With Pop Whalen scheduled for reconstruction, Lakes Region Curling makes its move

LRCA members who moved stones, storage bins, and other equipment into storage are, from left: Bob Louttit, Mike Turner, Brad Swain, Rich Masse, Susan Goodwin, Bill Connors, and Bob Patterson. Not shown is Peter Goodwin.

With the approval by Wolfeboro voters of a $6.9 million reconstruction of Pop Whalen Ice and Arts Arena, Lakes Region Curling was put on notice that it had only a short window to find a home for all its paraphernalia — 80 curling stones, six 8-foot storage bins, scoreboards, brooms, push sticks, and all the equipment that it takes to run a curling league for a score of teams.

Plans call for razing of the arena to begin in early April, which meant that, as soon as the last curling matches of the year were over on March 20, organizers and members had to scramble to begin moving literally tons of materials into storage. Luckily, there were plenty of volunteers to make the process go smoothly. Since everything had to fit into a 10-by-10 storage space, the operation had to be carefully choreographed — a place for everything, and everything in its place.

The biggest challenge lay in separating two 16-foot storage bins into more mobile 8-footers. Dave Denby, an early curler who had designed and helped build the bins right  into the arena structure, was called upon to pull off the operation that separated the boxes into separate, stable units.

As the new Pop Whalen nears completion — currently planned for December of this year — everything will need to be moved back. This time, however, the storage bins will sit adjacent to the Zamboni door, eliminating the back-breaking work of the first seven years, carrying each stone over the team benches in order to reach the ice.

Rock of Ageds take Winter league title

Newly assembled from the remnants of dissolving teams, and recovering from a shaky Fall season, Rock of Ageds, consisting of lead Andrea Dudley, second Bill Connors, vice Mike Turner, and skip Rich Masse, pulled together an undefeated season to post the winningest record of the Winter 2022 curling season.

The foursome works as a team outside of LRCA matches, playing in Plymouth State University’s spring league and signing up for PSU’s MUDspiel tournament in early April.

Winter 2022 league champions Rock of Ageds, from left: Rich Masse, Andrea Dudley, Mike Turner, and Bill Connors

A longevity record of sorts

Lakes Region Curling Association has been around since the Fall of 2015, and in that time a number of folks have passed through its ranks. Whole teams have come and gone, while others have re-created themselves time and again as members came and went. Curling can be demanding for those who play it hard, so it’s not surprising that time (and a cold arena) can take their toll on teams and the organization as a whole.

That said, one team has managed to hang together for the entire seven years of the LRCA’s existence. Stone Agers, consisting of Anne Blodget, Judy Crosley, Peter and Susan Goodwin, and Roger Murray, has beaten the odds and remained almost completely unchanged as a team. (An original team member, Carol Carilli, left the team after a few years, but there have been no other changes.)

It seems that there are advantages to longevity. Of late, Stone Agers are perennial challengers for the league title, coming within a whisker in the last two seasons. With a little luck, that could be expected to change soon.

Thge long-lasting Stone Agers, from left: Anne Blodgett, Judy Crosley, Susan Goodwin, Peter Goodwin, and Roger Murray.