The head ice maker of the Vanderhoof Curling Club has been named volunteer of the year by Curl BC.
For the past handful of years, Jim Woodruff has not only meticulously ensured the ice is in good shape, but the club does not waste money on energy costs.
“I was flabbergasted,” Woodruff said of opening an email notifying him of his win.
“I didn’t really do a lot this year with the ice because we couldn’t curl. We only got one night of curling in.”
Woodruff, 74, was nominated by Robert Byron, who said he has known Woodruff for the past 15 years, if not more, and believed all of his hard work should be recognized.
Volunteering in one way or another has always been a passion for Woodruff.
He is also on the club’s board of directors and recalled how in 1978 used curling stones were purchased for their newly built rink, after a fire had resulted in a one-year hiatus of the sport.
Those stones were refinished in Winnipeg several years ago when Woodruff convinced the club to repair them, or they would have to purchase new ones at the cost of around $50,000.
In 2014, a new geothermal ice plant was completed along with several other upgrades, which Woodruff credits to reducing the club’s high utility bills in half.
“I wouldn’t have that award if it weren’t for the club doing that,” he said. “We would have been out of business.”
Before his ice-making took off, Woodruff participated in a three-day course in Vanderhoof by renowned ice technician BJ Gagnon.
Meanwhile, although adult curling activity was abruptly paused last December due to COVID-19 safety protocols, Woodruff still attended the rink nearly every day to make sure the ice did not melt, and to keep the club’s utility cost low.
“To me, if I have no curling rink or golf course, I will be moving,” he said, noting he hopes this year will be a better one for the curling club.
This summer, the local pickleball club could be using the rink and its concrete floor, which Woodruff said might help cover the costs of keeping the lights on.
Before retiring as area manager for a natural gas company, Woodruff put in many years with municipal council.
He also volunteered with the Vanderhoof Kinsmen and served on the board of directors for Four Rivers Co-op.
“That’s me,” Woodruff said.
“If you’re going to be in a town, you got to be involved—that’s my whole philosophy.”
Congratulations to Jeff Ginter from Dawson Creek Curling Rink, Jock Tyre from Kelowna Curling Club and Jim Woodruff from…