Weekly maintenance ice man Roman Petryk prepares the ice for another week of curling at the local club. Leagues are in action Monday to Thursday evenings.

Weekly maintenance ice man Roman Petryk prepares the ice for another week of curling at the local club. Leagues are in action Monday to Thursday evenings.

Preparing the ice for Hope’s curlers

Local club welcomes several new members this season

He says he shaves at least once a week — and he sends in his shaver blade every summer for a tune-up, at a cost of about $250.

But one look at Roman Petryk’s curly beard and you know he must be talking about something else.

The 27-year-veteran ice maker at the Hope Curling Club was prepping the ice on Monday afternoon for the coming week of curling, and he took a few minutes to explain his job.

“I’ll be shaving off the pebbles off the ice and putting down new ones,” he said. “It takes about an hour for each sheet.”

The rocks are in plain sight — but the pebbles are harder to see, unless you’re right on the ice. Pebbles are little icy bumps, laid down by sprinkling droplets of hot water from a hand-powered device that’s simply called a pebbler.

“The rocks need the pebbles to bite on and they wear off during the week,” explained  Petryk. “We also pebble before every game.”

Petryk put the club’s battery-powered Ice King shaver into action, making numerous passes up and down the sheet, gradually shaving the ice down to an almost-smooth surface.

“We’re not like the ice rink, where they are just skating on it,” said Petryk. “We’ve got to keep things perfectly level here, or the stones won’t slide properly.”

Dust and grit in the four centimeter-thick ice can take the edge off the blade over time, so Petryk does a temporary tune-up every month or so with a hone — then it gets sent away for an annual overhaul in the summer.

It pays to be connected, to keep maintenance costs down. Petryk said the ice man for the Abbotsford club gathers blades from clubs in the region and sends them back east in one shipment, giving all the clubs a better deal.

Speaking of costs, the club got off to a smooth start this season — unlike the past two, said club president Galen Toy.

“It was nice to begin this season without any troubles with the ice plant,” said Toy. “The last two years started with the successive failures of our two compressors, one in each year, costing the club approximately $11,000 each to replace.”

Petryk figured the units only have a life of seven or eight years, so the club will have to keep putting funds aside for such surprises. Other than player dues, the club raises funds through their annual bonspiels and other events at the club, including the Men’s Spiel in January, the Ladies’ in February, the Mixed in March and the Spring Fling Dance in April.

“Much appreciation to our various local business sponsors for their continued generous support,” added Toy.  “Without the numerous club volunteers and our supportive business community, we might not have made it through the last couple of years.

“We kicked off the pre-season in early October with a well-attended curling clinic/fun ‘spiel,” said Toy. “We introduced the game of curling to a number of people who had never curled before, and we’re happy to welcome a dozen new curlers to the club this year.”

That open invitation worked for Ross and Sally Fullbrook.

“They had never curled before,” said Petryk. “They came out to the clinic and decided they’d give it a whirl. I have them curling with Shirley Trick and myself on Thursday nights.”

The youth movement has fallen away for the time being — but there’s regrowth on the other end of the age spectrum.

“My dad [Jimmy] came back last year and this year, he got Roy Chou back on his team,” said Galen. “Dad started curling as a kid back in Manitoba but he hadn’t been curling here for almost 20 years. It’s good to see both of them back.”

For those who don’t like to — or physically can’t — get down in the hack, the “stick” has helped players extend their years in the game. A flexible fitting slides over the handle of the rock and simulates the action that a curler’s hand would give.

“You’ve got to develop a feel for it — but there’s some debate that it could be better than the traditional delivery,” said Galen. “Take the sliding and balancing out of the equation and it may actually be more accurate.”

In national curling news, Hope resident Doug Marshall and his mixed rink from Chilliwack were the B.C. reps at the Canadian National Mixed Championships, in Sudbury last week. His foursome finished in a five-way tie for fourth place, with a record of eight wins and five losses.

Just Posted

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

(file)
Pedestrian hit by police vehicle in Langley

Injuries described as serious, requiring surgery

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Most Read