1983: The PRCL is born
In the early 1980s, a small group of friends organized a small curling bonspiel for the gay and lesbian community. The success of this bonspiel proved the viability of forming a gay and lesbian curling league the next winter (1983-84 season).
For the first several years, the PRCL members got together once a week at UBC’s Thunderbird Winter Sports Complex. The facility was fairly neglected with very little atmosphere. Initially, the league operated with an informal drop-in format. It was the first gay and lesbian curling group in Western Canada. In the early years, winners received the John Barley Trophy. This trophy was named after a gay bar that once existed in the Gastown area of the city.
From that simple informal beginning, the league slowly, but steadily grew in membership and popularity. By about the 7th season the league had grown to 16 teams.
1993: The PRCL moves to the Vancouver Curling Club
In 1993 UBC closed their curling facility. What seemed at first to be devastating news turned out to be a true blessing. The league moved into the Vancouver Curling Club – one of the country’s gems in the history of the sport. Within the first year of play at the VCC, the PRCL grew to 20 teams. Within a few years, there were 40 teams playing over 4-draws, making it the largest curling league in the province of British Columbia.
The success of the PRCL was essential to the success of VCC: losing money and suffering a shrinking membership, the VCC reversed its fortunes through the hard work of the club coupled with the expansive membership the PRCL brought to the club. Our members have served on the VCC Board in many capacities, including several past presidents.
Built in 1949, the old building in VCC was showing its age by the time the 2010/11 season wrapped up. Fortunately, a new future for the club was just around the corner…
2011: The VCC moves to the Hillcrest Centre
As the host for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Vancouver built the Hillcrest Centre as a community legacy project, including an 8-sheet state-of-the-art curling facility. The VCC took possession of the new curling rink, opening the doors to a new era for the club in September 2011.
With the extra sheets available in the new club, the PRCL wasted no time in expanding to 48 teams. In addition, the league hosted the first national championship at the club — the Canadian Gay Curling Championship — in February 2012. Hosted in tandem with the PRCL’s annual invitational bonspiel, the Pac Rim Cup, the event was a huge success for both the PRCL and the VCC.
The initial invitational bonspiel, first held in 1985-86, has been repeated every year under different names. It is now known as the Pac Rim Cup. The original trophy (not surprisingly, a large cup) was retired in 2012 and replaced with a new cup thanks in part to a generous donation by long-time PRCL members Dennis Dahl and Dallas Dahl. During each Pac Cup Bonspiel, a special competition is held to determine which curler can draw closest to the button. The winner receives a trophy known as the Old Farts Cup. The Old Farts Cup was donated by Murray James in 1994.
For several years, the PRCL has also held a one-day “funspiel” known as the Pink Broom (the invitational bonspiel was known as the Pink Broom for some years before becoming the Pac Cup). Traditionally, the Pink Broom puts players on random teams for each game, with four winners being crowned based on accumulated points at their playing position. These four winners receive the Pink Broom Trophy. For many years, the four winners have also received a pair of pink slippers, lovingly knit by Roy Wilson’s sister.