St. Louis Curling Club to Build Dedicated Ice Facility

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St. Louis Curling Club to Build Dedicated Ice Facility

By Colin St. Aubin, North Star Reporter

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The door squeaks open to the tiny supply closet of the Creve Coeur Ice Arena, and St. Louis Curling Club (SLCC) member Mitch Stoddard cracks open the freezer in which the curling stones are kept until they need to be hauled onto the ice.

The St. Louis Curling club was established in 2010, and began to curl out of the ice arena in Fairview Heights.  In 2014, they moved to the Creve Coeur Ice Arena in order to lower expenses. In the curling world, a hockey rink would be considered “arena ice” which is signified by lower quality ice for curling.  Most established curling clubs in the United States began as arena ice clubs but moved to a dedicated curling facility. Stoddard, a member of the dedicated ice building committee for the SLCC, has helped to direct a project to build a dedicated ice facility in St. Louis.

“It’s something that has been in the works for about four years now,” Stoddard says. “It has definitely been a challenge, but I see it as something that will reap huge rewards when it’s all said and done.”

Despite the growing age of the project, it is only now starting to make larger splashes in the community after the club purchased a plot of land in Hazelwood off of I-270 and Lindbergh Blvd. Club President Becca Walters describes this as the first big step towards the acquisition of a dedicated ice facility.

“The dedicated ice committee has looked at over a hundred properties,” Walters said. “Once we decided to purchase a plot of land, it suddenly became more real. It’s far from done, but it was very exciting.”

As one may imagine, this project is riddled with obstacles. Stoddard, a lawyer, has been attempting to work out the main obstacle: money.  The club has procured enough money to purchase the land, but have come to financial standstill. The club is considering building the facility in phases in order to resolve the money shortage.

“The phase model would allow for us to start construction the soonest,” Stoddard said. “We obviously just don’t have enough money to pay the cost outright.  We would need to take a bank loan, but the bank won’t give a loan for the $2.5 million we would need to take out. The bank would be more likely to give us a loan if we begin construction now, have a project in progress and ask for less money.”

With the funds issue being taken care of by the committee, Walters has her mind set on the benefits of a dedicated club to both new and experienced curlers. These benefits include holding more leagues, hosting more tournaments, teaching more “Learn to Curl” classes and having open ice for practices.  

“Obviously the biggest benefit is that we will be able to have all these opportunities to curl,” Walters said. “It’s been a long and challenging process, but in my eyes, it will be well worth the wait and the headache.”

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