In recognition of Pride Week in Vancouver, Curl BC is celebrating everything LGBTQ with a profile of one of Vancouver’s most colourful curling leagues.
The Pacific Rim Curling League (PRCL) is the Vancouver Curling Club’s busiest league, with 48 teams and three draws per week.
The league, which welcomes athletes who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning, as well as their friends and allies, is known for its camaraderie.
“I think LGBTQ leagues stand out for being a bit more ‘colourful’ than most leagues,” said Robert Kirkwood, the Communications Director for the PRCL. “The general mood is lighthearted and fun, especially during our bonspiels where you’re likely to see teams dressed in themed costumes, or the lounge decorated in full rainbow decor. There’s also a camaraderie among players in the league that carries over from the community in general onto the ice.”
The league has been in existence in the Lower Mainland since the 1983-84 season, moving to the Vancouver Curling Club in 1993, where it has flourished. During its time at the VCC, the league has become an essential part of the club’s success. PRCL members have served on the VCC Board in many capacities, including several past presidents.
Kirkwood said: “We’re fortunate to have so much interest in our league. The majority of the members return each year, which fills a lot of spots. As a large league with 48 teams, we’re able to offer multiple divisions with skill levels ranging from novice to competitive. So we have a place for all players regardless of their skill level, which I think makes us a popular choice when it comes to attracting members.”
Kirkwood said another community looking to establish an LGBTQ league can reach out beyond the curling community for resources. “I would recommend they connect with other LGBTQ athletics leagues and associations to learn how they reach out the community and attract members,” he said. By partnering with supportive businesses and organizations in the community as well, funds can be raised through sponsorship which helps manage ice fees and keep costs a bit lower for the players. Sponsors help promote the league as well, and can help raise awareness about the league.”
Of course, curlers from existing LGBTQ leagues are also available to help. Kirkwood said there are many members from gay leagues across Canada who would be happy to provide information about the Canadian Gay Curling Championships and the various bonspiels hosted by the leagues each year. “The gay curling community is very supportive and would be a great resource for those in other communities looking to start a league,” added Kirkwood.