By Eric MacKenzie, The Daily Graph

Wendell Keeler is taking over as manager of the Portage Curling Club for the 2009/10 season, replacing outgoing manager Al Dahl. Keeler, a past club president, said he’s looking forward to the new post

When the ice goes in at the Portage Curling Club a few weeks from now, there will be a new but familiar face taking over as the club’s manager.

Wendell Keeler is replacing outgoing manager Al Dahl, and said he’s excited to take on the new post.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “Al’s done a great job in the years that he’s been here, and I’d definitely like to see some of the things that he initiated continued.”

Keeler has been a member at the club since moving to Portage in 1978. He’s a past president, and said he’s held just about every executive position at the club over his time there.

Keeler is also a director on the Manitoba Curling Association’s board.

With the 2009-10 season fast approaching, Keeler said he would like to find ways to bring more youth players to the club.

“We haven’t had too many junior curlers in the past few years, so I’d like to encourage more of them to come out,” he said, noting that participation in the sport could increase dramatically with help from the schools.

“We’d like to try and get the junior to come out and participate in the leagues, but it’s pretty hard to ask a junior rink to play,” he said. “If we can find some kind of incentive to put younger players on rinks, I’d like to see that.”

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