Derek Campbell didn’t know what to expect when he established the Pine Tree Curling Club in 2015, but it certainly wasn’t this.

The Portland-based club, which enters its fifth season this year, has approximately 100 members who play on a regular basis and a handful of sessions for curlers of all levels to enjoy.

“It’s just a fun group of people who are attracted to curling,” said Campbell, the club’s president. “If you get a lot of people with that kind of attitude together, it’s always going to be fun, it’s always going to be a good time.”

Curling, a sport in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice toward a target area to accumulate the highest score for a game, has gained notoriety since its inclusion in the Olympics in 1998. Campbell first tried the sport while he lived in Seattle, Washington, in 2011. When the Maine native moved back home, he wanted to keep playing, but there weren’t many local choices.

“I really didn’t have a lot of options besides starting my own club,” Campbell said.

So Campbell, along with his wife, Jen, and a few friends created their own organization.

The Pine Tree Curling Club is offering a pair of sessions – a Beginner League and an Open League – this spring that are scheduled to be played each Sunday starting this week through June 16. The Beginner League runs from 5 to 7:30 p.m. and the Open League is scheduled from 7:30 to 10 p.m. All matches are held at the Troubh Ice Arena, located at 225 Park Ave. in Portland. Registration costs $85 for returnees, while the price for a new member is $145. The fees, Campbell said, helps the nonprofit pay its annual dues to regional curling associations. Fees also include the use of all equipment necessary, ice rental, liability insurance, as well as an annual membership.

“Even if a person has never curled before, and they want to join any of the leagues, you can come in and there’ll be 35 other people on the ice willing to help you,” Campbell said. “Everybody in the club is trying to grow the sport along with us.”

Most sessions get filled quickly, but 10 spots were still open in both leagues at the time of print. Registration will stay open until the league starts Sunday evening, Campbell said. If the league does fill up, anyone who is interested in joining can be placed on a substitution list and they’ll be notified if someone can’t make it that day. Substitution fees are just $20 per night.

The only item curlers need to bring is an extra pair of sneakers, and Campbell advises to dress in layers since it can get hotter than you think once things get going. More information can be found online at www.PineTreeCurling.com.

The club has also started a campaign to raise money for a dedicated curling facility. While the Troubh Ice Arena has served as an exceptional host, Campbell said, having their own place would allow for the club to grow as much as they’d like.

“Within the next three years, we’d like to have our own facility,” Campbell said. “Portland is a really desirable location right now so we could even bring in, theoretically, high-competition, national level events. If anyone has any desire to help the club progress to our own dedicated facility, we will take any help that we can get.”

Pine Tree Curling Club officials can be contacted by email at [email protected].

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