Columbus Curling Club (CCC) traces its early history to a small club in Newark, OH (About 30 miles east of Columbus). Graham Campbell, director of the local ice rink, started Newark Curling Club in 1999. The club curled on two sheets of arena ice with stones that had been donated by Robb Borland of the Great Lakes Curling Association. They had been Robb's personally owned stones. The Newark club however, was a labor of love that could not garner the needed interest and support from a small community and the sheets in Newark are currently dark.
In 2002 Hal McGrady, having recently returned to central Ohio, began a quest to bring curling to the Columbus area. In August of 2002 Hal met with Pat Lysinger and Mike Gallagher, both of Newark Curling Club, to begin discussions on creating a new curling club. After about a year of effort, Hal was contacted by Stuart Cohen, who came to the Columbus area from Boston. Together with the of members of Newark Curling Club, they founded Columbus Curling Club.
The new club however, would need more than Newark's two sets of stones. So Stu contacted Bev Schroeder, Member Services Director of the United States Curing Association (USCA.) She in turn, put Stu in contact with Renee Spencer of Winchester Curling Club of Winchester, MA. The Winchester club was ceasing play and was interested in donating its 3 sets of curling stones to a worthy club.
Stu teamed up with Hal in Winchester, MA to load three sets of curling stones on a rental truck. While Stu and his family flew, Hal then drove the truck to Columbus where Hal and Stu unloaded them into Stu's basement where they were stored until they were to be used. This generous gesture on the part of Winchester Curling Club was so critical to success that Columbus Curling Club named it's rotating league trophy - The Winchester Cup, as enduring gratitude to Winchester Curling Club.
In the spring of 2004, Columbus Curling Club held it's first event, an introductory clinic conducted at the Worthington Ice Center, a canvas covered hockey facility in Worthington, OH. Turnout for this event was beyond expectations and generated the required impetus needed to begin the search for home ice for the new club. Available ice time however, was in very short supply. Central Ohio was crazy for hockey, and combined with demands of figure skating, ice time was simply not available. But, as luck would have it, The Chiller, the local ice rink enterprise, was building a new, two-rink facility in Lewis Center just north of Columbus. Not sure of their ability to fill the available ice time, the "Chiller North" welcomed the opportunity to be home to the Columbus Curling Club. That summer two additional clinics were conducted at The Chiller in Dublin, OH. Those clinics produced more than enough curlers to assure a successful beginning.
On October 14, 2004, Columbus Curling Club delivered its first stones with 52 curlers participating in the inaugural season. On October 16, 2004, the Columbus Curling Club was admitted as a member of the Great Lakes Curling Association. And in March 2006, The Columbus Curling Club was awarded 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service.
From the very onset, Stu Cohen, the clubs first president, spearheaded a development program that would fund a permanent home with ice dedicated to curling. Hopes for four sheets of dedicated ice soon fell victim to harsh economic reality. In its' third year of operations, the club's efforts to find a permanent home were directed towards two sheets of dedicated ice in a rented facility.
In July of 2007 a lease was signed for Columbus Curling Club's first permanent home at 2999 Silver Drive in Columbus, OH. For the next year club members continued fund raising, obtained necessary permits and a code variance. Then began the arduous job of transforming a dirty warehouse space into a dedicated Curling facility sporting two sheets of regulation ice.
With the exception of tasks that required the use of a variety of contractors, it was mostly the generous, often dirty and strenuous work of dedicated club members that brought this monumental effort to a successful completion, with a grand opening set for November, 2008.
The demand for the club continues to grow, enabling the construction of a third sheet of ice and a warm room in only the second season in our new facility. During the months around the 2010 Winter Olympics, over 1,200 people tried curling at our Learn to Curl Clinics and private corporate outings. The club has hosted some of the USA Paralympic team at our Wheelchair Curling Clinic in November 2009 and world champion Debbie McCormick has conducted strategy and on-ice curling instruction. We were host to the regional mixed playdown tournament in February 2011 and will be host for both the Men's and Women's regional playdowns in 2013.
The CCC is maturing as an organization and has in place a strategic plan to guide our future as an expanded curling club in Columbus, Ohio.