Change is coming to the St. Marys Curling Club, as the long-time manager and ice maker team, Amie and Derek Shackleton, will retire from their positions to focus on other business ventures and family. Taking over as the new general manager for this upcoming season is Jason Clarke, who has served as president of the board for the last four seasons.
Clarke comes from a curling family; his grandfather, uncle, aunt and parents are all life-long curlers. His other grandfather was an ice-maker for over 30 years at the Exeter Curling Club. He grew up curling, and it remains one of his favourite past-times.
One of his earliest jobs was at the Ilderton Curling Club, first as an assistant ice technician, and later as assistant manager. During this time, Clarke learned the skills of the trade from one of the region’s top ice-makers, Dan Prohaszka. He also learned that a curling club is much more than just good ice, rocks and competitive sport – even more than those things, a curling club is a community.
Clarke became a member at St. Marys Curling when his family moved to town in 2011. Before long, he found himself seated on the board of directors. During his time on the board, he has focused on improving the club’s community presence and regional profile through branding, improved e-communications, social media, and web presence, as well as supporting Amie, Derek and the rest of the board in keeping the club running smoothly. He hopes to continue to expand programming, increase membership, and ensure St. Marys Curling is at the forefront of the future of the game.
The St. Marys Curling Association would like to extend its most sincere thanks to Amie and Derek for everything they have done to make St. Marys Curling one of the most respected and well-run clubs in the region.
Amie Shackleton has led many initiatives and projects that have helped set St. Marys Curling apart from other clubs in the region. She was instrumental in creating a healthy and inclusive competitive league that attracts curlers from near and far. She was ahead of the curve in seeing the potential of 2-on-2 curling, starting a league early on that is now so strong, it is the envy of many other clubs.
Shackleton has also been the force behind many annual bonspiels, working selflessly behind the scenes so that members could enjoy themselves at these events. She also helped put St. Marys Curling on the map within the curling community. Her advocacy to host large-scale OCA events resulted in two provincial championships and countless other zone and regional playdowns at the club.
Despite the challenges of hosting large provincial events at a small local club, each of them was run flawlessly, resulting in high praise from the OCA and the participants. Her passion for the sport has been contagious, and her work has left St. Marys Curling a strong, engaged, dedicated community of curlers.
Maintaining an ice surface over the course of a season is no easy task, but the club has been fortunate to have a dedicated ice-maker in Derek Shackleton, bringing very high quality and consistent ice year after year. His dedication to providing the best playing surface was demonstrated in 2013 when the compressor failed and the ice was lost.
After a few sleepless nights and a lot of hard work, within a week the club was back up and running. Shackleton’s work extended beyond the ice surface, and he always made sure the club was running smoothly. From stocking the bar to shovelling snow to the hundred other tasks he did, his work behind the scenes made the experience of every member better.
St. Marys Curling is very grateful to Amie and Derek for their time and dedication over the last decade, and all look forward to continuing to see them on the ice for many years to come.
The 2019/20 season is right around the corner, and some great events are lined up for curlers at all levels.
2019-20 curling events
Oct. 10 and 12 – Free Learn to Curl Sessions
Nov. 16 – WillMark Mixed Funspiel
Jan. 4 – Quadro Communications Jack Frost Mixed Bonspiel
Jan. 18 – Remax Mixed Doubles Bonspiel
Feb. 1 – Independent Grocers Ladies Bonspiel
Mar. 7 – Wellington Brewery Men’s Bonspiel