MORRIS CC & DEKALB SUPERSPIEL HONOUR BILL & TERRY HOWIE

Some people are ‘just memorable’. Sometimes they are famous athletes or entertainers – celebrities for some reason or other and you remember .

And sometimes they are “just folks” – but memorable none the less. One such couple is Bill and Terry Howie. I don’t think there is a person who has ever met them who would not call them memorable OR who would not say, their world was a better place because they met Bill and Terry.

Terry & Bill Howie, with Chris & Lorne Hamblin DEKALB SuperSpiel Co-CHairs

The DEKALB SuperSpiel honoured Bill and Terry Howie Monday evening at their volunteer’s windup at the end of the 14th annual bonspiel. At the age of 93 & 91 respectively, this magnificent couple had made the difficult move away from Morris and into assisted living in Niverville. To all their friends, I can report that the move has been very good for them. They are stress free and completely happy in their new surroundings.

But Bill admits he misses the Morris Curling Club, and the other community functions, where he was famous for his 50-50 selling efforts.

“All right, you lucky people, I’m here to sell you your 50-50 ticket,” he’d call as he entered the room and he made you feel like you were doing him a personal favour by buying his tickets.

It is impossible to estimate accurately how much money he raised for community projects $2 and $5 at a time (or half that as half of it went back to the winners).In almost 50 years, it is a fair guess that it is well over $100,000 and could more likely approach a quarter of a million.

And as much as he made buyers feel like it was their privilege to buy those darn tickets from him, he made those of us who had the privilege of working on his committees feel like it was a privilege to be there and we wanted to ‘sell, sell, sell’ just to deserve to be there.

He started his community work in Morris when he moved there in 1974 and whether it was the Curling Club, the Stampede, the Lions Club, the Legion or one of many other community projects – he was always first in line to help as a business leader in his early years in Morris and as a volunteer right from the start.

Bill was the one front and centre but Terry was a key part of the team. Almost as out-going as Bill, it was often her role to take a bit of a back seat to keep Bill focused and in the later years to keep him from over-doing too much in his enthusiasm.

Communities are built on the backs of people like these!!!

The DEKALB SuperSpiel functions with the time and energy of over 100 volunteers every year working on about 20 different committees. Each year, one or two volunteer committee chair reach the end of their run and they are acknowledged publicly at the volunteer windup.

Their names go on a plaque which hangs permanently in the Morris Curling Club. This year’s additions to the plaque, the 37th and 38th names on it, with the deep appreciation of not just the Morris Curling Club but the entire Morris community, included Bill & Terry Howie. It was great to have them both in the room to hear the applause of the their friends and admirers.

TEAM GUNNLAUGSON WINS MEN’S DEKALB SUPERSPIEL

(9:30PM: December 6) Jason Gunnlaugson and his Manitoba team have won the men’s division of the 14th annual DEKALB SuperSpiel. The Manitobans defeated Karsten Sturmay and his Alberta team 5-3 in the Monday evening final to earn the $11,000 champions’ cheque.

(l-r) Jack Maendel (Men’s Presenting Sponsor – EcoPoxy), Connor Njegovan, Matt Wozniak, Jason Gunnlaugson, Doug Wahl (Title Sponsor DEKALB/Bayer)

Team Gunnlaugson, which calls the Morris Curling Club and its Cargill Curling Training Centre their home club, curled for most of the weekend with three players. Adam Casey, the usual third was absent and Alex Forrest subbed in on the weekend but the three day Monday playoff run was accomplished with just three – Gunnlaugson, Matt Wozniak and Connor Njegovan.

The sixth end was the key to the game. Team Sturmay was trailing 3-2 but lying four when Gunnlaugson went to the hack to throw his final stone. Gunnlaugson’s draw around a pair of guards and a Sturmay rock in the front four foot was prefect, biting the button fully buried. Sturmay’s only option was to attempt to come around the centre line side of the guards and tap his own stone onto the new Gunnlaugson counter. He curled up, but not quite enough, and rubbed the stone across the top of the counter. A steal of one instead of a possibly game-ending score of five.

The Gunnlaugson team’s hitting ability kept things clean from there out although Sturmay did score one on the seventh end when he stayed in the rings on an attempted cross house double kill.

It was a first DEKALB victory for Gunnlaugson and Njegovan but a fourth for Wozniak who won twice with Mike McEwen and once with Matt Dunstone.

(6PM: December 6) TEAM HOLLAND WINS WOMEN’S DEKALB SUPERSPIEL ….Amber Holland’s Kronau, SK team has won the DEKALB SuperSpiel in Morris with a 6-4 victory over Kayla McMillan (BC).

(r-l) Doug Wahl (Title Sponsor DEKALB/Bayer) & Leon Friesen (Women’s Presenting Sponsor Meridian Industries) with Team Holland: Amber Holland, Kim Schneider, Karlee Korchinski, Deb Lozinski, Coach Travis Brown

Holland led McMillan 3-1 after three ends but gave up two singles, including a steal of one when she missed on a difficult double kill attempt on the fifth end.

It was the sixth end which determined the final result. McMillan had a counter buried biting the top of the four foot but Holland cleared two guards with her first stone. A McMillan guard attempt was left long and Holland was able to navigate past the guard to tap out the McMillan stone and count a pair to lead 5-3.

A steal in end seven gave the team from Saskatchewan a 6-3 lead coming home. McMillan had a very difficult shot for a possible tie but wrecked on a guard leaving Team Holland in possession of the $7,500 winner’s cheque.

Amber Holland

The men’s semi-finals, played at the same time, were won by Karsten Sturmay (Alberta) and Jason Gunnlaugson (Manitoba). They’ll meet in the men’s final at 7PM.

(3PM December 6) MCMILLAN-HOLLAND FINAL IN WOMEN’S DEKALB SUPERSPIEL … Kayla McMillan and her BC team will play former Canadian champion Amber Holland and her team from Kronau, SK in the DEKALB SuperSpiel final with a $7,500 payday on the line.

McMillan defeated Chelsea Carey (SK) in the noon draw semi-final. Up two coming home, with her first stone, McMillan faced a pair of Chelsea counters on the centre line in the rings, behind a centre guard about half-way to the hogline. McMillan ran the guard through, killing both and rolling wide open. Carey put her last rock in the rings but McMillan had the wide open last shot hit for victory.

Holland defeated Rachel Workin (Fargo, ND) in the other semi-final.

Team Schnider

In the men’s semi-finals, Tanner Horgan (Ontario) defeated the Colton Lott skipped Manitoba team which Horgan skipped two years ago when they won the DEKALB SuperSpiel together. Team Horgan will play local favourite Jason Gunnlaugson after the Morris team beat Luc Violette (USA) in their quarter-final. In the other men’s semi-final, Karsten Sturmay (Alberta) will play Andrin Schnider (Switzerland).

Schnider defeated Kody Hartung (SK) while Sturmay beat Daniel Casper (USA) in the quarterfinals.

(3PM: December 6) MANITOBANS OUT OF WOMEN’S DEKALB SUPERSPIEL … Manitoba teams skipped by Darcy Robertson and Beth Peterson advanced to the DEKALB SuperSpiel playoffs but both lost their quarterfinal games Monday morning.

Team Robertson lost to Kayla MacMillan (BC) while Peterson lost to Rachel Workin (Fargo, ND). Workin is the last ‘international’ in the bonspiel as Irene Schori (Switzerland) lost to Amber Holland (Sask). Former Manitoba champion Chelsea Carey (also Sask) also advanced, with a win over Hollie Duncan (Ontario).

Of the semi-finalists, only Carey is a former DEKALB SuperSpiel champion. She won the bonspiel in 2011.

2011 DEKALB Champion has reached the 2021 sei-finals

The DEKALB Men’s quarter-finals, at noon Monday, feature Jason Gunnlaugson (Manitoba) vs Luc Violette (USA); Colton Lott (Manitoba) vs Tanner Horgan (Ontario); Kody Hartung (Saskatchewan) vs Andrin Schnider (Switzerland); and Daniel Casper (USA) vs Karsten Sturmay (Alberta).

(December 5) FINAL QUALIFIERS AT MORRIS DEKALB ‘SPIEL FROM LATE DRAW SUNDAY … final four Men’s playoff qualifiers and two Women’s playoff qualifiers will be determined on the late draw Sunday in Morris.

Team Schori

Earlier Sunday, former Manitoba champion Chelsea Carey (Saskatchewan), Rachel Workin (Fargo, ND), and Winnipegger Beth Peterson qualified for the playoffs through the “B” Event and Irene Schori (Switzerland) qualified through the “C” Event.

The two remaining “C” qualifiers will come from the 9POM draw when Darcy Robertson takes on Meghan Walter and Mackenzie Zacharias plays Hollis Duncan (Ontario).

In the Men’s event, Luc Violette (Minnesota) and Karsten Strumay (Alberta) qualified from the “B” event earlier today, as did Tanner Horgan (Ontario) form the “C”.

The final three Men’s qualifier5s will be the winners of the 9PM games: Daniel Casper (Minnesota)) vs Tyler Tardi (BC), Jordon McDonald vs Andrin Schnider (Switzerland) and Jacques Gauthier vs Jason Gunnlaugson.

(dECEMBER 5) LOTT BROTHERS ADVANCE TO DEKALB PLAYOFFS … The team formerly skipped by Pat Simmons (Tanner & Colton Lott, Kyle Doering, Emerson Klimpke) has qualified for the playoff round at the DEKALB SuperSpiel. The team, with Tanner Lott skipping and throwing third stones while Colton throws fourth stones, bested Karsten Sturmay`s Alberta team, 7-4 on the 6PM draw Saturday to advance to the Monday playoff round.

The Lott Brothers and Doering are defending champions, having won the DEKALB SuperSpiel in 2019 with Tanner Horgan.

In the women`s draw, the first two qualifiers also came from the 6PM draw. Amber Holland and her Saskatchewan team were 7-1 winners over Meghan Walter`s Manitobans. Kayla MacMillan, from Vancouver,  got the better of the Swiss team skipped by Irene Schori. The Swiss scored three on the seventh to tie the game but MacMillan scored coming home to win.

(6PM: December 4) Q-GAMES BEGIN AT DEKALB SUPERSPIEL!!! …. The first of the four “A” side qualifying games was on the ice at the DEKALB SuperSpiel in Morris during the 3PM draw. Tanner Horgan and his Ontario team, fresh from the important experience of the Canadian Olympic Trials, was matched against Kody Hartung (Saskatchewan). A close game, tied 5-5 coming home, and Hartung, as the winner is the first team to advance to the playoff round of the men’s event.

The Men’s DEKALB SuperSpiel will pay an $11,000 first prize and $36,000 in prize money, including $5,000 paid out at $100/win.

The Pat Simmons entry (skipped by Tanner Lott) will play Karsten Sturmay (Alberta) in the other “A” Qualifier. That game is set for 6PM Saturday.

In the Women’s DEKALB SuerSpiel, two “A” Qualifiers will go on the ice at 6PM.Irene Schori (Switzerland) will play Kayla MacMillan (BC) and Amber Holland (Saskatchewan) will play the young Manitoba team skipped by Meghan Walter.

(See below: Two more pairs of day passes are available for Sunday or Monday at the DEKAALB SuperSpiel)

(December 2) WIN A PAIR OF DAY-PASSES FOR THE DEKALB SUPERSPIEL!!! … Compliments of the Morris Host Committee, thecurler.com is pleased to give-away FIVE pairs of day-passes to watch the curling at what has become Manitoba’s premier competitive bonspiel event the DEKALB SuperSpiel.

The rules are simple. There is only one – no individual will be awarded more than one pair of tickets. Well, I guess there are two – you must be double vaxxed to be eligible. I won’t be checking but the folks at the curling club surely will!

The entry process is really simple. All you have to do is send me an email to …… thecurlerdotcom@gmail.com . The first five received will be awarded the tickets.

The ticket delivery process is equally simple. You will get an email confirmation that you ‘won’. I’ll advise the host committee of your name – and you can pick up the tickets at the door of the Morris Curling Club, on any of the four days of the DEKALB SuperSpiel.

** See the earlier post below for details on the great international competition you’ll be watching when you win! An electronic version of the program is included.

DEKALB SUPERSPIEL DRAW SET

International curling returns to Manitoba next weekend when the Morris World/Manitoba Curling Tour event, the DEKALB SuperSpiel, takes over the curling club. “The DEKALB” has become Manitoba’s premier competitive curling event.

There will be 16 women’s teams, including Irene Schori from Switzerland; Rachel Workin from Fego, ND, and Madison Bear from Wisconsin. On the Men’s side, 24 teams include Andrin Schnider from Switzerland, Luc Violette, Jed Brundidge and Danny Clasper from Chaska, MN and Scott Dunham from Philadelphia PA.

In the men’s event, Jason Gunnlaugson heads the list of Canadian teams which includes 15 Manitoba entries and one each from Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. There are Manitoba Curling Tour ‘points’ berths to be assigned after the DEKALB so lots of incentive for the Manitoba teams to be at their best.

In the women’s event, challenging the internationals are no fewer that eight of the teams who will compete in Carberry in the Manitoba Scotties in mid-December. Every one of them realizes the chance of winning the Scotties improved today with Jennifer Jones winning the Olympic Trials as the multiple former champion team will be replaced in the draw. Playing well in the DEKALB will set the tone for a big week in Carberry.

As an added feature, the host committee has announced there will be live streaming of 9 round robin games of the DEKALB SuperSpiel — plus all 4 playoff draws on Monday. On Championship Monday, December 6, –the women will play 9 A.M. , noon and 3:30. The men will play at noon, 3:30 and 7 P.M.

To review the DEKALB SUPERSPIEL Program, clink on the front page below.

ROUSE-MACMILLAN WIN WARREN 2-PERSON STICK ‘SPIEL

thecurler.com has not, so far, provided much coverage of the growing sport of 2-person stick curling. To a great extent, this is a recreational activity which has attracted 100’s of curlers in clubs across the province. At my own Fort Rouge Curling Club, there are two full draws Friday afternoons with 40+ curlers. A pure number would be 48 curlers but there a few who take part in both draws.

Warren Stick ‘Spiel Champs
Ross MacMIllan (l) and Jim Rouse

However, it is also an increasingly competitive sport, as I learned this weekend when I took part in a bonspiel in Warren with my longtime 4’s skip, Norm Magnusson, who has played a few stick spiels with me and is my playing partner in one of the Fort Rouge leagues.

A quick recap of rules for the un-initiated. The game is played in an hour: 2 players, six rocks, six ends. As a matter of safety, sweeping is allowed only from the hogline in – keeping a somewhat older group of curlers from rushing down the ice to sweep,

The Warren ‘Spiel was very well organized and offered the warm hospitality that rural curling clubs are famous for. Icemaker Pat Kilcullen’s ice was keen, had a good swing to it, and had a great surface, great underfoot.

The 24-team bonspiel was played in four pools of six teams, a five game round-robin. Eight teams advanced to a championship round.

Warren’s Jim Rouse and Ross MacMillan won the bonspiel championship with a 3-2 win over the Magnusson-Coutts team. We had won seven games in a row but couldn’t score enough points to beat Rouse-MacMIllan who blanked the 5th end to hold hammer coming home.

A privilege as well for us to play against one of the veterans of the stick game in the Warren area – Alvin MacMillan. We beat him and his daughter Bev Schick in the semi-final but it wasn’t easy.

INTRODUCING THE “NEW” MANITOBA JONES TEAM

Manitoba’s Jones team is competing in the DEKALB SuperSpiel in Morris this weekend – no, not that Jones – the other Jones, the new Jones, the Jones of the future in Manitoba curling!

A win Saturday over Team JCR in Morris followed losses to Kristy Watling and Talyia Tober. That sets up a Sunday 3PM game against a highly regard young team from the USA skipped by Madison Bear.

When Kaitlyn Jones name popped up on the Abby Ackland team roster at the start of this season, there were some obvious questions.

Was she joining the team on one of those ‘birthright’ eligibilities? “No, I moved here. But I could have,” she says, explaining that she was born in Thompson and lived in Wabowden until she was about two years old.

Did she move here to join the team or did she join the team after she moved here? She explains she moved to Manitoba for non-curling reasons but knew Sara Oliver from the 2017 Canadian Juniors and Sara reached out to her, saying the team was looking for a skip.

Sweepers Sara Oliver (l) and Abby Ackland prepare to sweep a Kaitlyn Jones delivery during regional Scotties playoffs at Deer Lodge

And that answered the third question – who initiated Abby Ackland’s move to second on the team? “This was Abby’s team but she really didn’t want to skip anymore and they were looking for a leader who had ‘been there’,” Jones explained. “There have been no negatives at all in the transition.”

No question, Kaitlyn Jones has ‘been there’. She is a Saskatchewan Junior champion who moved to Nova Scotia, took over a provincial junior champion team, and won another junior title along with a Canadian and a World Championship.

Despite their youth, the entire team has credentials to match. Lead Sara Oliver has a World Championship medal of her own, at the World Mixed with Colin Kurz. Oliver, second Abby Ackland and third Robin Negovyn have all competed nationally twice as Manitoba junior champions – once, the three of them were together at the nationals.

The DEKALB SuperSpiel will be a tune-up event for eight of the 12 teams scheduled to compete in Carberry in the Manitoba Scotties in two weeks. Team K. Jones opens the DEKALB against one of them, Kristy Watling.

Looking forward to her first provincial Scotties, Jones simply said “I can’t wait – I’m so excited”.

“I’m excited to play all those teams. I’m not intimidated, there’s really no pressure. I just try to play the best I can every game,” she said, repeating an old but true maxim “to be the best, you have to beat the best” and then added “and this is the best province for that.”

In fairness to Kaitlyn Jones, it should be explained that this conversation took place before Jennifer Jones disqualified herself from the Manitoba Scotties by winning that Trials bonspiel in Saskatoon.

However the Manitoba Scotties field still includes Tracey Fleury, former champion Kristy McDonald out of competitive retirement and excited by the opportunity of one more Scotties, another former champion in Darcy Robertson, World Junior Champion Mackenzie Zacharias, plus a host of young teams on the verge of a break-through, including Beth Peterson, Kristy Watling, Shae Bevan and Meghan Walter.

There was another obvious question that demanded an answer. With the names Kaitlyn AND Jones being the names of two of the best to ever play the game (in or outside Manitoba) and with Colleen Jones being an equally legendary name in Nova Scotia where she came to Manitoba from, do the names put extra pressure on her as a young skip.

The answer belies her years. “There have been some great curlers named Jones. I’d like to be the next one,” she says simply!

She also acknowledges the important help they have had from Coach Howard Restall. “He knows the game and he knows the women’s game. With that experience he sees things I didn’t see and I really like his coaching style which is very much a ‘did you see’ style as opposed to a ‘you should have’ style,” the young skip says.

Excited about the month ahead, Kaitlyn Jones says “I know we can compete at a high level. All we have to do is play like we can.”

LORETTE HOST FORT ROUGE TODAY IN OGRADY

The magnificent trophy will not be in Lorette today. It is on permanent display in the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame/Museum

A curling match will take place today (Saturday, December 4, 2021) in Lorette, MB with eight Lorette curlers hosting eight from Winnipeg’s Fort Rouge Curling Club. In some ways it will be inconsequential – in other ways the most important curling games played in Manitoba today.

It is “Game # 1586” in CurlManitoba’s O’Grady Cup Challenge – one of the grand traditions in Manitoba curling.

Going back to 1908, In 1908 Colonel J.W. deCourcy O’Grady, who was President of the Manitoba Curling Association, presented the trophy to encourage good will and promote curling matches between affiliated clubs in the Association, which at that time included clubs from North Western Ontario and parts of Saskatchewan. 

Since 1908, the tradition of two teams representing the ‘club holding of the Cup’ and two representing ‘the challenger club’ began and it has continued since that time. One of the longest delays between games in the series was the one which ended last Saturday at St. Vital.

Fort Rouge had hosted Morden on Sunday, March 15, 2020 (the day before the province shut-down due to Covid-19). Consequently, Fort Rouge ‘held the Cup’ for a period of one year, eight months, and two weeks before facing the challenge offered by St. Vital Curling Club.

Having won the challenge last week, Fort Rouge travels today to Lorette looking forward to eight ends of curling, an opportunity to play in a club they don’t usually play in, anticipated warm hospitality, and establishment of new curling relationships – perhaps friendships. Note that I make no reference to the competition.

It is an idea that seems foreign in this modern world that the competition is inconsequential compared with those other things. Of course, the numbers have to go on the scoreboard in order to determine the two-game (four ends each – the two teams both play four ends against each other) total point ‘winner’.

However, there is no personal glory of the winning players. In the old tradition, it is all about which CLUB ‘wins’ and accepts the responsibility of carrying on the tradition next week when eight curlers from either Lorette OR Fort Rouge to face the challenge of the next club on the list.

**

I have had great opportunities in the sport of curling but one thing I had never done was participate in the O’Grady Cup Challenge – until last week when I joined the Fort Rouge group at St. Vital. It just seemed important to be a part of continuing an event which has gone on for over a century.

I had probably only met half of our team and a couple of the St. Vital team before and we were an eclectic group – an opportunity I thought to explore the reason others wanted to play that day.

For the ‘party line’ I started with Keith Johnston (Fort Rouge) and Ken Stevens (St. Vital). Both are pretty good club-level curlers, both have played in the O’Grady Cup Challenge several times, both are past-presidents of their club, both are members of the Board of Directors of CurlManitoba. Asked why maintaining the tradition is important, their answers were remarkable similar.

“There was a time when this sort of inter-club camaraderie was common,” Keith says, rueing the fact that in the busy world we live in, that has to a great extent been lost. “This is a way to just celebrate curling and the curling club and everything that our clubs have meant to our communities.”

Keith Johnston (l) and Ken Stevens

“It is just inspiring that something with such history is being continued,” Ken says.

On the broad scale, Stevens says it is about connecting generations who have played and continue to play the game but he sees an important more immediate benefit. “To me it is all about how sport can help bring us together,” he says.

While Stevens, Johnston and several others on the two teams have played in the O’Grady a few times, I was not the only rookie in the Fort Rouge group.

Being part of that century old tradition was my reason for being there but wondered why Scott Macdonell and Nathan Wilson were there. They are young men with busy lives. I asked why they had taken the time to spend an afternoon curling with this group of mostly much older guys.

I was delighted by their answers – completely different but both very honest, important reasons.

“I read in the Fort Rouge 100th anniversary history book about our club’s involvement in the O’Grady over the years,” Nathan says. “I said at the time – ‘wow, it would be really cool to play in that one day’. As soon as I was asked, I jumped at the opportunity.”

Scott, whose father Don (an FRCC past-president) wrote that history, had a really simple response. “Nathan was so excited to play in it that I really just wanted to be part of it with him,” he says.

Two significant responses – one young man wanting to celebrate the history of curling in the province by being part of something 100+ years old; the other simply wanting to celebrate a friendship through their shared interest in the sport of curling.

Don’s motive was obvious when he invited/encouraged them to participate. He was doing his part in extending the tradition into the next generation of Manitoba curlers. It didn’t hurt for either of them when Don mentioned that the hospitality extended by the host club to the visiting club is an important part of the tradition. (apparently free food and beer is also a tradition the younger generation is keen to see continue!!)

Scott MacDonell (l) and Nathan Wilson

Those were the reasons they said yes – but having participated, I also wanted to know their thoughts now about why the O’Grady tradition is important. Their answers were thoughtful.

 “I was worried that we might not be good enough curlers but that didn’t matter,” Scott said. “It is all about the fun, the score was irrelevant.” (For the record – no issue about good enough – these two young curlers are good players!)

“It is supposed to be about two clubs coming together but we discovered that we didn’t even know most of the guys from our own club,” Nathan said, admitting meeting us all might be the most important thing accomplished that day.

“These are the regular guys at the club, just having fun, he concluded”

What better way could there be to celebrate the grand game of curling???

To the travelling curlers from Fort Rouge, and their hosts today at Lorette, I extend my sincere hope that your day will be as memorable for you as mine was last week at St. Vital.

(For the record, the hospitality at St. Vital was warm and welcoming! The curling itself: the reason for being there but irrelevant to the story!)

It should be noted, however, that there is an ’official game sheet” that goes in the record book. Such a game sheet exists for all 1,500+ games in the series going right back to the beginning. You can find those records and more HERE on the CurlManitoba website.

Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame Recognizes Historically Significant Teams

The Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame & Museum Inc. (MCHoF&M) has announced the induction of five “historically significant” teams into the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame.

W.H Burns 1932 Team
Manitoba’s First Olympians

The announcement was made December 3, 2021 in a virtual (Zoom) news conference.

“With the shutdown caused by the pandemic, we hope to induct the 2020 Class of Curling Hall of Fame honourees at a banquet in May of 2022,” says MCHoF&M President Peter Nicholls. “With the enforced delay in our normal routine, we have had an opportunity to go back and look at Manitoba’s curling history and we have identified five teams who we feel have historically significant accomplishments in our history.”

The normal Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame induction process is for new inductees to be announced and then celebrated at a formal induction ceremony. However, with this 2021 group of inductee teams, as the most recent of these accomplishments took place nearly 70 years ago, the teams have been announced and formally inducted into the Manitoba Curling Hall of at the same time.

Given that the attention of Canadian Curling was focussed all last week on the curlers chasing the Olympic curling dream, it is fitting that the group of “historically significant” teams includes the first Manitoba team to compete at the Olympics, the men’s and women’s teams which won the first competitive events under Manitoba Curling Association auspices in this province, the first team to win back-to-back MCA Bonspiel Aggregate awards, and the first women’s team to win at a level above a provincial championship level.

These five team accomplishments range across more than half a century of Manitoba curling from 1889 to 1955.

A brief summary of accomplishments follows. The complete story is available at the 2021 Hall of Famers page on the newly launched MCHoF&M website (mbcurlmuseum.com).

1889: The Sam Harstone team from Winnipeg’s new Granite Curling Club won the New York Life Challenge Cup – the FIRST championship of the Annual Bonspiel of the Manitoba Branch of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club (later the MCA Bonspiel). Representative of all of the teams who competed in that first bonspiel, helping to establish the 135+ year tradition of the MCA Bonspiel (now Manitoba Open).

The 1901 Hector McLean Team

1900-1901-1902: The Hector McLean teams from Holland were the first apparent ‘dynasty’ in Manitoba Men’s curling. They won the 1900 MCA Bonspiel championship (New York Life Challenge). In 1901 & 1902, they won the “Special Aggregate” in the first two years such an honour was presented.   

The McLean team’s MCA Bonspiel domination for the three year period was “winning at the highest possible level” as there was not yet a provincial championship and teams from far and wide acknowledged that the MCA bonspiel was effectively a world championship of the time.

1914-1915: In the style of the time, the record books show Mrs. F.R. Munro’s team from Strathcona Ladies CC were the winners of “The Ladies Competition” which was added to the MCA Bonspiel in 1914 and they won again in 1915.

The 1914 Munro Team

This pre-dated formation of the Manitoba Ladies Curling Association by about a decade and is believed to be the first formal competitive event for women curlers in Manitoba.

 (MCHoF&M acknowledges the standard of the time, recording the women’s names only as Mrs. __, as unacceptable today. Research continues to try to determine given names. However, we do not believe the absence of these names should preclude these women from a rightful place in the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame.)

1932: In 1924 and again in 1932, curling was a demonstration sport at the Olympics. In 1932, at Lake Placid, an international competition occurred involving four teams from Canada and four from USA. The four teams from each country played the four teams from the other country. Manitoba’s team, skipped by William H. Burns of Portage, was the only team to win all four games and hence was awarded the gold medals – Manitoba’s first Olympians.

The 1955 Wright Team

1955: The Ethel Wright team from Flin Flon was the first Manitoba team to win the Western Canadian Ladies Curling Championship. As the first Manitoba women’s team to win at a level above the provincial championship level, the Wright team helped create the competitive opportunity for the many champions who have followed.

Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame & Museum Website Launched

The Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame & Museum Inc. is pleased to announce the launch of its Virtual Museum website.

The museum website, including the first Manitoba curling on-line museum exhibit as well as the on-line Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame, can be found at www.mbcurlmuseum.com

“With the support of our donors and with dedicated volunteer effort by our volunteers, we have accomplished one of our Board’s recent primary objectives,” says MCHoF&M President Peter Nicholls.

The MCHoF&M accepted some time ago that there might never again be a physical location for the Museum and Hall of Fame due to the costs involved. Therefore a commitment was made to establish an on-line presence to display the remarkable museum collection as well as to recognize Manitoba curling’s Hall of Fame inductees.

“Over the past couple of years, we have undertaken fund-raising to develop the website and we know that our contributors have been looking forward to seeing the on-line result,” says Nicholls. “We think they will like what they see.”

The first ‘exhibit’ in the on-line Manitoba curling museum is a history of the Manitoba men’s championship which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2025.

The exhibit outlines the history of the Manitoba championship, which pre-dated the Canadian Brier by two years, including a pictorial display of the trophies which the Manitoba men have competed for (only SIX trophies in the nearly 100 years), notes about the various sponsors (only FOUR sponsors in the nearly 100 years), plus record of all of the championship venues, the champions and other championship details.

The Manitoba curling collection includes over 30,000 items including artifacts, historical images/photos and documents. The next stage of making this collection available on-line is the complete digitization of the collection and establishment of a searchable link on the website. This process is currently underway.

In the meantime, now that the Virtual Museum has been launched and the first exhibit is available for viewing, the challenge facing MCHoF&M volunteers is to develop new exhibits.

“Just as this first exhibit focuses attention on the Manitoba Men’s championship which will be played in Selkirk in two months’ time, our task will be to develop future exhibits which are both timely and informative,” Nicholls says.

Before launching the new website, MCHoF&M volunteers also undertook to review all 200+ Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame inductee honour scrolls and update those which required renewal.

“As curling is truly a lifetime sport, many curlers continue to play at a high level for years after they are inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Nicholls explains. “The best example is probably Jeff Stoughton who was recognized initially for a Hall of Fame Mixed career and went on from that to set records in the Manitoba Men’s championship which may never be matched. That information has all been updated at the online Hall of Fame.”

Manitoba curling fans are invited to visit the new on-line Museum and Curling Hall of Fame (mbcurlmuseum.com) and are encouraged to consider a donation to support the effort to celebrate Manitoba’s curling history.

There are links on the website to the Winnipeg Foundation (to contribute to our long-term Foundation account) and to CanadaHelps.org (to contribute to short-term operating expenses). Both are able to issue charitable donations receipts on behalf of the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame & Museum.