Potomac Curling Club History
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Potomac Curling Club was founded in 1961 by six Canadians,
stationed in Washington DC; Bill Onysko, Al Foster, Paul
Magnusson, Jack Rozee, Ben Southon, and Alice Preen. The
Club first curled on rented skating ice in College Park,
MD, using stones borrowed from the American Curling Foundation.
After a year, we moved to another skating rink in Silver
Spring, MD housed in a former Safeway store. We had three
sheets of ice, all less than standard length, and no two
the same length, due to the shape of the building. All
of this made draw weight a tricky thing to come by.
spite of poor ice an limited curling time (one night a week),
we were able to maintain an adequate and enthusiastic membership,
indeed, sufficient to require a staged draw, such that each
team curled only two nights out of three.
continued in this fashion until 1967 when the proprietor of
the rink lost his lease and ice plant was torn up. Left without
a home, our prospects did not look bright. However, after two
years as an ice lesscurling club, we learned that Montgomery
County, MD was going to open the first of two standard size
skating rinks. Thus we were once again able to rent ice one
night a week and resume active curling. The following year,
the County opened its second rink at Cabin John Regional Park,
and we moved to that facility, its location being more convenient
to our scattered membership. We curled at Cabin John until
December 2001, except for one year when we thought we had found
better ice, but wound up with none at all.
our years at Cabin John rink, we've been able to maintain sufficient
membership to keep operating, but never as high as we'd have
liked. Typically, we've had some 50 to 70 curling members,
but with high turnover. Since our founding we've had over 700
members all told.
are pleased that, in spite of our poor ice and limited ice
time through the years, we have sent three rinks to the Men's
National Competition, and more recently a rink to the Mixed
National Competition. Also we've had many rinks, curling in
bonspiels up and down the eastern U.S., occasionally capturing
after our club was formed, we entered into a friendly competition
with the Hershey Curling Club, meeting once or twice a year
for games between the two clubs. This close relationship thrived
almost without interruption until Hershey lost their ice a
few years ago. Unfortunately, lacking our own ice, we were
rarely been able to host these competitions. We are all the
more grateful to the Hershey folk for their generosity in keeping
this friendly rivalry active. We sincerely hope Hershey will
succeed in their current effort to build a new facility, and
that our series of friendlies can be resumed.
the 1990's, the curling facility at Easton, MD was completed
and the Chesapeake Curling Club was formed. During their first
year we helped as best we could, the few experienced curlers
in the Easton area to recruit and train new curlers. Since
then we've maintained close ties with Chesapeake. One program
in particular deserves mention. Within our club we formed a
group of some two dozen curlers who drive to Easton on six
or seven Saturdays each season for a day of curling on proper
ice - a great boon to us. This group, known as the Bay Hoppers
(we must cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to get there), has
become something of an institution in our club. Indeed we now
have a Bay Hoppers Trophy, awarded each year to the winners
of this Saturday round robin competition. Another gesture of
our close relationship with Chesapeake is our annual inter-club
bonspiel, held in mid-March. It has come to be known as the
Meltdown, since on completion of play, their ice machine is
turned off for the season.
In January2002, the Potomac Curling Club was close to opening, but needed additional facility work done to ensure all inspections were met. The membership pulled together and built the majority of the warm room, kitchen, and locker rooms... basically put up walls and ensured a presentable club environment.
February 2002, the club moved into its own building - the National
Capital Curling Center, a 4-sheet dedicated curling facility.
The dedication, determination and hard work of the members
of the Potomac Curling Club led to the fulfillment of a dream
- a world-class curling facility, with excellent ice, available
seven days a week and capable of hosting national level curling
events and fostering the growth of curling. In the full short
months after its opening, and taking advantage of the enormous
interest spawned by the 2002 Olympics, the PCC doubled its
membership. A PCC hosted Open house at the club that attracted
700 visitors shows the future of the club and for curling is
bright. The 2006 Olympic Open house attracted a record 1,205 visitors.
The line started at our door and extended past the Gardens Ice
House building out into the parking lot. Approximately 90 people
joined as "Olympic Members" for the final part of the
2005-06 curling season.
has always been the case, our club is run by our members, an
all volunteer organization. No history would be complete without
a mention of our Past Presidents who
have volunteered their time and effortsto insure our continuing
account such as this would not be complete without mention
of a legend we treasure - a mythical club aircraft, and more
important, a mythical individual, Fred Spanner, who has maintained
the aircraft throughout the years. The old timers among us
first became aware of Fred when occasional references to him
and to the aircraft appeared in our newsletter, at the time
written be a charter member, John Bittner. Following are a
couple of items that appeared circa 1970:
AND FOUND DEPARTMENT -- The spare keys to the club's aircraft,
the "Spirit of Curling", are apparently in someone's
pocket or dresser drawer. If you are the culprit, will you
please return the keys to Fred Spanner as soon as possible.
FRED'S UP IN THE AIR AGAIN -- Mechanic Fred Spanner reports that it has become
common practice for members to leave the club aircraft - "Spirit of
Curling" - with partially empty fuel tanks. It is requested (read
that "required") that members top off the tanks when returning
from a trip. Any infractions of this rule will result in cancellation of
your flight privileges.
honor of this elusive character we now have a Fred Spanner
trophy - a gilt model of a small plane made of plaster, and
in no way capable of flight. This trophy is awarded from time
to time for a variety of sins. But recipients are always pleased
because we all love Fred.