The organizing committee for the annual Bob Picken Memorial Masters Bonspiel has announced its latest contribution to youth curling development in Manitoba.

A Bob Picken Legacy Fund grant of $500 has been made to the Junior Interlake Inter-club League. This brings the total invested in youth curling development to $3,000 since the bonspiel was established in memory of legendary curling broadcaster Bob Picken in 2019.

“Despite the pandemic, we were able to hold a small bonspiel in the fall of 2021,” say co-chairs Bob Minaker and Brian Kushner. “We again generated a surplus which allowed us to continue with our mandate of supporting youth development in curling across Manitoba.”

“Just as the pandemic has disrupted our own bonspiel planning, we know it has been challenging for projects such as the Junior Interlake Inter-club League so we were pleased to see that they were able to continue their program to a successful conclusion this year,” say Minaker and Kushner. “We are pleased to be able to make a contribution to pay some of the league costs for the season.”

This year’s league included teams from East St. Paul, Stonewall, and Selkirk. West St. Paul, usually also involved, was unable to participate this year. The league offers young curlers, aged 12-17, development opportunities through both coaching sessions and competition.

Games through the season are played in each of the participating clubs with the travel to play in different venues and on different ice also being a development experience.

The Junior Interlake Inter-club Curling League will wind up its 2021-22 season March 20th at East St. Paul, beginning at 10AM.

In 2019, the Bob Picken Masters Bonspiel made grants to Thistle, Oakville, and Riverview (Brandon) Junior development programs. Due to the pandemic, no grants were made in 2020. In 2021-22, grants have been made to the Interlake league and to support CurlManitoba’s Bob Picken Legacy Inter-club Youth League in Winnipeg..

Planning is underway for the fall 2022 Bob Picken-Valour Road Masters Bonspiel at Thistle Curling Club. The committee will continue to support junior curling development in Manitoba. Grant applications, through CurlManitoba, will be received at the beginning of next curling season.

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