The Western Canadian Blind Curling Championships will return to Manitoba March 8-11 when seven teams from British Columbia, Alberta, and Host Manitoba will compete in a round-robin tournament.
Organized Blind Curling first took place in 1972 as an awareness activity but soon grew into a competitive gathering of curlers. Alberta and Saskatchewan were joined by British Columbia and Manitoba in 1979. The Western Canadian Blind Curling Association, involving the four western provinces, was established in 1982, the same year that the event was hosted in Beausejour, Manitoba.
The game is played just like any other curling game with the exception that each team has an on-ice Coach who may provide needed help to the athletes. In particular this might involve holding a broom near to the person in the hack OR shining a light to give the thrower an idea of the required line of delivery.
The local host committee regrets that, due to health concerns, Saskatchewan is unable to be represented in what is being billed as a celebration of FIFTY PLUS YEARS of Western Blind Curling. The ‘flexible’ billing acknowledges the impact of the recent covid cancellations on the blind curling event.
British Columbia will be represented by teams from Vancouver and Prince George with the first time addition of a team from the Campbell River. Alberta will have the two representatives from the Edmonton Blind Curling league and Manitoba’s representatives are from the Manitoba Blind Sports Association.
The Manitoba teams are:
SKIP: Darren Hawkins Norm Lyons THIRD: Hunter McLaughlin Bill Liggins (from Ontario) SECOND: Debbie Martinuzzi Jennifer Moreland LEAD: Miriam Hesslebart Lucy Chase COACH: Brian Fredrickson Matt Hesselbart
Events at Charleswood will begin Wednesday, March 8 at 6:30PM with opening ceremonies followed by the first draw. There will be two draws a day (at 9:30AM & 1:30PM) on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Of special note, Manitoba’s Scotties champions, and former World Junior Champions, Mackenzie and Emily Zacharias, will participate in the Opening Ceremony. Mackenzie Zacharias has a relationship with Manitoba’s Blind Curling community going back to 2019 when, as part of a U of Manitoba studies practicum, she was involved in blind curling as an observer, coach, and participant (blindfolded) to better understand the sport as blind curlers experience it.
Good luck to all of the Manitobans chasing the Tim Hortons Brier championship this week in London, ON. Of course, the curler.com is cheering for a Dunstone-Carruthers rematch of the final we had a couple weeks ago in Neepawa. Failing that, there are several Manitobans in the field who we’d like to see in the final game.
(With the busy schedule of Scotties and Viterra commentary and playing in the Manitoba Stick Championship, I have been delinquent in not posting this story which has been in my files for a while! My apologies for the delay.)
Paige Smith-Heisler and Alasdair Buchanan, both Fort Rouge junior curlers, were the recipients of the inaugural Winnipeg Curling Club Association (WCCA) Youth Curler Awards. The award, in the form of a keepsake plaque and reimbursement of league fees, is an annual award. Recipients must be under 18 and exhibit exceptional attendance, significant improvement, and commendable sportsmanship within their youth program.
Fort Rouge organizers Kara Balshaw and Mike Granove had nominated the two award recipients. Nominations by organizers of any WCCA club junior program are encouraged to make nominations for 2022/23 awards by a deadline of April 15, 2023.
Prospective award recipients will have been enrolled in their home club’s youth program for at least three full years.
The WCCA comprises participating Winnipeg Region curling clubs and was established some years ago to provide the clubs with a common voice when liaising with CurlManitoba, as well as to share information and coordinate regional events.
Currently the President is Jason Shymanski and the Secretary is Paul Batchelor. Information is available at your club or by contacting Paul Batchelor at firstname.lastname@example.org
CurlManitoba is pleased to announce that Seagram’s Whisky is expanding its support of curling and curling clubs in Manitoba as the new provincial title sponsor of CurlManitoba’s Curling Club Championships.
CurlManitoba’s relationship with Seagram’s Whisky began with their sponsorship of this season’s live-streaming of championship events in Portage, East St. Paul, and Neepawa.
“As a sponsor of our live-streaming program, Seagram’s Whisky helped provide exposure to over 650,000 viewers for this season’s Viterra Championship, Scotties Tournament of Hearts and TELUS Juniors,” said CurlManitoba Executive Director Craig Baker.
“When we talked with Seagram’s representatives about expanded opportunities to support curling here in Manitoba, our Curling Club Championships was an obvious excellent fit.”
Seagram’s is looking forward to our sponsorship with CurlManitoba as well as our Sponsorship of the Men’s and Women’s Provincial Curling Club Championships for the next 3 years and hopefully beyond that. Seagram’s has been a staple in curling clubs across our province for decades and we are happy to be able to give back to the curling community that has supported us for many years,” said Dean Clayton, Regional Marketing Manager for Charton Hobbs Inc., who are the provincial representative for Seagram’s Canadian Whisky.
The Seagram’s Whisky Curling Club Championships three-year agreement includes this year’s regional qualifying events in March across the province and the provincial championship at the Fort Rouge Curling Club location in the early fall of 2023. The Seagram’s Whisky Provincial Men’s and Women’s champions will represent Manitoba at the national Everest Club Championships at the Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club in November.
GOOD LUCK to the Manitoba teams in the Canada Games Men’s and Mixed Doubles competitions underway today in Prince Edward Island.
Mixed Doubles competitors Mackenzie Arbuckle and Aaron Macdonell start play at noon today (Central) while the Jace Freeman’s Men’s team (Elias Huminicki, Jack Steski, Rylan Graham, and Coach Graham Freeman will begin play tomorrow morning.
Altona’s Dayna Wahl team had a slow start in the Women’s division but advanced to the playoffs before being eliminated in the quarter-final by Saskatchewan. Nova Scotia defeated Alberta in the gold medal game.
(Friday, February 17) FOUR TEAMS MANITOBA IN NATIONAL SCOTTIES Good luck to all four of the Manitoba teams playing this week in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Play began Friday evening with Kerri Einarson’s Team Canada winning 11-8 over Quebec and Kaitlyn Lawes’ Wild Card team coming from behind to beat Alberta 8-5. Lawes plays Nova Scotia and Einarson takes on British Columbia on the last draw Saturday.
Jennifer Jones’ Team Manitoba plays Northern Ontario and Meghan Walter’s Wild Card Manitoba team plays the the Alberta Wild Cards (Casey Scheidegger) on the afternoon draw.
The first Manitoba meeting is between Jones & Walter on the Sunday morning draw. Einarson and Lawes face off on Sunday afternoon.
Colton & Kadriana Lott (Winnipeg Beach) have won the 2023 CurlManitoba Dynasty Mixed Doubles Curling Championship. The couple, who had previously won the Manitoba Mixed Doubles title in 2018, defeated Lisa McLeod & Lyall Hudson (Pembina) Monday afternoon at St. Vital Curling Club to complete an undefeated run thorough the championship.
For Colton Lott, this year’s second Mixed Doubles victory is a second provincial championship of the season and his sixth lifetime Manitoba curling title. He won the 2023 Viterra Men’s Championship at second for the Matt Dunstone team and previously won Manitoba Junior Men’s titles in 2012, 2013, and 2016. For Kadriana Lott (as Sahaidak) the only previous championship was the 2018 Mixed Doubles.
After opening the games with single steals in each of the first two ends, Colton Lott’s big weight hit ability paid dividends with a slash double to remove a buried McLeod-Hudson shot stone. McLeod’s draw was behind the button and Kadriana’s last shot draw was good enough for a single point. They stole two deuces in the next two ends.
Trailing 5-2 after five ends, McLeod-Hudson used their power play on the sixth. It worked to produce a two to pull them within one point. Lott-Lott used their power play on the seventh and ended the game when they were able to put a five on the scoreboard.
Lott-Lott were unbeaten “A” qualifiers to advance to the playoffs and were riding a five game winning streak going into the final game. McLeod-Hudson had reached the final as “C” qualifiers with five wins in their first seven games.
In the Sunday afternoon semi-finals, McLeod-Hudson defeated Thomas Dunlop & Katie McKenzie (Stonewall) while Lott-Lott ousted Mikaylah & William Lyburn (Granite).
The four playoff qualifiers who were eliminated in the first round Sunday were Sarah-Jane Sass & Lucas Van Den Bosch (Granite), Stacey & Steve Irwin (Brandon), Lauren Rajala & Cyrus Brandt (St. Vital), and Janelle Lach & Corey Chambers (Fort Garry).
A total of 20 teams participated in the triple knock-out championship attempting to advance to the Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship in Sudbury, ON in lat March.
Teams from St. Vital and Springfield took home the trophies in the Manitoba Stick Curling Association’s 2023 championships in Morris.
St. Vital’s Warren Johnson and Dan McDonald, regulars at MSCA events and club bonspiels, lost one game in round-robin play, finished first in their group, and won three in a row on championship Sunday to win their first championship. For McDonald, it was a first-ever. Johnson has won twice previously, with Brad Childe in 2017 and with Earl Stephenson in 2012.
The final game against Darren MacMillan & Terry Proctor (Marquette) in the SunLife Financial MSCA Open Championship presented by Jim Anton went right to the last shot.
Tied 1-1 after four ends, Johnson & McDonald had stolen two on the fifth to lead 3-1 coming home. Laying one in the four foot, Proctor played a lightweight tap shot on a pocket of three stones in the back four foot but got the worst possible angle on them, touching all three and rolling forward across the teeline and out of the four foot circle to score only one.
In the semifinals, Johnson-McDonald defeated Herb Sulkers & Harold Peterson (East St. Paul) and MacMillan-Proctor beat Larry Weatherburn & Rick Willetts (Eriksdale).
The four teams eliminated in the first round of playoffs were Charlie McCullough & Wayne Johnston (Carman), Don Fischer & Grant Nicolson (St. Vital), Bill Reid & Ed Thompson (Wildewood at Thistle), and Norm Magusson & Resby Coutts (Fort Rouge).
McCullough & Johnston were the only undefeated team in the event. Sulkers & Peterson and Willetts & Weatherburn advanced to the playoff round through a tiebreaker. They had been tied after round-robin play with Jim Rouse & Ross MacMillan (Warren/Marquette) but survived the tiebreaker.
A total of 24 teams participated in the SunLife Financial Open Championship presented by Jim Anton.
Lorna Marr & Val Kolsun (Springfield) defeated 2020 champions Gwen Smith and Lynne Rehbein (St. Vital) to win the 7-team 2023 MSCA Women’s Championship. Down 3-2 coming home, Marr-Kolsun scored a single point to force an extra end then won the game with a steal in the extra when a last shot draw to the four foot circle slid a little too deep.
At the end of round-robin play, Marr & Kolsun, Smith & Rehbein, and Irene Tully & Marilyn Campbell (Marquette) had been tied with 4 win – 2 loss records. Marr & Kolsun won the tiebreaker and the bye to the final. Smith & Rehbein eliminated Tully & Campbell in the semi-final.
(Sunday, February 19, 1:30PM) FINALS SET IN STICK CHAMPIONSHIPS Warren Johnson & Dan McDonald (St. Vital) will play Darren MacMillan & Terry Proctor (Marquette) in the final game of the SunLife Financial Manitoba Stick Open Championship presented by Jim Anton. The game is set for 2 PM in Morris.
MacMillan-Proctor defeated Larry Weatherburn & Rick Willets (Eriksdale) in the semifinal. Proctor, tied coming home and facing three, half tucked a draw behind a counter in the top of the rings and marked up the 2-1 win when Willets rubbed his own stone.
Johnson & McDonald gave up a three on the opening end , came back with three of their own on the second and led Herb Silkers & Harold Peterson (East St. Paul) 6-4 coming home. Sulkers faced a difficult tap back of a counter on the button for two with his last stone. He rubbed the target stone but left a steal of one for a 7-4 win.
In the Women’s final, Lorna Marr & Val Kolsun (Springfield) will play former champions Gwen Smith & Lynne Rehbein (St. Vital) . Smith-Rehbein were 5-2 winners over Irene Tully & Marilyn Campbell (Marquette) in the morning semi-final.
(Saturday, February 19, 10PM) MCCULLOUGH-JOHNSTON LONE UNBEATEN TEAM, PLAYOFFS SET IN STICK CHAMPIONSHIPS Carman’s Charlie McCullough and Wayne Johnston are the only team to reach the playoffs of the two Manitoba 2-person Stick Championships undefeated. In a game for first place in Pool D, McCullough-Johnston defeated Norm Magnusson & Resby Coutts (Ft. Rouge) on the Saturday evening draw. Both teams will advance to the Sunday playoff round.
In Pool A of the SunLife Open Championship presented by Jim Anton, Grant Nicolson & Don Fischer (St. Vital) finished first with a 4W-1L record. Bill Reid & Ed Thompson (Wildewood at Thistle), with a 3W-2L record, also advance to the playoffs.
In Pool B, Warren Johnson & Dan McDonald (St. Vital) and Darren MacMillan & Terry Proctor (Marquette), with 3W-1L records, both advance to the playoff round.
A three team tiebreaker was required in Pool C. Of the three teams with 4W-1L records, the tiebreak win went to Herb Sulkers & Harold Peterson (East St. Paul) and Rick Willets & Larry Weatherburn (Eriksdale).
The eight teams will play a single knock-out playoff on Sunday beginning at 11AM in Morris.
A three-team tiebreaker was also required in the Women’s championship – to determine the first place bye to the final in the three team playoff. Lorna Marr & Val Kolsun (Springfield), 2020 champions Lynne Rehbein & Gwen Smith (St. Vital) AND Irene Tully & Marilyn Campbell (Marquette) all finished with 4W-2L records. Lorna Marr & Val Kolsun earned the bye to the final.
(Friday, February 18, 9PM)THREE TEAMS UNBEATEN IN MANITOBA STICK CHAMPIONSHIPS Three of 23 teams have unbeaten records as play began Saturday at 3PM in the SunLife Financial Manitoba 2-Person Stick Open Championship presented by Jim Anton in Morris.
In Pool C, former Canadian Champions Jim Rouse & Ross MacMillan have a 3W-0L record with two games to play. Two teams trail them with 2W-1L records.
In Pool D, Charlie McCullough and Wayne Johnston (Carman) and Norm Magnusson & Resby Coutts (Fort Rouge) share the lead with 3W-0L records. They will meet in their final round robin game Saturday evening.
In Pool A, Grant Nicolson & Don Fischer (St. Vital) lead the way with a 3W-1L record. Four teams have 2W-2L records in this group.
Pool D play has been complicated by a team withdrawal due to injury. This group is now five teams and is led by Warren Johnson & Dan McDonald (St. Vital) with a 3W-1L record. Darren MacMillan & Ross Proctor (Marquette) have a 2W-1L record in that group.
Two teams from each pool will advance to the playoffs.
In the Women’s Championship, Lorna Marr & Val Kolsun (Springfield) lead the way with a 4W-1L record and a game to play. 2020 champions Lynne Rehbein & Gwen Smith (St. Vital) AND Irene Tully & Marilyn Campbell (Marquette) have 3W-1L records and two games to play.
(Friday, February 17, 9PM) 2-PERSON STICK CURLING CHAMPIONSHIPS IN MORRIS THIS WEEKEND Two different forms of 2-person curling are on display in championships underway this weekend. At St. Vital, CurlManitoba’s Dynasty Mixed Doubles Championship has attracted 20 teams, most of them from the younger curling demographic. In a triple elimination event, the teams will play down to eight teams in the knockout playoff round on Monday.
A somewhat older demographic is demonstrating the skills involved in the 2-person stick game in Morris in the Manitoba Stick Curling Association’s SunLife Financial Open Championship presented by Jim Anton, as well as in the Association’s Women’s Championship. The seven-team Women’s event is being played in one pool so each team will play six games. Irene Tully & Marilyn Campbell (Marquette) won their only two games on opening day while Darlene Maywood & Melanie Shura (St. Vital) AND Lorna Marr & Val Kolsun (Springfield) also won a pair (but also had a loss). The top three teams will advance to Sunday playoffs.
In the SunLife Financial Manitoba Open Stick Championship presented by Jim Anton, 24 teams are competing in four pools. Six teams won their first two games on Friday.
While the Manitoba Stick Curling Association’s SunLife Financial Open & Women’s Championships presented by Jim Anton are underway in Morris, at St. Vital, CurlManitoba’s Dynasty Mixed Doubles Championship has attracted 20 teams. While most of the teams are from the younger curling demographic, there are recognizable Scotties and Viterra Championship names included among the eight teams which have reached “A” Side semi-finals.
In the triple elimination event, three rural teams (from Brandon, Winnipeg Beach, and Stonewall), two teams from Granite, and one each for Fort Garry, Pemina and the host St. Vital club will play at 5:30PM or 8:30PM Saturday to determine the teams who will be in the first two qualifying games at 9:00AM Sunday.
Those match-ups include Colton & Kadriana Lott (Winnipeg Beach) vs Sarah-Jane Sass & Lucas Van Den Bosch (Granite); Steve & Stacey Irwin (Brandon) vs Thomas Dunlop & Katie macKenzie (Stonewall); and Corey Chambers & Janelle Lach (Fort Garry) vs Lyall Hudson & Lisa McLeod (Pembina) at 5:30PM. Cyrus Brandt & Lauren Rajala (St. Vital) vs Bryce McEwen & Roxie Trembath (Granite) is scheduled for 8:30PM.
The original 20 teams will play down to eight teams in the knockout playoff round on Monday.