Town of Clarenville changes rules on curling with a helmet
CARA curlers can now sign a waiver to play
The Town of Clarenville has changed its policy on its Clarenville Area Recreation Association (CARA) curling program — no longer requiring curlers to wear a helmet.
At last week’s council meeting, council decided—due to the recommendation of the Recreation and Arts Committee—to still encourage curlers to wear a helmet, but to present them with the option of signing a waiver form instead.
The CARA curling program representatives say other curling rinks don’t require curlers to wear a helmet, and they believe it keeps their turnout low, as having to wear a helmet discourages some potential players.
The Eastlink Events Centre helmet policy will be revised, however, all skaters must still wear a helmet while using the ice at the rink.
At first some of the councillors, including the mayor, failed to see the connection between the enrolment for curling and wearing a helmet.
“Normally I would agree — if the policy is in place, the policy is in place,” said Coun. Paul Tilley at the meeting. “However, it is unusual in the curling environment, considering the nature of the sport, to have a helmet policy in place.”
Chief administrative officer David Harris added it’s not an insurance requirement to have curlers wear a helmet, however, there is still a liability to be sued if there is a defect in the ice causing a fall, which the helmet policy wouldn’t prevent anyway.
“Like everything, it is a balance,” said Tilley. “Do we want to encourage people to be active? And in this case the answer is yes … but in the meantime, if we put a policy in place that impedes them from getting active we’re kind of working against ourselves.”
Tilley added, while safety is paramount, the risk of injury is not probable and since other clubs don’t have similar requirements it would be better to encourage more people to play.
“We think the benefits outweigh the cost.”
Coun. Pickett says a helmet has never been a part of the curling equipment and perhaps many find it restricting or uncomfortable to do so with one on.
“Until it becomes part of the game, then it’s a different thing,” said Pickett.
Curlers in Clarenville, some with helmets and some without, in this file photo from 2016.