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.”

FINAL QUALIFIERS AT MORRIS DEKALB ‘SPIEL FROM LATE DRAW SUNDAY

The 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.

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.

No Medals for Manitoba At Club Nationals

TEAM LORETH
Photo – Curling Canada/Jack Gustafson

(December 3) Trevor Loreth and his Granite team and Deb McCreanor’s La Salle team have fallen short in their attempt to medal at the Everest Club Nationals in Ottawa.

After Team Loreth lost the opening playoff round to Quebec’s Phillipe Menard, they dropped to the “B” side of the playoff and posted a victory over Mark Noseworthy’s Nfld-Labrador team. Hey lost their elimination game they lost to Nicolas Deagle and his Nova Scotia team.

TEAM MCCREANOR
Photo – Curling Canada/Jack Gustafson

Team McCreanor had playoff losses to Julia Goodin of New Brunswick and Tiffany Steuber and her Alberta team.

No need to wait a year as usally must happen. The 2022 CurlManitoba Nature’s Bounty Club Championship will take place at Charleswood CC in March with regional qualifying in February

(December 2) BOTH MANITOBA TEAMS ADVANCE TO PLAYOFFS IN OTTAWA … Trevor Loreth and his Granite team on a pair of games on the final day of round-robin play to finish the Everest Club Championships first round of play with a perfect 6W-0L record. They advance to an eight-team double knockout payoff round and begin play Friday morning at 11:30 against Phillipe Menard of Quebec who finished 4W-2L..

Deb McCreanor and her La Salle team have also advanced to the playoff round – on the women’s side, a six-team double knock-out. They finished with a loss Thursday and a 3W-3L record – good enough for third place in their pool. They will play New Brunswick’s Julia Goodin who also finished 4W-2L.

(December 1) LORETH 4-0, MCCREANOR 3-2 AFTER DAY #3 IN OTTAWA .. Trevor Loreth’s Manitobans lead their pool with a perfect 4W-0L record at the national Club Championship in Ottawa. The Granite team won a pair today, 9-3 over BC and 6-3 over New Brunswick.

They complete their round-robin Thursday with games against Nova Scotia (3-1) and Northern Ontario (0-4).

The 4W-0L record has the Manitoba men on top of their pool with a strong possibility of being among the three teams who advance to the playoffs from their group. The Nova Scotia game Thursday on the early morning draw will be a key, as Nova Scotia is currently in second place. A Manitoba win would guarantee they advance to playoffs.

Deb McCreanor’s La Salle team split two games on Wednesday and have a 3W-2L record with a game to play tomorrow. Today’s win was a 5-4 victory over Saskatchewan, thanks to a three-ender coming home. The loss was an 8-4 defeat by previously winless Nunavut. They play undefeated Alberta on Thursday.

The Manitoba women currently rank third in their pool. Three teams advance to the playoffs from each pool so they are still in contention.

(November 30) DAY 2 RESULTS FOR MANITOBANS AT CLUB CHAMPIONS IN OTTAWA .. Granite’s Trevor Loreth team has a 2W-0L record and sits alone at the top of their pool in the Everest Club Championship in Ottawa. Team Loreth posted a 7-3 victory over North West Territories on Tuesday. They will play two games Wednesday, against BC (1W-1L) and New Brunswick (2W-1L)

On the women’s side of the event, Deb McCreanor’s La Salle team split a pair of games Tuesday. They won 7-4 over PEI (0W-2L) but lost 8-2 to Northern Ontario (2W-0L). They will play two games Wednesday, against Saskatchewan (1W-1L) and Nunavut (0W-3L)

(November 29) MANITOBANS START WITH WINS AT CLUB CHAMPIONS IN OTTAWA .. Manitoba’s champions, Deb McCreanor and Trevor Loreth, and their teams have started strong at the Everest Club Championships in Ottawa. Both Manitoba teams opened play Monday with wins over Newfoundland -Labrador.

Loreth’s Granite team (Brad Haight, Ryan Lowdon, Brett Cawson) were 8-5 winners over a Nfld-Labrador team with an interesting Manitoba connection. Forty years ago, skip Mark Noseworthy skipped the Newfoundland team at the 1982 Labatt Brier in Brandon.

Manitoba has yet to win the Men’s division of the Clubs Championship.

McCreanor’s La Salle team (Trisha Hill, Michelle Buchanan, Jennifer Cawson) was a 7-4 winner over Nfld-Labrador Monday afternoon. Manitoba has won the Canadian title four times – Meghan Armit (2011), Stacey Fordyce (2013 & 2017), and Tracy Andries (2016)

The 14 men’s and 14 women’s teams will be split into two seven-team round-robin pools. After a single round-robin, the top three teams in each pool will make the modified double-knockout playoffs, which begin Friday, Dec. 3, at 9 a.m. (all times Eastern). 

The championship semifinals are scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 4, at 9 a.m., and the semifinal winners will play for gold, and the losers will play for bronze later that day at 2 p.m.

Olympians Return Home

Kaitlyn Lawes and Dawn McEwen, the Winnipeg resident members of 2022 Canadian Women’s Olympic Curling Team, returned home to Winnipeg tonight tired from their successful week at the Canadian Curling Trials in Saskatoon.

And they were given the traditional CurlManitoba – Winnipeg Airport champions welcome – the “official” greeting and words of congratulations; flowers for the champions; a trip down the escalator to the welcoming arms of family, friends, and fans, including a group of very proud St. Vital club members; and media. If you missed the homecoming – watch CTV locally tomorrow. Thanks to them for being there!!!)

In these pandemic-ruled times, the crowd was a little smaller (it seems like people don’t like crowds any more), the welcomers were conscious of distancing, a few hugs were awkward – almost apologetic.

But it is a grand tradition that goes back to at least Don Duguid’s triumphant return with a world gold medal in 1970 and both CurlManitoba and Winnipeg Airport Authority are to be commended for ensuring it was continued tonight.

AND, my personal thanks to the security guard (whose name I didn’t get but wouldn’t have included here anyway) for his courtesy. He was appropriately rigid in ensuring that I followed the rules that had to be followed and appropriately flexible on the rules that his bosses had already decreed as flexible by allowing the welcome to occur at all. We spent a pleasant few minutes chatting about “this and that” before the bell rang and he had to pay attention to duty.

Hopefully there will be more Manitoba champions this year – and they’ll be able to enjoy the same welcome when it is their turn.

ZACHARIAS AND WIEBE WIN MANITOBA TOUR TITLES

Mackenzie Zacharias and her Altona team (Karlee Burgess, Emily Zacharias, Lauren Lenentine) were the winners Sunday of the Manitoba Curling Tour final at Thistle – their first MCT Championship.

TEAM ZACHARIAS

The eight team championship was played in two pools of four and Team Zacharias were 2W-1L to advance to the semifinals where they posted a 7-6 extra end victory over Kristy Watling. The final was a short-game victory over Kristy McDonald, who had reached the final with a win over Kim Link and her team, prepping for their upcoming trip to the Canadian Seniors.

Zacharias’ first prize purse is $1,600. Kristy McDonald and her team earn $1,000 toward their season expenses while Kristy Watling and Kim Link’s teams each pick up $700.

In the Men’s MCT final, Ryan Wiebe (Ty Dilello, Sean & Adam Flatt) was a 5-4 winer over Riley Smith. It was a well-played game with a lot of rocks in play and the young men favouring the big weight hits so much on display at the elite level these days.

TEAM WIEBE

Wiebe was in his third game of the day, having beaten Braden Calvert (7-1) in the quarter-final and Corey Chambers (5-2) in the semi-final.

Smith, who had a first round bye to the semi-final, beat Jacques Gauthier (4-2) in the semi-final. Gauthier had beaten Tanner Lott (skipping the Pat Simmons team) in an extra-end (6-5) semi-final.

The final four earned the same prize money as the women’s final four. The quarter-finalist teams both earned $500.

For Wiebe and the Flatt brothers, it was a repeat victory as they had won the previous (2019) MCT title as well.

FOUR PROVINCIAL JUNIOR BERTHS AT HEATHER BONSPIEL

Four provincial Junior berths were awarded Sunday afternoon at Heather. Junior Men’s teams skipped by Jace Freeman and Cameron Olafson, and Junior Women’s teams skipped by Grace Beaudry and Morgan Maguet will be going to Brandon, February 22-27, for the CurlManitoba TELUS Juniors.

Cameron Olafson and his East St. Paul team (Riel Dufault, Jonathan Kostna, Seth Boschmann, Coach Richard Harding) defeated Thomas McGillvary and his Fort Garry team in a seven end secpond berth game. Earlier in the day Jace Freeman and his Virden team (Andrew McKay, Cyrus Brandt Randy Ostrowsky, Coach Graham Freeman) had also posted a win over team McGillvary.

On the Junior Women’s side, the afternoon game was won by Morgan Maguet’s East St. Paul team (Kyle Lippens, Lauren Evason, Danica Metcalfe, Coach Kevin Young). They had lost earlier in the day to Grace Beaudry-St. Vital (Chelsea Swaile, Jensen Letham, Arianne Courcelles, Coach Guy Beaudry).

Down two coming home to Tansy Tober – Fort Garry, Maguet faced a difficult light-weight hit past a centre guard, need to at least remove two rocks in the four foot. She had third and fourth shot stone in the 12 foot circle – needed to stick to win, a rollout meant an extra end. She removed one and the other rolled to the 12 foot, just far enough that no measure was required.

The four berth winners join the winners of two earlier MJCT bonspiels in the TELUS Juniors in Brandon.