BY GEORGE MARATOS
Suzanne Bertrand has a relatively calm tone to her voice as we chat over the phone.
It is a bit surprising considering the list of duties ahead of her leading up to the 2008 Skookum World Curling Tour Cash Spiel.
Bertrand is chairing the committee responsible for organizing this year’s competition and right now she is fine tuning last-minute details to ensure the event is once again a success.
That includes everything from securing two more teams to bring the field to 24, to lining up rental vans, hotel sponsors and gift baskets.
Bertrand, who has been curling since the age of 12 and is heavily involved with the junior program in Whitehorse, says the gift baskets are one of the little touches that make the Skookum Bonspiel so appealing.
“We probably do a little more hospitality wise and the Outside teams really notice that,” explains Bertrand. “We put welcome baskets in each hotel room, we have a dance, a banquet and lots of good local entertainment.”
Among the 22 teams competing from outside the territory are three squads from Seattle.
Bertrand says getting them to travel north to Whitehorse for the bonspiel was not difficult.
“They have been wanting to come for a while,” said Bertrand. “They’ve been going to the Fairbanks one for some time but have never made ours. They’re very excited.”
Another task Bertrand and her organizing committee are working on for this year’s event is trying to recruit Whitehorse curlers from the past for a special alumni day on Nov. 20.
Bertrand says the hope is to simply bring out some of those familiar names from the “good old days” and she says the idea is catching on with close to a dozen curling vets already interested.
“They still love the game it is just a case of old age for most of them,” explains Bertrand. “A lot of them also spend the winter somewhere warm outside the Yukon. They still are passionate about the game, it’s just some can’t play anymore.”
As part of the alumni day, veteran curlers are being asked to bring old relics from their curling glory days.
Sweaters, photos, brooms and even old trophies.
They will then be photographed and added to the club’s archives. ¬
Beefing up the archives is just another of the signs that the Whitehorse Curling Club is continuing to flourish, which is a nice contrast to a few years ago when the club was dealing with some financial hardships.
“Things are good now,” says Bertrand. “Darrell Stone at Skookum has been very generous in supporting this Bonspiel and a lot of other community members have come forward.”
The 2008 Skookum World Curling Bonspiel runs Nov. 20 to 23, with the inaugural Alumni Day Nov. 20.