Club's closing wrenches Werenich

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:25 AM ET

As soon as word leaked of the closing of Avonlea Curling Club, the emotional floodgates began to open for former world champion Ed Werenich.

The man affectionately known as the "Wrench" made the historic club his home, a place where curlers gathered to ply their trade and later exchange tall tales.

"It's a sad day," Werenich said yesterday.

"I grew up there. It was a special place, a blue-collar place with the best ice in the city. It was a special place to socialize."

Werenich represented the club in many provincial, national and international events. The world and Canadian championships his teams won in 1983 and 1990 are celebrated in the club's lobby.

Werenich, though, did see the writing on the wall for the future of the club. With only half of the 16-sheet facility being used regularly, Werenich knew the day would arrive when business would rule the day.

That day arrived yesterday when the club's owners, a private partnership, announced they had sold the property, located near the Don Valley Parkway and Lawrence Ave. The club officially will close its doors on Aug. 15.

"Curlers are resilient and there are enough places in Toronto for them to find new homes," Werenich said. "So many stories, so much tradition and now it's gone."

The Wrench recalls the 1983 championship and the reception he received when he returned to Avonlea.

The club, which is the last 16-sheet curling facility in Ontario, opened its doors in 1961. The building was facing a number of repairs over the next few years.

"The current owners received an offer they couldn't refuse," Avonlea manager Dave Gardner said in a release. "The current owners did not find it financially feasible to continue to operate it."


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