DUNSTONE, ACKLAND WIN DEKALB SUPERSPIELS

Manitoba teams skipped by Matt Dunstone-Fort Rouge and Abby Ackland-Assiniboine Memorial have won their respective halves of the 15th annual DEKALB SuperSpiel in Morris.

Dunstone with BJ Neufeld, Ryan Harnden, and Colton Lott (pictured with Kevin Chevalier-DEKALB (l) and Jack Maendel-Ecopoxy) had an undefeated run through the bonspiel, winning six games over all Manitoba teams.

Dunstone qualified through the “A” event with wins over Jordan Peters-Morris (8-2) Braden Calvert-Deer Lodge (4-2), and Ryan Wiebe-Fort Rouge (6-4). In the playoffs, the Dunstone foursome won re-matches with Calvert (6-2) and Wiebe (7-3) before playing Reid Carruthers -Morris in the final.

The final game, projected by many as a possible preview of a provincial final in February in Neepawa, saw Dunstone jump in front with a three on the second end in a 7-2 win.

Carruthers had a much different route to the final – never playing a Manitoba team until the final. Along the way they had a pair of wins over Tommy Sullivan (NB) by scores of 4-3 and 9-3; a 7-3 win over Ryan Kleiter (Saskatoon) a loss (8-2); and a win (5-4) in games with US Olympic gold medalist John Shuster.

Like Carruthers, Ackland with Meghan Walter, Sara Oliver, Mackenzie Elias (pictured with Leon Friesen-Meridian) did not play a Manitoba opponent in their 7W-1L run to the title. Preliminary round wins over Kim Rhyme (MN) 9-2; Corryn Brown (BC) 8-4; Andrea Kelly (NB) 7-5; and Christine McMakin (ND) 9-1 followed a first game loss to Delaney Strouse (MN) 7-4. Playoff wins over Casey Scheidegger (AB) 7-0 and Clancy Grandy (BC) 8-7 preceded 7-3 final game win over Nancy Martin (Saskatoon).

Martin had defeated the Jennifer Jones-Mackenzie Zacharias team by a 6-4 score.

Photos: Connie Norris

Masters Sportsmanship Awards to Derick, Jack

Congratulations to the recipient of the 2022 Canadian Masters Championships Sportsmanship awards – as selected by the competitors in the event.

The Men’s Martin Bailey Award, honouring the two time Canadian Masters champion from Manitoba, went to Yukon lead Clarence Jack (originally from Strathclair, MB) while the Curl Regina Women’s Sportsmanship Award went to Quebec skip Catherine Derick.

The awards were presented by John Helston, who had won the Canadian Masters curling with Martin Bailey, and by Heather Helston.

In addition to a ‘keeper’, the award recipients each received one of Asham’s new UltraForce brushes.

FRANKLIN OVER WARREN IN MANITOBA MASTERS FACE-OFF AT NATIONALS

The two Manitoba Men’s teams competing in the Canadian Masters Championship at the Pembina Curling Club met in today’s opening game of the championship round. A re-match of last spring’s provincial final, this time Mark Franklin’s Manitoba host team was an extra end winner over the Manitoba champion team skipped by Murray Warren.

The 4-3 win came on a ninth end last shot hit by skip Mark Franklin. On the eighth end, Warren had tied the game with a last shot hack weight bump to remove a mostly buried Franklin stone in the four foot circle.

On the seventh, Warren had made a perfect freeze in the four foot facing three to force Franklin to a single and a 3-2 lead.

The win improves the Manitoba host (Franklin) record to 4W-3L while Warren in now 5W-2L.

Northern Ontario’s Al Hackner, with a win over Nova Scotia, remained undefeated (7W-0L). British Columbia and Ontario also both won to improve to 6W-1L and 5W-2L respectively. Saskatchewan is also at 5W-2L after losing to Ontario.

MEN:
7-0 Northern Ontario’s
6-1 British Columbia
5-2 Manitoba
5-2 Saskatchewan
5-2 Ontario
4-3 Manitoba Host
3-4 New Brunswick
2-5 Nova Scotia

On the early draw Thursday, Manitoba’s Judy Colwell team defeated Alberta 7-4 to leave the two teams tied in fourth place with 4W-2L records. British Columbia and Ontario both won to stay perfect at 6W-0L and Nova Scotia won to improve to 5W-1L.

WOMEN:
6-0 British Columbia
6-0 Ontario
5-1 Nova Scotia
4-2 Manitoba
4-2 Alberta
2-4 Saskatchewan
2-4 Manitoba Host
2-4 Quebec

NEXT DRAW: 4PM Thursday Women’s Championship Round
NEXT DRAW: 7:45PM Thursday Men’s Championship Round

UNBEATEN JOHNSON-MCDONALD WIN RED RIVER VALLEY STICK SPIEL

St. Vital’s Warren Johnson & Dan McDonald completed an unbeaten weekend with three Sunday victories to win the Red River Valley Stick Spiel championship.

Quarterfinal wins 8-2 (over Herb Sulkers & Harold Peterson) and 9-2 (over Mike & Greg Harding) suggested a dominant performance might follow in the final. However, it was a much closer affair against Ken & Shirley Strand.

Thee game was tied 3-3 after four ends when the champions broke it open with a three and ran the Strands out of rocks coming home in a 6-4 win.

In the Bronze medal game, Harding & Harding scored one coming home for a 2-1 victory over Lorne & Chris Hamblin.

In the other quarterfinals, the Hardings beat Tom & Rae Campbell 6-3; Hamblins beat Cam & Lynne McMillan 4-2; and Strands beat Norm Magnusson & Resby Coutts 7-6 in an extra end.

WICKMAN 5W-OL, EIGHT HAVE A SHOT AT MEN’S CLUB PLAYOFFS

With a draw to play, eight teams still have a chance to be in the playoffs on the men’s side of the Nature’s Bounty Club Championship at Charleswood.

Andrew Wickman-Ft. Rouge has the lone undefeated record. Team Wickman’s perfect 5W-0L record assures them of first place in the pool. With an afternoon win (7-2) over Richard Muntain-St. Vital, Zach Wasylik’s Pembina team improved to 4W-0L and are assured of fist place in the other group.

Even if they lose on the late draw and Muntain wins – Wasylik will be first in the pool thanks to an the win over Muntain.

A three-way 3W-2L tie is possible in both pools. Muntsain plays Chris Suchy-Elmwood and both could finish 3W-2L. Paul Scinocca-Charleswood is also currently at 2W-2L and must beat Wasylik to also be in the tiebreaker.

In the Wickman pool, Kelly Marnoch-Carberry controls his own fate. A final draw win over Randy Neufeld-La Salle will give the Carberry team second place at 4W-1L. However a Neufeld win would create a tie and Darren Perche-Charleswood could also improve to 3W-2L with a win over Ryan Hyde-Portage.

Tiebreakers will be played at 9PM at Charleswood.

SIX TEAMS WIN TWO ON DAY ONE AT CHARLESWOOD

Former champion Lori Pelissier (Thistle) was one of three women’s teams who posted a pair of wins on opening day of the Nature’s Bounty Club Championship at Winnipeg’s Charleswood Curling Club.

The 2012 champion skip was joined with 2W-0L records by Kristin McLellan (Brandon), playing in the same 6-team group, and by Tiffany Armstrong (Dauphin) in the other women’s pool.

In the men’s division, two-time champion Andrew Wickman and his Fort Rouge team are one of the teams with perfect 2W-0L records. Wickman won the championship in 2018 and most recently in 2020. He stands alone at the top of one 6-team pool.

In the other men’s pool, Zach Wasylik and his Pembina team and Richard Muntain’s St. Vital team also posted two opening day wins. Team Muntain needed an extra end on the late draw Thursday for their second victory.

NATURE BOUNTY CLUB CHAMPIONS CHAMPIONSHIP UNDERWAY AT CHARLESWOOD

CurlManitoba’s Club Champions Championships events have begun at the Charleswood Curling Club. Past Champion won his opener Andrew Wickman-Ft Rouge (7-1 over Sam Antila, Burntwood). Other first draw winners on the men’s side were Zach Wasylik-Pembina, Richard Muntain-St. Vital, Kelly Marnoch-Carberry, and Paul Scinnoca-Charleswood. Among three former champions on the women’s opening draw, only Lori Pelissier-Thistle (6-5 over Sherri Horning-Burntwood) was a winner. Tiffany Armstrong-Dauphin (8-6 over former champ Marlene Lang-St. Vital) and Nancy Scammell-Granite (9-3 over former champ Tracey Andries-Ft Rouge) were winners along with Debbie Whittom-Charleswood and Kristin McLellan-Brandon. CurlManitoba’s pre-event story follows:

(CURLMANITOBA RELEASE) Winnipeg’s Charleswood Curling Club will host teams from 15 different curling communities across Manitoba in the Women’s and Men’s Nature’s Bounty provincial Curling Club Championships October 27-30, 2022. Six rural clubs and three Winnipeg clubs will be represented in one of the two championships. Two rural and four Winnipeg region clubs will be represented in both.

Skips Sherri Horning and Sam Antila will travel the furthest, bringing their teams to the Charleswood from Thompson’s Burntwood club, while four teams will be playing “at home”. The Charleswood ‘host team’ entries have been earned by the Paul Scinnoca and Doreen Sigurdson teams. The Darren Perche and Debbie Whittom foursomes qualified through regional playoffs.

Topping the list of very competitive entries in the men’s championship are teams skipped by Andrew Wickman, Randy Neufeld, and Zachary Wasylik.

Wickman’s 2020 Manitoba champion team from Fort Rouge, which missed the opportunity to play in the national event due to Covid-19, is intact. Wickman, Jeff Tarko, Craig Strand, Cam Barth and 5th Scott Barth and will be among the favorites to win at Charleswood. Three of the four (Wickman, Tarko, Cam Barth) were also Manitoba champions in 2018.

Neufeld, who is a Manitoba & Canadian Senior Men’s champion and world senior Silver medallist, will play with his La Salle club team of Dale Fust, Dean Clayton, Ryan Blight and 5th Derek Horner while Wasylik, a former Manitoba junior champion with Brett Walter, skips a Pembina team of Jack Hykaway, Joshua Harding, Graham Normand and 5th Andrew Peck.

In the women’s championship, St. Vital’s Marlene Lang, (with Pamela Kok, Jackie Henderson, and Megan Pauls), also won the 2020 title but missed the national event due to Covid-19. Three of them (Lang, Kok, Henderson) were also 2015 champions.

Tracey Andries and her Fort Rouge team of Crystal Kennedy, Diane Christensen, and April Klassen won Manitoba in 2014, 2016, and 2019 along with the Canadian championship in 2016. Thistle’s Lori Pelissier, who was the 2012 champion skip, returns this year with a different team.

Teams from Charleswood (2M, 2W), Fort Rouge (1M, 2W), Burntwood, Dauphin, Pembina, and St. Vital (each 1M, 1W) along with Men’s teams from Carberry, Portage, La Salle, and Petersfield plus Women’s teams from Elmwood, Brandon, East St. Paul, Thistle, and Granite will compete.

The Women’s competition opens the event with five games at 12:15pm on Thursday, October 27. The first five men’s games are scheduled for 3:30pm that day. The semi-finals will go at 10:00 am and finals at 2:30pm on Sunday, October 30.

The winners at Charleswood will represent Manitoba in the Everest Canadian Curling Club Championships, November 20-26 to be played in the West Edmonton Mall Ice Palace.

My Early Season Highlights

A busy fall and it has taken me a bit longer than usual to re-launch my efforts here at thecurler.com – but here I am, and here I’ll be for the season.

Of course, it is impossible not to acknowledge the early season accomplishments of Kaitlyn Lawes and Jennifer Jones/Mackenzie Zacharias with the new lineups, and of Kerri Einarson and her champion team and to be excited by the prospects of a great event at East St. Paul when they host the Manitoba Scotties. Add in Chelsea Carey, Beth Peterson and Abby Ackland and you just know it will be a great event (and of course I know Kerri is Team Canada and won’t be there). On the men’s side it look more like a two-horse race with Matt Dunstone and Reid Carruthers headed for a final showdown in Neepawa – and what are the chances that one of them will be facing Mike McEwen as Team Ontario at the London Brier?

However, if you’ve followed my efforts over the years, you know that I am at least as interested in providing attention for more local events and curlers as I am in the stories and results you can get from regular TV coverage and on-line scoring.

So here are some of my early season notes and highlights.

CONGRATULATIONS to (l-r) Dewar McKinnon, Neil Okumura, Gord McKay, and Jim Griffiths. They might make a pretty good curling team but it is for club leadership at the Pembina CC that they were honoured in early September. A highlight of 75th anniversary celebrations was the presentation of club Honorary Life Memberships to the foursome. It was a privilege for me to be asked to MC the evening event and I look forward to being there again for the Canadian Masters Championships in November.

CONGRATULATIONS as well to (l-r) Lance Wadelius (Beausejour), Gail Cabana-Coldwell (Deer Lodge), and Ray Baker (Dauphin) who received CurlManitoba Honorary Life Memberships at this year’s Annual General Meeting. And BEST WISHES to Fort Rouge’s Keith Johnston (at right) who will serve as CurlManitoba President for the next two years. Lance and Gail were honoured for their service to curling as volunteer, coach/instructor and official. Ray was honoured for his service as a Board Member and President after a a long career of service and leadership in the Dauphin CC. Joyce Wyrchowny (Stonewall), a dedicated club and regional volunteer, was also honoured but unable to attend the AGM.

Ray Baker has had a pretty good last couple of months. As noted above, he ended his term as CurlManitoba President and an Honourary Life Membership acknowledged many things but particularly his leadership through the two years of the pandemic. A week later he was elected to the Board of Curling Canada, joining Darren Oryniak in providing solid Manitoba leadership at that level. But he was also a big success on the ice. (l-r) Baker, Dwight Bottrell, Bob Scales, and Keith Pottle won this year’s Canada 55+ Senior Games curling gold medal. A few weeks later, Baker skipped a different team to a 4th place finish at a bonspiel in North Carolina.

Due to an injury Bottrell missed some of the games and Baker, Scales, and Pottle played with three – which may explain something about the accumulation of rocks in this provided highlight photo. Important to point out that Team Baker was throwing RED and somehow scored a deuce on this end.

In recent times, I have become quite involved in 2-person stick curling events and competitions – so appropriate to acknowledge Paul Batchelor and Leroy Clarke (pictured with Warren Johnson) who were the winners of the start of season Ernie Oliver Bonspiel. It was also fun to be involved with a “high-performance” stick curling technical session with a group of five teams at the Morris – Cargill Curling Training Centre. It was an interesting challenge for Lorne Hamblin to apply his years of coaching and instructional experience to this newer form of the sport – but in the end the keys to the game are all the same: line of delivery, rotation, consistent release, weight control. About the only thing that 2-person stick players don’t have to worry about is sweeping!

Not many weeks after the Ernie Oliver Bonspiel, I was back on the ice at AMCC with my granddaughter’s team as they join the AMCC youth program this season. I have always admired Murray Peterson and his dedication to training young curlers to throw a good stone. After just one session my admiration is even greater. He seems even more dedicated to ensuring the kids under his tutelage have fun. What a great foundation – learn to throw the stone well – and HAVE FUN!

A final pre-season highlight came about as far from the curling ice as it is possible to get! I still do occasional media assignments (yes – real work!) and a recent assignment was the Manitoba Metis Federation’s Annual General Assembly. An interesting event in its own right but it won’t get any coverage here. However, I am always delighted when my sport gets positive attention in unexpected settings – and very unexpected was the introduction of our Canadian champion Kerri Einarson. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve seen the MMF logo on Team Einarson’s knee – great visibility when you get as much TV time as they do these days. Kerri was there to express her pride at wearing the logo and her appreciation for the MMF’s support. She had another important message as well – a word of encouragement to youth who were there or would hear the message from their parents/grandparents. It is a message we have heard from Kerri before but it bears repeating – she wants to be (and is!) a role model for youngsters, saying she’s a small town girl who set some goals and is achieving them and if she can do it, they can do it. It is a message which can’t be repeated often enough.

New Manitoba Stick Curling Championship Title Sponsor Announced

MSCA Release: The Manitoba Stick Curling Association’s 2023 Open Championship will be played in Morris in February under a new title sponsorship.

The announcement was made by MSCA President Britta Spiring at the organization’s annual general meeting, September 27.

“We are excited to welcome the expanded support of Jim Anton and Sun Life Financial,” President Spiring told the meeting as she announced the 2023 event will be known as the Sun Life Financial Manitoba Stick Curling Open Championship presented by Jim Anton.”

Her explanation that “Mr. Anton has been a valued long-time supporter of Manitoba stick curling and of our association” and that “the expanded sponsorship will provide support for both the Open Championship and next year’s start-of-season Ernie Oliver Bonspiel” was welcomed by enthusiastic applause of club delegates and curlers in attendance.

“I am proud to support this organization,” Anton had said in meetings to discuss the sponsorship. “The MSCA’s policy of being gender, age and ability inclusive is an excellent example for other organizations. It is great to see this mostly senior aged group of people staying active and involved in their local curling clubs across the province as well as in healthy competition in the MSCA’s events.”

The Sun Life Financial Manitoba Stick Curling Open Championship presented by Jim Anton will be hosted by Curl Morris, February 17-19, 2023. Entries, utilizing the CurlManitoba online entry system, will open in the very near future.

The Open Championship welcomes teams comprising two men, two women or one man-one woman. As Curl Morris is a fully accessible facility, wheelchair entries are anticipated as in past championships. A separate Women’s Championship division will take place at the same time if there is a minimum of six entries.

The MSCA’s 2023 Ernie Oliver Bonspiel, hosted by Jim Anton-Sun Life Financial, is tentatively scheduled for late September 2023 at the traditional host Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club.

CurlManitoba Announces 2024 Viterra & Scotties Championships Venues

A first time Viterra championship venue and a return, 20 years later, to a previous Scotties Championship venue have been announced as host sites for CurlManitoba’s two premier championships in 2024.

The announcement has been made at the outset of the new curling season, rather than waiting until the traditional announcement time at the current year site, to create an opportunity and more time for the 2024 host committees to begin to develop plans and recruit their volunteers.

The 2024 Viterra Championship, where the best of Manitoba’s Men’s curling teams vie for the provincial title and coveted eligibility to compete in the national Tim Hortons Brier, will be played for the first time in Stonewall. Exact dates will be announced at a later time but the event is expected to be played in the traditional mid-February timeframe.

Stonewall’s Arena (at Veteran’s Memorial Sports Complex) previously hosted the 2012-13 Scotties Tournament of Hearts which was won, for the second consecutive year by St. Vital’s Jennifer Jones, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer, and Dawn Askin.

No doubt Jones and Lawes, now with two different teams, will be among the favourites to win the 2024 Manitoba Scotties Championship when it takes to the ice in late-January in Morden’s Arena (at the Access Event Centre) to determine who earns that season’s invitation to the national Scotties.

Morden previously hosted the best Manitoba Women’s curling teams in the 2002-03 season championship when Barb Spencer and her team of Darcy Robertson, Barb Enright, and Faye Unrau won, also for Fort Rouge.

While it is the second women’s championship, it is the fourth Manitoba arena championship hosted by Morden. Prior to the 2002-03 Scott Tournament of Hearts, the first major championship hosted by Morden Curling Club was the 1988 Labatt Tankard  won by Assiniboine Memorial’s Kerry Burtnyk with Jim Spencer, Ron Kammerlock and Don Harvey. They hosted again in 1997 when the Safeway Select was won by Granite’s Vic Peters with Dan Carey, Chris Neufeld, and Scott Grant.

The Stonewall and Morden host committees, and CurlManitoba, will announce further details of the two 2024 championship as plans develop. In the meantime, planning continues for the 2023 championships.

The Scotties Tournament of Hearts will be played at East St. Paul, January 24-29, 2023 where last year’s champion Mackenzie Zacharias team, with the addition of Jennifer Jones, will defend their title.

The Viterra Championship will be played February 7-12, 2023 in Neepawa. With last year’s champion Mike McEwen team having split to join three different teams, the defending champions berth has been vacated.

Qualifying for the two championships will begin November 3-6 with Viterra and Scotties Berth Bonspiels, hosted by Minnedosa Curling Club.