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COVID-19: Prince George Curling Club cancels 93-year-old championship bonspiel

Men’s, ladies’ events mark end of the 2019-20 season
Kelly Cup Prince George
The Kelly Cup at the Prince George Golf and Curling Club. (via Kyle Balzer)

A near-century-old tradition in the Prince George sports community has been cancelled in response to growing concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Prince George Golf and Curling Club (PGGCC) decided after a committee meeting last night (March 17) to not go through with the 93rd annual Kelly Cup and Ladies’ Bonspiels based on the information it received from Northern Health and respective provincial and federal authorities.

The contests were scheduled to take place from April 2 to 5.

Earlier this week, B.C. Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered all events with gatherings of more than 50 people to be cancelled to help flatten the curve on COVID-19.

Yesterday afternoon (March 17), she and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced two more cases in the north, four altogether, among 83 new ones across B.C., bringing the provincial total to 186.

“This decision was hard for all of us as many of the Committee members were also volunteers for the World Women’s Curling Championship cancelled late last week, a double hit to Prince George and the Curling community,” reads a release from Bill Lim, Chairman of the Kelly Cup Bonspiel, adding the Club could not fully guarantee the health and safety of curlers and their supporters.

“However, as members of the community, we feel it is our responsibility to help in any way possible to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus that will put an incredible strain on our health care providers and resources in the weeks and months ahead.”

Last year, 60 teams participated and close to 250 athletes.

The cancellation comes almost a week after the 2020 World Women’s Curling Championships.

The bonspiels would’ve also capped off 100 years of curling in the city.