The Ilderton Curling Club played host to a unique tryCURLINGnow.ca event on February 24th generously supported through a ParaSport Strong Grant from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
The try wheelchair curling event, presented by paracurl and the Ontario Curling Council, was a resounding success attracting 24 new wheelchair curlers to the sport (nearly doubling the total current number of wheelchair curlers in the province) and even a few able bodied players.
Chris Bowden of Paracurl spoke highly of the event saying “Some of the participants were in tears commenting that this is such social sport. I could see them laughing and smiling with each other.”
Even 2014 Paralympic Curling Gold Medalist and 2018 Paralympian Mark Ideson was in attendance lending his support to the event and interacting with the prospective new members. Paracurl’s Bowden continued, “Everyone huddled around Mark and his medals. The were talking, socializing – something that doesn’t happen (in other parasports like) sledge hockey.”
It isn’t the first success story coming from the CurlON tryCURLINGnow.ca program, which has already attracted over 300 prospective curlers to local facilities province wide this season alone. Further expansion to the CurlON program is planned for the 2019 season as well.
“It’s an excellent example of how the tryCURLINGnow.ca model works for attracting members to local clubs, especially considering the specialized needs and limited market of wheelchair curlers, in this case” said Andrew Denny-Petch, CurlON’s Media and Web Communications Manager. “We’ve constructed a functional method which every CurlON member facility can use to attract members. It’s a true testament to the power of online marketing and how the industry of curling is now modernizing itself.”