The surging popularity of curling thanks to the gold medal-winning exploits of Team USA's mostly-Minnesotan men's curling team has helped inspire the creation of the sixth curling club in the Twin Cities.
The Richfield Curling Club will have its grand opening festivities this coming Friday at 7 p.m., encouraging prospective new members to try out the winter sport at its home at the Richfield Ice Arena on East 66th Street.
It's being founded by Lisa Rudolph, who fell in love with curling when she started playing four years ago in St. Paul, and has had the help of two-time Olympian Jess Schultz to bring it to Richfield.
She's also been aided by the help of the City of Richfield, which operates the arena where the club will host regular curling leagues for beginners and more advanced players, as well as regular training camps for children and adults.
Funding has come partly from the local Parks and Recreation department, as well as from individual donors and the U.S. Curling Club Association, which is letting the club borrow some of its equipment.
Rudolph had actually started conversations with Ice Arena manager Kris Weiby last summer about starting a club, well before John Shuster and his team entered national consciousness with their Olympic success in Pyeongchang.
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But now it's opening, and the club and city hopes to capitalize now the sport is very much back in fashion.
"During an Olympic year, there is a lot of generated interest in curling," Weiby told the Sun Current earlier this year. “It makes our facility more viable by giving this option to our residents."
In a press release, the new Richfield Curling Club is encouraging new members to join not only to learn a physical and strategic sport, but also for the social aspect.
"Camaraderie and sportsmanship are cornerstones of the game," it says. "Curlers shake hands before and after each game, call their own fouls, and score themselves.
"It’s also customary for the teams to sit down together after the game with the winning team buying the first round, making this a very social sport."