New flooring opens curling rink to year-round use

HUMBOLDT — Thanks to some community partnerships, a winter recreation facility will see summer activity.

The City of Humboldt Community and Leisure Services department has installed new sport court flooring in the curling rink that will make it possible to play sports like volleyball, badminton and baseball.

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“We're just excited to be able to see the people in here using the curling rink who otherwise couldn't have,” said Michael Ulriksen, the city’s community and leisure services director.

The flooring provides enough space for two volleyball courts. It can be removed in the fall when ice is being installed and added once the ice is removed.

Ulriksen said the idea came from the Humboldt Hustlers U13 and U14 Girls’ Club Volleyball teams.

“When we found out that the curling rink was open and available for sports teams, we came in and checked out the roof, and figured that we probably needed the girls to be playing on something other than cement, so then it gave us the idea of sport court,” said Heather Zazula, coach of the two teams.

Zazula said she then applied to Sask Volleyball for a grant to help fund the project.

Meanwhile, the city was also securing funding.

“We've been sitting on a little bit of money that came in from a donation following the Bronco tragedy in 2018 that was earmarked for in memory of the three local individuals that were on the bus: Jacob Leicht. Tyler Bieber and Brody Hinz,” Ulriksen said.

“It wasn't until this project came up that both us and the families said no, that's the project we should put the money towards.”

Another source of funding was Saskatchewan Lotteries.

Ulriksen said the flooring cost around $40,000, with $20,000 from the memorial funds, $10,000 from the Hustlers’ grant and $10,000 from  Sask. Lotteries.

“With those three partnerships, it all just worked out so now instead of having a concrete floor that has limited use, we've got a sport court flooring that can basically serve the purpose of anyone that wants to use a gymnasium.”

The director said that with school gyms closed to the public, the demand for such facilities has gone up.

The Humboldt Hustlers were using a hall in Fulda to conduct their practices. Zazula said that while the hall served its purpose, it was a bit small, with a sloped roof making it hard to do certain drills.

Practicing at the curling rink, which they did for the first time on Feb. 26, opened up new opportunities.

“It gives us the opportunity to practice on a regular-sized court with a regular-sized roof where we're not constantly hitting the roof with our rallies,” Zazula said.

Ulriksen said he wanted to note the courts aren’t just open to user groups and sports teams, but it can also be used by families and the community at large.

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