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West Prince Sports Council re-introducing shuffleboard court

Norma MacNeill launches her disc down the court during a shuffleboard court game against her husband, Wayne.
Norma MacNeill launches her disc down the court during a shuffleboard court game against her husband, Wayne.

ALBERTON -- An old sport is on the verge of a comeback in West Prince.

The West Prince Sports Council has borrowed two shuffleboard court games from the City of Charlottetown Recreation Department and have them set up at the Jacques Cartier Arena for demonstration and practice purposes.

“It’s open to anyone who wants to come out and try it,” said Cletus Dunn, one of the organizers.

Lois Graham, left and Mary Mravnik wait their turns during a shuffleboard court game at the Jacques Cartier Arena. Players attempt to slide their discs into counting territory at the far end of the court.

Shuffleboard court is similar in concept to shuffleboard tables but, played on a floor, players use long cues to push six-inch discs down the court towards a triangular-shaped scoring area. Scoring areas, worth 10, eight and seven points respectively get gradually larger as the disc approaches the far end of the court, but if it goes a little bit further, or gets bumped there by an opponent’s disc, it lands in minus-10 territory.

Richard Blanchard is helping with the re-introduction to the sport. He played it up to five times a week during three-month stays in Florida the last two winters.

“That’s the big thing, this minus business,” he said, recalling a game he played in Florida when a player ended up having three discs bumped into minus territory.

“When you’re playing this with a bunch of players who know what they’re doing, get the guy in the minus,” Blanchard said in describing some of the strategy of the game.

Instructor Richard Blanchard, right, keeps watch as Norma and Wayne MacNeill test out a shuffleboard court game. Roll-up courts are set up at the Jacques Cartier Arena and anyone is welcome to drop in Tuesday and Friday mornings at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 7 p.m. to try the sport.

Wayne and Norma MacNeil from Fortune Cove took in the first demonstration day for the sport recently and were quickly catching onto, and enjoying, the game.

Mary Mravnik from Brooklyn tried the sport for the first time this past winter in Arizona and was pleased to see it now offered locally. She was still catching onto the rules and game terminology. “Google it,” she responded to a question about the sport.

“It’s kind of like curling,” she suggested.

Like curling, it’s often beneficial to have hammer (last disc), said Blanchard, but, unlike curling, hammer is pre-determined before the game begins.

There are four discs per player or team per end. An application of powdered wax allows the discs to slide effortlessly.

Dunn remembers there being a shuffleboard court at the Westerner Motel years ago, but he had never played the game before testing out the roll-up courts now set up at the arena.

There are three opportunities per week to try shuffleboard court at the Jacques Cartier Arena, Tuesday and Fridays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Dunn noted shuffleboard court is one of the sports that will be contested during the P.E.I. 55+ Games that are coming to West Prince in September.

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