Chris Jones a master of the ice

By Kim Kirkham Behind every successful club there is an ice maker or more commonly referred to as the ice technician.

Behind every successful club there is an ice maker or more commonly referred to as the ice technician.

Chris Jones was born in North Bay, Ont. He moved to Vancouver Island at the age of five and began curling career at 13 playing on the high school team that won the Comox Valley Curling Championship in 1974. Chris moved to Slave Lake, Alta in 2001, and curled in the local club. He held various positions on the board of directors and became the icemaker of the small town rink.

Chris is the ice technician at the Penticton Curling Club and he and his wife Cathy are becoming familiar faces to the Club’s 500 members. If you happen to be in the club on any given day, you’re likely to catch Chris and Cathy scraping away at the ice surface in preparation of the next game.

It’s a cold and often lonely business Chris Jones is in, but he is no stranger to the 146 feet of ice. As a teenager, he helped out around the Comox Valley rink, cleaning and pebbling the ice. In 2009 he was an assistant icemaker in the Roar of the Rings and in 2010 assisted with the ice at the Brier.

Maintaining the ice at a curling club is an art and science all in one. The job of the icemaker is anything but glamorous. He puts in 10 to 14 hours per day prepping the ice. Compliments of the ice are often measured in silence, the less you hear, the better the job you have done.

Teachers come in many forms, whether it’s learning a sport, musical instruments or simply a lesson in life. The best teachers teach from the heart and Chris is no exception. He brings passion to coaching the junior program. Along with a group of dedicated volunteers he teaches 34 juniors every Thursday. He also helps to coach up to six classes a day (Grade 5 to 12) that use the curling club as a part of the sport curriculum. Chris is hoping to have a competitive high school curling team in place for the 2011/2012 season in hopes of competing in the 2012 play downs which will be held at the Penticton Rink.

Why does Chris curl?

“I love the camaraderie of the game but most of all I love to watch people learn,” he said.

Does he have a hero in the world of curling? You bet. Bernie Sparks who is a 1960’s Brier and World Champion.

Around the house

Feb. 19 to 20 The Mixed Zone Play downs will be held at the curling club. There are two Penticton rinks playing off, Chris Jones Rink and St. John Rink. The draws are: Saturday 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 9 a.m. Everyone welcome.

March 4 to 6 Western Mixed Open Bonspiel. There is room for a couple of individuals to fill teams. The action begins on Friday night. Saturday night we will be entertained by the infamous Band Uncorked. Everyone welcome.

As we turn the corner on the last leg of our curling season we give thanks to the members who have supported their club over the past year.

In closing I would like to thank the media for their support. Very special thanks go out to Emanuel Sequeira from the Penticton Western News for always being there to cover our bonspiels and special events.

Happy Curling Everyone.