As curling season comes to a close, the game of shuffleboard becomes the sport that draws people to the club.
The shuffleboard league continues to grow in Edmonton, offering retired seniors a place to compete and socialize during the day.
More than 40 seniors filled half the Ottewell Curling Club on Tuesday playing shuffleboard on green mats as they use cues to push discs to accumulate points and knock out their opponents discs.
The Greater Edmonton Shuffleboard Association has more than registered 100 members, who play during the day three times a week or in one the scheduled evening sessions.
Barbara MacPherson started playing in the club last year and she’s excited to play again for another season. She retired almost 15 years ago.
“It gets you up in the morning. Gets you out of the house,” MacPherson said. “And you get to meet all these lovely old people.”
There’s a social side to the club as most of the people who play in the league are retired seniors over the age of 55.
“More like a family than a club now because a lot of these people have been together for three years,” said Charlie Loiselle, the association’s president. “It just keeps getting better and better.”
For many, shuffleboard offers a competitive sport that’s easy on the body.
“I can’t golf because of issues in my spine, but I can do this and I still want to compete,” Loiselle said.
Loiselle, 71, and director Pat Wilson started the association more than two and a half years ago after playing shuffleboard in a curling rink in Innisfail. Alta.
Many of the members of the Edmonton club are snowbirds who started playing at resorts in the United States. Some of them have won championships in competitions in those states.
“We go down to Mesa, Arizona,” said Wilson. “There’s people from all over here. There’s people from California, Yuma and that whole Phoenix area.”
But the Ottewell Curling Club gives them somewhere to play when they spend the warmer months in Edmonton before returning south for the winter.
The club is looking to attract younger players in the evenings with no shortage of instructors.