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Dec 21, 2015 7:47 EST

Curling in Belgium: The first Belgian curling hall in Zemst

iCrowdNewswire - Dec 21, 2015

Curling Club Mechelen has one target…. the first Curling ice in Belgium. The demand for curling clinics is rising and our national teams want to take a leap forward. To realise this we need 400.000 of which we want to collect 30.000 via crowdfunding.

But first things first…. What is curling?

Curling is an Olympic winter sport that you have probably seen on TV. It is the sport with brooms and rocks (or stones) that is played with four players on ice. The rocks are ‘thrown” (slid) into a house (circles in the ice).

In all of the northern countries curling is a well known and popular sport. Canada, Switzerland, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, USA, China and Japan are the biggest curling countries. In Canada curling is the third biggest sport and the second biggest participation sport. (behind Hockey and golf). There are 500,000 curlers in clubs in Canada and almost one million that curl once in awhile. 

 

 

And today in Belgium?

Today in Belgium we have weekly company ventures and other groups that want to try curling. The last two years curling has tripled in membership. The interest is huge but the problem that still exists to make it grow is the infrastructure. Mainly good curling ice. Today the three clubs in Belgium still only have restricted hours to curl.  All these clubs each have a maximum of 4 hours a week on hockey ice. This has 2 major disadvantages:

  1. The supply and demand just cannot be met. Mainly the hours are usually not possible. The main reason why more than 90 % of the people that try curling don’t continue is that the times are just not feasible for them.
  2. The quality of the ice (or better said the lack of quality for curling) has a huge influence on staying at it. Many have tried it for a while but stop because of the poor ice quality.

Why ice quality is so important is explained by Mark Neeleman (ice technician in Zoetermeer Holland). Our video is in Dutch, for an English explanation we provide you this link to a great article in Smitsonian Magazine: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/why-curling-ice-is-different-than-other-ice-180949752/?no-ist

 

 

How is Belgium doing on an international level?

Belgium has at the moment two international teams (a third (seniors) and possibly a fourth (mixed doubles) are on the way this curling season.) The Belgian mens team is 25th on the world curling federation rankings. The Belgian doubles team are 28th (of 36) http://www.worldcurling.org/rankings-men-and-women

This is an amazing result from the team from Campina Curling in Turnhout (Belgium). The team consists of players that have only curled for one or two years.

Belgian men team

Belgian mixed team

http://www.worldcurling.org/wmxcc2015/day-5-session-22

 

Para qué es la financiación

To achieve our goal, we need 400.000 euro. Our main partners to achieve this are the World Curling Federation, Province of Brabant (Belgium) and the town of Zemst. Furthermore we will need you. You can support us by coming to our club to have a try at curling, becoming a member of the club or simply supporting us financially. Other partners are Palm Brewers, WeLoveWalls and Cas Moor. We also have other fun and unique rewards for our supporters. Discover our project and the people behind it! Come and join us!

At the end of last year Curling Club Mechelen were in the running for a PCF (portable curling facility) from the WCF (World Curling Federation). This was a completely subsidised situation. We were one of the 15 other clubs that sent in a business plan. We got to the last two together with a club from Finland. The location that was chosen was in Elewijt in the Driesstraat. (a town that is part of Zemst). But finally the club from Finland won in the final round. This was an all or nothing situation which meant that our club received no further support whereas the Finnish club will have their curling facility.

Now a half a year later we have put our heads together and together with the Province of Brabant, the town of Zemst, The Belgian Curling Association, after convincing the World Curling Federation and many other partners we have come up with a plan to realize Curling Ice in Belgium. The plan is to build a semi permanent Curling Hall which will upgrade the curling ice in Belgium to world level.

A few impressions from our architect Bart Doms: http://www.dearchitecten.be

 

What is all of this going to cost?

The dossier that was used last year for the PCF was a Curling Facility that would cost €400,000. The price that we made would have been done by professionals. Since we now have taken the project to another level we plan to do as much of the work as we can ourselves. This would mean that we would create a better building but it would be appoximately the same price. An overview of the costs involved:

  • +/- €150.000 for the steel structure with at least 14 cm of additional insulation.
  • +/- €100.000 for the ice plant, dehumidifiers and other ice preparation equipment.
  • +/- €60.000 for ground preparation
  • +/- €25.000 for electrics, plumbing and lighting
  • +/- €25.000 for cosmetic (walls, doors, bar, glass window between the bar and the ice…)
  • +/- €40.000 for project management, safety etc.

You can find more information about the total project at: http://www.curlingmechelen.be. In the weeks to come we will be introducing all of our partners in this plan. Be sure to watch for more and share our story to let it go global. We are pioneers and we want the world to know.

 

It costs €400.000. Why 30.000 euro via crowdfunding?

  1. First and foremost we would like to thank the town of Zemst. They provided us with the  perfect location, that we can use for 20 years.
  2. Besides that The World Curling Federation is still willing to help and succeed in this project. They will provide us with financial support that will bridge that gap. The loan will be interest free repaid within 10 years.
  3. Subsequently we have asked that the project can be partially subsidised through youth and wheelchair activities. This was met positively.
  4. The club itself will do its share. The faster it grows the more potential. The other amounts will be collected by community efforts, partners and sponsors.

 

What if crowdfunding would earn more than €30.000?

This would be a dream scenario but if it were to happen we would primarily use the funds for energy saving situations. We would like to use solar panels to have at least ¼ of the energy needed be through green energy. More would even be better.

Additionally:

  • We would like to work with G – sport Flanders to get wheelchair curling started in Belgium
  • Another goal is to put as much effort into youth curling because this is the future of curling.
  • And we need coaching to let our teams grow

All of the funds will be used in a way to make curling a great sport in Belgium.

Curling Mechelen is proud to be the oldest club in Belgium. It started in 2003 as a fraction of a club from Deurne (Belgium). Many of the members are also associated with the Belgian Curling Association. They have been a driving force of curling in Belgium since the beginning. They have been actively involved with the start of the other clubs in Turnhout and Gent and are a big part of organizing competitions between various clubs in and outside of Belgium.

The Mechelen Curling Club committee is compiled by enthusiastic curlers at club level and even at international level. The greatest goal is to increase the quality of curling to high international levels. The members of the committee are responsible for the drive needed to negotiate with all of the town, provincial and federal authorities. The road here has been long and now all the preparations are in place. This funding is the last step to give the project the final boost to reach it’s goal.

Here are a few of the people behind the project:

 

The National mens team can be proud that we are at the 25th place in the world because we are the second highest ranked country in the world without curling ice. The input from the Belgian team is huge. But to get even higher we need curling ice. To make this sport grow we need curling ice. The lack of available curling ice nearby was also the reason why the National womens team stopped playing.

To be able to curl at this level we have to do a major part of our practice in Zoetermeer in Holland. The facility in Zemst (Belgium) would give the Belgian team the chance to practice several times a week and to be able to practice at a European level.

But also for beginners. They will have the advantage of being able to say that they have always curled on curling ice. This will be a real game changer.

And don’t hesitate to take a look at the other Belgian Curling clubs!

Contact Information:

Curling Mechelen

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