Bryce Noel of Port Hardy gets a running start before releasing a stone during a joint curling outing by members of the Port Hardy and Port McNeill minor hockey associations at Fort Rupert Curling Club.

Bryce Noel of Port Hardy gets a running start before releasing a stone during a joint curling outing by members of the Port Hardy and Port McNeill minor hockey associations at Fort Rupert Curling Club.

Atoms rock the house at fun day

Atom players from the Port Hardy and Port McNeill minor hockey associations come together for some curling camaraderie.

PORT HARDY—Atom players from the Port Hardy and Port McNeill minor hockey associations put aside their on-ice rivalry Sunday to spend a couple hours in camaraderie.

Right back on the ice.

More than a dozen players — and several more younger siblings — grabbed sliders and brooms and tried their hand at curling during an event at Fort Rupert Curling Club in Storey’s Beach. The day was the brainchild of Port Hardy “hockey moms” Nicole Handley and Janet Cesaretti.

“Janet’s kids and our kids have been out to (the curling club) a few times this year,” said Handley. “We started thinking about inviting the kids after Christmas. When we went to a (hockey) tournament in Nanaimo a few of the Port McNeill kids came with us, and it just snowballed from there.”

Parents from both associations hope Sunday’s fun event, which included a pot luck lunch, can be part of an eventual resurrection of a junior curling program at North Island clubs.

Cesaretti said she was interested in getting her sons, Carson and Parker, involved in curling, and would be willing to help with the formation of a junior program beginning this fall.

Port McNeill’s Jennie-Lynn Noël, who curls at Broughton Curling Club, brought daughter Chelsea to Sunday’s event and said she, too, would consider getting involved depending on her schedule.

“When I was growing up in Holberg, we used to go to Port Alice (Curling Club) and curl there,” said Noël. “Port McNeill had a very active junior program, too.”

Broughton Curling Club is tentatively planning a junior event, possibly for March, that could include a mini, four-end bonspiel for players in grades six through 12. Stay tuned to the Gazette and Broughton Curling Club’s Facebook page for details.