A fam­ily’s last chance at a Lucky Strike

Bowlerama Stoney Creek, which be­gan as Lucky Strike Lanes in 1958, closes Sun­day.

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - STEVE MIL­TON

Joe Ci­ach knows he won’t get through this weekend with dry eyes.

“A bird could fly into a win­dow and I’d cry, so it’ll be an emo­tional time,” says the tal­ented 50-year-old bowler, who or­ga­nized Satur­day’s Lucky Strike Farewell Sweeper, at Bowlerama Stoney Creek.

Ci­ach and his younger sis­ter Val Ci­ach-Link will bowl their last games at the sto­ried lanes, which will close af­ter Satur­day’s tour­na­ment and Sun­day’s fi­nal league games. The build­ing will be torn down for re­de­vel­op­ment and so will an ad­ja­cent house, at 125 Hwy 8 east, where Val, Joe, and their sis­ter Kim grew up. Their fa­ther Bill, man­aged the cen­tre, which started as Lucky Strike Lanes in 1958 and was taken over by Bowlerama, and owner Jack Fine, in 1968.

Bill, his wife Bar­bara and the three kids worked at the cen­tre and the kids all even­tu­ally be­came suc­cess­ful bowlers. Joe and Val have each rolled per­fect 300 games in 10pin and each has bowled for Team Canada in world cham­pi­onships. And Kim was a na­tional youth cham­pion in 5-pin.

“Jack Fine owned the cen­tre and had a house there,” Val Ci­ach-Link said. “That be­came our fam­ily home for 30 years. When Joe was lit­tle, he used to sneak out of the house, and go bowl in his py­ja­mas.”

And it was the late Jack Fine, Joe says, who in­tro­duced his par­ents to each other.

Bill died in 1997, but Bar­bara will be there this weekend for the clos­ing tour­na­ment and clos­ing cer­e­monies which Joe mounted in mem­ory of his fa­ther.

The Ci­achs say that BSC is the last “split” al­ley in the area, fea­tur­ing 12 lanes of five-pin and an­other dozen of 10-pin.

“I re­mem­ber when I was lit­tle, my par­ents and their friends would bowl 10 in the leagues and all the kids would go to five,” says Val. “It’s al­ways been a fam­ily-friendly place. I take my kids there ev­ery time I bowl and I don’t worry about them.

“At one time, it had to be the No. 1 spot for birth­day par­ties in the area.”

Var­i­ous leagues bowl at the cen­tre ev­ery day ex­cept Satur­day, and thou­sands of Hamil­to­ni­ans got their first taste of the game there. Val says league bowlers will now mi­grate to Sky­way Lanes, Burling­ton Bowl or Splitsville.

Val lives in Cayuga and says walk­ing into “quaint” BSC “is like step­ping into the ‘60s or early ‘70s.”

Joe who lives in Mis­sis­sauga, adds, “It’s been 59 years and it has been al­most like a land­mark in Stoney Creek. I re­mem­ber when there was a drive-in theatre across the street … Things have changed. Kids play video games all the time now.” When Val bowls her fi­nal league game Sun­day she ex­pects she’ll “be emo­tional. I’ll be quite up­set for many dif­fer­ent rea­sons.

“It’s clos­ing the door to my child­hood play­ground.”

HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR FILE PHOTO

The old Lucky Lanes, now Bowlerama Stoney Creek, is clos­ing af­ter this weekend.

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