History of Curling in Lacombe
Curling has a long standing and rich history in Lacombe. Long before there was a curling rink, the game was played on frozen lakes or sloughs in the area. Barnett Lake was a favorite spot to gather for a winter game of curling.
Curling moved indoors in 1900 when the first covered rink was built by T. Cummings. It was situated on the site of the present City of Lacombe offices. In 1903 a larger facility was built primarily for skating and hockey with a lean-to off the main ice to house two sheets of curling ice. From the bleacher’s spectators could watch hockey in one direction and simply turn around to watch the action on the curling ice in the other. This facility burned to the ground in 1911 and for two winters all ice activities took place on an open-air rink where the Lest-We-Forget park is located. In 1912 Lacombe signed a contract with G. Vickers to construct a new skating and curling rink. Lacombe was the first in the province to erect such a rink under a new financing plan sponsored by the Alberta government. This new and splendid arena was located in the 5300 block on the north side of 49th avenue. It duplicated the original Cummings built rink of 1900 and cost $6500 to build.
The Lacombe Curling Club was then founded in 1920 and built new quarters immediately south across 49th avenue. This new curling facility had 4 sheets of ice and was built as a private venture by Lacombe Curlers Ltd. The first Lacombe Farmers Bonspiel was held here in 1944 and continues to be a curling highlight each year. In 1948 a small extension was added to the north side of the building to accommodate more spectators, but that spring on April 22nd the roof collapsed under heavy snow load. Luckily no one was inside the building when the roof collapsed as just 12 hours previous the arena was filled with 200+ spectators who had come to cheer on the last hockey game of the season.
In 1950 they incorporated as the Lacombe Curling Association and moved into the newly built Lacombe Memorial Recreation Centre. On November 23rd, 1953 just two short years after the opening of the LMRC it was completely destroyed by fire. Following the fire, the new Lacombe Memorial Centre and the arena were built on two separate sites. Curling continued in this location until it was destroyed by fire in 1968. The huge blaze drew many spectators from around the town and is still remembered by many of Lacombe's residents.
Following the fire that levelled the Jubilee arena a new arena was constructed that could hold up to 1700 people. It was built where our present-day facility stands. On January 31, 1970 the Curling Club's new facility opened for a short season of curling. An official opening was held the following season on November 7, 1970 with a match between Ray Talbot and Hec Gervais as the featured event. In 2002 the Lacombe Curling Club undertook an extensive renovation adding the expanded lobby, locker rooms and upper lounge as you see today. In 2014 the Lacombe Curling Club played host to the Alberta Men’s Alberta Boston Pizza Cup Provincial playdowns. This event saw the transformation of the neighbouring skating ice into a 4-sheet arena curling ice facility and the entire building transformed to host this fantastic event. It was noted as one of the best Provincial playdowns at the time. Kevin Koe and team captured the championship. In 2015 we hosted the Jiffy Lube Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts which saw Val Sweeting and her team take home the championship. In 2016 we finished our hosting agreement with the Optimist U18 (Juvenile) Alberta Championship.
The Lacombe Curling Club was founded by pioneers who never gave up even in times of extreme adversity. Curling tied the community together, it was a place to gather with friends and it gave light to the dark, cold winter months. Curling provided Lacombe with a sense of community and has a long tradition to uphold. Today's club is grateful for the efforts of all those who came before us and paved the hard roads to enjoy what we have today. The Lacombe Curling Club still remains a vital link to the community bringing people from near and far together to share a sport we all love...curling.