-around strategies for a high corner guard

 
 

A Warm Welcome to the VCC's New and Returning Curlers

Curling is upon us, it's time to pull out your slippery shoes and warm clothes (I know, it still feels like summer) and come down to the VCC for some curling. Stay tuned to your league rep's emails as they will indicate when your particular league will start curling.

We look forward to curling with you this 2015 - 2016 season. Welcome back all returning members, and to our new members, we hope the VCC soon feels like home.

Good Curling!

55+ BC Games Curling Events

The 55+ BC Games “For Life, For Sport and Friends” is an annual multi sporting event produced by the BC Seniors Games Society for the 55+ population of BC to participate in 20 to 29 individual sports. This year the city of North Vancouver hosted the event with 3,500 athletes participating in 24 sports from August 25 - 29. The Vancouver Curling Club hosted the six events in three curling categories: Women’s, Men’s and Mixed. At the end of the event, teams were really appreciative to the organizers, VCC staff and for the great ice! A special thanks to our Ice Shed team for getting the ice in early and to rave reviews!

For the results of the 55+ BC Games visit: www.55plusbcgames.org

2015 VCC Volunteer BBQ & AGM

The VCC's Annual General Meeting will take place on Wednesday, June 3 from 7pm to 9pm and is open to all VCC members to attend. Our AGM is an important activity for our member-run organization. It provides the Board an opportunity to summarize its activities for the year, and it also gives members a chance to voice their feedback. In addition, a number of positions on the Club’s Board of Directors are up for election at each AGM. For more information, click here.

Did you volunteer at the Club last season? The annual VCC Volunteer BBQ will take place from 5:30pm to 6:30pm on Wednesday, June 3 (before the AGM). All volunteers of the 2014-2015 season are invited to come down and enjoy a drink and BBQ meal and socialize with other members. Please RSVP to Ryan via email mms@vancurl.com

Team Tully Takes Silver at Pacific International Playdowns

It was a terrific week for Team Tully: Jeff Guignard (Skip), Brock Tully (Third), Dustin Koch (Second), Nick Kuit (Lead), and Ron McKay (Alternate) at the Pacific International Cup Event, the qualifier for the Travelers Canadian Club Championships.

Unfortunately a silver medal means that the team does not receive an all expenses paid trip to Ottawa for the Champs, however it does mean that they're the second best club team in BC, which is quite spectacular. The boys went 6-1 in the round robin, beating the team from Richmond, who won the Lower Mainland Challenge a week earlier. Their loss in the round robin was to Chilliwack, the team tha would eventually beat them in the finals for the BC pool.

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