The Nantucket Curling Club finds a home on the island.
Curling is often thought to be of Canadian origin, but the sport actually traces back to sixteenth century Scotland where games were held on frozen lochs and ponds. Despite how long it has existed, curling was only recently made an Olympic sport in 1998. Now, this June, the curious sport of curling has slipped onto Nantucket.
Curling is played on “pebbled” ice, upon which two opposing teams slide stones aimed at each other’s goals known as “houses.” Brooms are used to sweep the ice and create friction ahead of the stone and direct its course. With good sweeping, a stone can slide an additional twelve or more feet. The team captain, known as a “skip,” calls out the shots, directing strategic sweeps to “curl” the stone and clear that of an opponent — much like in croquet.
“You will hear curling referred to as chess on ice because there is a lot of strategy,” says longtime local curler Heather Sheldon, who helped bring the sport to Nantucket. After making the island her home for two years, Sheldon decided it was time to start a curling league on Nantucket. With the help of Cape Cod resident Russ Lemcke, they approached Nantucket Ice with the idea, but despite their shared enthusiasm, there simply wasn’t enough interest to get curling off the ground.
Fast-forward six years when Devin Remick was elected as the new president of the board at Nantucket Ice. Sat at his desk, he was brainstorming a way to create even more community interest in the island’s rink and fired off an email to Russ Lemcke about starting a curling league on Nantucket. Lemecke’s response came seconds later: “Hey, we tried this six years ago! Where were ya?’”
Enter the newly formed Nantucket Curling Club, which has scheduled matches Wednesday nights from 7 to 9:30 P.M. this summer season. The league is open to everyone and no skates or equipment are required. “We’ll have the stones, brooms,” Remick says. “You just need to come and have a good time.”
For more information on joining the Nantucket Curling Club, visit Nantucket Ice at NantucketIce.org.