Curling Club History

Avonair Curling Club

The Avonair Curling Club was created by the Edmonton-Avenue Curling Club in 1969; however, it's roots began with the Edmonton and Alberta Avenue Curling Clubs which existed much earlier.

The Edmonton Curling Club was located at the north end of the High Level Bridge and the Alberta Curling Club was at 9430 - 117 Avenue.  Both facilities were aging and curlers were looking for a new building.  In 1969 members from both the Edmonton and the Avenue clubs went together and purchased the eight sheet Menorah Curling Club which had been built by the Jewish Community in 1952 and was located at 10607 Princess Elizabeth Avenue.  This is now know as the Avonair Curling Club.

The first season for the Edmonton-Avenue Curling Club was 1970/71.  It operated both the Menorah building, newly named the Avonair Curling Club and Alberta Avenue Curling Club; 64 men's teams were registered.  The president that year was L.E. "Bud" Olson and the vice president was J. Stan Symons.  The Alberta Avenue Curling Club remained in operation until it was phased out in 1975.

By 1987 it was apparent that a change was needed in order to maintain the financial viability of the club.  The Edmonton-Avenue Curling Club was incorporated under the Companies Act and as such was not eligible for certain grants and lottery funding.  So on October 1, 1987 the Avonair Curling Association of Edmonton was formed and registered under the Societies Act; this association is able to apply for grants and different types of financial assistance.  This association still operates the club uner a lease agreement with the Edmonton-Avenue Curling Club.

With these new funding sources the club was able to upgrade their 35 year old building.  A new chiller and condenser were purchased; new brine lines and concrete base in the ice area were installed; and roof renovations wee completed.  In 1992 the entire front of the building was rebuilt to enlarge the viewing area, creating the modern facility the membership enjoy today.

The members of the Avonair credit the skillful leadership of recent managers for the continued success of their club.  These include: Hector Gervais (1990-1997); Aaron Skillen (1997-1999) and Bill Renner (1999-2011).  They also have fond memories of of notable personalities who were once members of their club including three Edmonton Eskimos: Ron Forwick, Jackie Parker and Howie Schume; as well as the late, great radio personality Wes Montgomery.

The banners at the Avonair attest to the fact that it has been the home of Provincial, Canadian, World and Olympic Champions. Among the widely recognized names are skip Kevin Martin.  As well you will find a banner in honour of Randy Ferbey team who called the club home in 2003 when they won the men's Provincial, Canadian and World Championship.
The Avonair has been home to the NAIT college teams for many years under the leadership of renowned coach Jules Owchar, an active member of the club.

The Avonair boasts the highest number of regular leagues of all Edmonton clubs, registering 25 leagues that cater to all age and skill levels.  Among these leagues, two are noted for their longevity.  It is home of a Tuesday evening ladies league known as the "Ladies Hot Shots" which has been in existence since 1965.  Records show that the first meeting of this league was held at the Royal George Hotel on May26, 1965.  Nine ladies teams played every Monday at the Sportex and the fees were $25.  In 1966 this league moved to the Ottewell and then to Jasper Place in 1968, but it settled as the Menorah (now the Avonair) in 1969 and remain an active league today.  Another long standing league of over 60 years is the "Sportsmen League" which plays Wednesday afternoons.  This men's league celebrated it's 60th anniversary in 2007.

By: Shirley Haight

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