Ocean State Curling Club was founded in April 2009 by a core group of curlers in the Providence area who loved curling but were unable to commit to the travel needed to play at any of the nearby curling clubs. The two nearest curling clubs were in Falmouth, MA and Wayland, MA. With the enthusiastic assistance and perseverance of Russ Lemcke from the Cape Cod Curling Club, an open house was held in North Smithfield in March of 2009 to gauge local interest in curling in Rhode Island. When over 150 curious people turned out to learn more and try their hand at the sport it became clear that there was sufficient interest and momentum to form a club.
From October 2009 through March 2010, the successful inaugural season of league curling was held at the Cabot/Harman Ice Center at St. George's School in Middletown. The sport of curling then received a huge boost in public interest during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Curling was the "it" sport that everyone was discovering and wanted to try. Three learn-to-curl sessions, each giving interested participants about two hours of instruction and ice time, were organized at URI's Boss Arena. This event drew nearly 100 attendees and was followed by a spring curling league at URI from April to June 2010.
After two years of curling in Middletown, the club relocated for the third season. The home ice was now the "bubble rink" at the Veterans Memorial Arena in Cranston. Since the move to the west-bay, the club has experienced steady growth in the membership. The 2014-2015 curling season will be the sixth year for OSCC and promises to be the most exciting yet. This year's curling season follows on the heels of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and the club is excited that it will once again be able to demonstrate this great sport to those who gained a new apporeciation while watching the Olympics.
While OSCC is still a relatively young curling club, it is already one of the oldest continually operating arena curling clubs in the GNCC. The Grand National Curling Club, or the GNCC, is the regional curling association for the Eastern US. Arena curling clubs are clubs that rent ice time from hockey arenas. Only the arena clubs in Lake Placid, NY (1981), Raleigh, NC (1995), Pittsburgh, PA (2002), Rutland, VT (2007) and Woodstock, VT (2008) have been curling longer. There are now about twenty arena curling clubs in the GNCC and over 50 arena clubs throughout the US.
History of Curling in Rhode Island
Although new to most Rhode Islanders, curling is not at all new to the Ocean State. Curling in Rhode Island dates back to the late 19th century. In 1896, both the Westerly Curling Club and the Niantic, R.I. Curling Club were established by groups of local Scottish granite quarry workers. Curling between the two clubs was played in the winter on frozen ponds in the Westerly area. Although little is known about the fate of the Niantic Curling Club, the Westerly Curling Club survived, in various incarnations, for nearly 100 years, still drawing a crowd of curling enthusiasts as recently as the late 1980's. Click Here for a copy of an article on the Westerly Curling Club from the Sept/Oct. 1986 issue of Tidings magazine. The article's opening line reads "The great international sport of curling is generally characterized by its fraternal and social aspects, as well as the enthusiasm engendered in the hardy souls of its devotees." A warmer climate and more mild winters, however, have prevented the Westerly club from getting the opportunity to curl more recently. The club continued its affiliation with the GNCC until the mid-2000's.
While the Westerly Curling Club was the most well established and longest surviving curling club in Rhode Island, it was not the only club. In addition to the Niantic, R.I. Curling Club, the Highland Curling Club in Harrisville existed from 1950 until about 1963. More recently, the Brown Curling Club made its home at Brown University from about 2000-2006.