BEAUDRY NEW MANAGER AT CHARLESWOOD

Guy Beaudry’s new ‘pre-retirement’ job as the new Manager of the Charleswood Curling Club began with just over a month left in the season. It seems fitting, however, that the last event of the season and his first major event as Manager was helping to host CurlManitoba’s Canad Inns Youth Bonspiel.

Guy Beaudry

Beaudry’s name has been closely associated with junior curling in Manitoba over the last decade as a volunteer junior organizer at St. Vital and as coach of his daughters’ junior teams. He’ll continue that volunteer role at St. Vital next winter as he immerses himself in other aspects of Charleswood’s programs.

Beaudry describes the new job as “very much a part time thing”. He will continue his professional career as Business Manager of the U of M’s Faculty of Environment but acknowledges that, at the age of 60, the time is coming when that will come to an end. He was interested in getting involved at Charleswood as a way to be involved in a different way in the sport and as a way of exploring post-retirement options.

He says, with a smile, the start at Charleswood with about a month left in this season was “a good way to find out where the buzzer and light switches are.” Obviously, it was also a good way to get to know the Board members he will be working with and the overall personality of the club.

Beaudry has not yet had a chance to meet with Jim McRae, the long-time Junior program organizer at his new club. However, he does not visualize any immediate direct involvement as he doesn’t want to get in the way of a program that has worked well in bringing large numbers of young people into the club on Saturdays.

What he does see is opportunities created by existing blank spaces in the club’s scheduling. Among the events and leagues he foresees talking with the Board of Directors about is a Stick League, a Doubles League, a Junior bonspiel, and perhaps some CurlManitoba berth bonspiels.

HODGE RETIRES AS FORT ROUGE MANAGER

Jeff Hodge

The longest serving of Winnipeg’s curling club managers, Jeff Hodge, has announced his retirement as Manager of the Fort Rouge Curling Club.

Hodge has advised the Board of Directors and club members that he will be ‘stepping back” at the end of April. He admits that ‘covid’ did have a small role to play in his decision but not what you might expect.

“I didn’t know how much I would enjoy not having the day-to-day stress and worries of managing the club until I was off work during the pandemic,” he says.

He has been FRCC’s Manager for 19 years and remembers well the day he learned he had been hired for the position. He had served as the club’s Junior President (1983-84), as a member of the Board of Directors and as the Board’s President (2000-01). He was just two years off the Board with a lot of pride in the club. “I wanted the job because I felt there was so much more we could do and I wanted to be part of moving the club forward to reach its potential,” he says.

Asked to recall special memories of his time as Manager, Hodge struggles – he says there are so many.

“One very special memory is the way we successfully hosted the Canadian Mixed Championship in 2019,” he recalls.  The Rouge has hosted provincial championships and even some national firefighters events but the opportunity to showcase his club in a national championship was special to Hodge. “Chair Brad McLean, a great committee and hard-working volunteers did a great job and I remember how much fun it was doing that event,” he says.

Hodge acknowledges the real special memories are probably things only a club manager would think of as special.

In the 2006-07 season, Fort Rouge spent almost the whole year figuring out the water issue that plagued Fort Rouge ice for years.

“I spent the whole year ‘sleuthing’, working with Greg Ewasko, who was handling our ice and Heather’s. We tried UV lights and carbon filters and water softeners before we found the right combination of carbon filters, water softener and RO (reverse osmosis) system. We were the first clubs to implement that system in Manitoba – now almost everyone has it,” he says with obvious pride.

Hodge also points at the Fort Rouge club’s business plan and finances. Admittedly, like other clubs, they took a hit during the covid shutdown but overall, the planned funding of infrastructure improvements, implementation of a capital fund, development of a ten-year planning process, and a more business-like approach to increasing membership fee levels are all in place at Fort Rouge. While he took a leadership role in these areas, he is thankful to the Board volunteers who have played a key role in these developments. The fact they have happened during his time as Club Manager is a source of satisfaction.

By sharing Rouge’s ideas with other clubs, and borrowing ideas from other clubs to bring back to Fort Rouge, through the Winnipeg Club Association meetings, the retiring Manager also feels he has made a contribution to curling in Winnipeg, not just at his own club.

As noted above, he acknowledges the role and contribution of the Board volunteers and especially Past-Presidents. As a Past-President himself, he knows the Manager works both with and for the Board and President.

Dangerous as it might be to single out individuals, Hodge offers a few as examples of the leadership provided to his club by the volunteers. “Treasurer D’Arcy Clendenan played a pivotal role in turning around our finances upon becoming Treasurer in 2003. Past President Ernie Wilson could not have been more supportive of the work we were doing to solve the water issues in 2006-07, Past President Craig Jones, more when he was a Director, was very involved in the move to develop a ten-year planning process at Fort Rouge and Past President Keith Johnston provided his IT expertise to modernize our processes, such as online registration and payment,” he says. “Those are just some of the examples of the kind of volunteer leadership Fort Rouge has always been lucky to have.”

Once a pretty competitive player (winner of three MCA bonspiel trophies and  provincial championship berths), Jeff Hodge hasn’t played for a few years and admits he misses it. He says he might take a break from the club next year but Fort Rouge members can expect to see him back on the ice “probably the year after next.”

When he does return to the ice, it can only be at Fort Rouge for a guy who has bled Fort Rouge Green & Gold since that year as Junior President in 1983 – 40 years ago!

(Editor’s Note: As a Fort Rouge club member and league organizer, it has always been a pleasure to work with Jeff on projects big and small. On behalf of all Fort Rouge members, I’ll presume to say THANK YOU!! and GOOD LUCK IN THE FUTURE!!)

******

YOUTH WINTER ‘SPIEL UNDERWAY

140 young curlers – 35 teams – from 6 Winnipeg clubs, 8 rural Manitoba communities and 1 Northern Ontario community – playing in two Winnipeg curling rinks.

Those are the numbers for this year’s Canad Inns Youth Winter Bonspiel underway at Charleswood and Deer Lodge. The event is played in three age divisions : U-13 (9 teams), U-15 (18 teams), and U-18 (8 teams).

The event is intended to be more recreational than competitive. However, in the older age group about half the teams will also play in next weekend’s CurlManitoba U-18 Championship. They are the teams who are beginning to make the transition in their development as curlers toward being more competitive.

Pembina (8 teams) and St. Vital (6 teams) are the most- represented curling clubs. The others of the six Winnipeg clubs are Assiniboine Memorial (3 teams), Fort Garry (2) and Granite & Fort Rouge (1 each). From outside Winnipeg, there are three Swan River teams and two each from Ste Anne and West St. Paul. Single teams have come from Brandon, La Salle, Lorette, Morden, and Petersfield, .

The two out-of-province teams have come from Kakabeka Falls, near Thunder Bay.

The competition is being played in a round-robin pools format with final games in each division set for 3PM on Sunday at Deer Lodge.

Equally important to the event is an emphasis on FAIR PLAY. After each game, each team is asked to rank their opponent and prizes as also awarded based on Fair Play rankings.

RAMSAY, SHAFIRKA WIN MANITOBA 2-PERSON STICK OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

(l-r) Manitoba Stick Curling Ass’n President Britta Spiring, Alf Ramsay, MSCA Event Director Warren Johnson, Ron Shafirka

St. Vital Stick Leaguers Alf Ramsay and Ron Shafirka have won the 2022 Manitoba Open 2-Person Stick Curling Championship at Assiniboine Memorial.

Ramsay-Shafirka defeated 2018 Canadian Stick Champions Tom & Rae Campbell (Killarney) 3-2 in the final game when Ramsay made a last rock kill knowing he did not have to stick for a point and the win.

In round-robin play, Campbell-Campbell had defeated Ramsay-Shafirka as the two advanced from the same pool with the Killarney duo undefeated.

In the semi-finals, Campbell-Campbell had beaten Swan River defending champion Webster-Tall team while Ramsay-Shafirka beat Magnusson-Coutts (Fort Rouge).

The 32-team event attracted teams from St. Vital (10), AMCC (6), Fort Rouge (3), East St. Paul, Carman, Warren/Marquette & Steinbach (2 each), and Swan River, Pembina, Killarney, Thistle, Eriksdale, & Stonewall (1 each).

Ramsay won the championship once previously, in 2010 partnered with Earl Stephenson. It is a first title for Shafirka.

PICKEN LEGACY FUND GRANT ANNOUNCED FOR INTERLAKE JUNIOR LEAGUE

The organizing committee for the annual Bob Picken Memorial Masters Bonspiel has announced its latest contribution to youth curling development in Manitoba.

A Bob Picken Legacy Fund grant of $500 has been made to the Junior Interlake Inter-club League. This brings the total invested in youth curling development to $3,000 since the bonspiel was established in memory of legendary curling broadcaster Bob Picken in 2019.

“Despite the pandemic, we were able to hold a small bonspiel in the fall of 2021,” say co-chairs Bob Minaker and Brian Kushner. “We again generated a surplus which allowed us to continue with our mandate of supporting youth development in curling across Manitoba.”

“Just as the pandemic has disrupted our own bonspiel planning, we know it has been challenging for projects such as the Junior Interlake Inter-club League so we were pleased to see that they were able to continue their program to a successful conclusion this year,” say Minaker and Kushner. “We are pleased to be able to make a contribution to pay some of the league costs for the season.”

This year’s league included teams from East St. Paul, Stonewall, and Selkirk. West St. Paul, usually also involved, was unable to participate this year. The league offers young curlers, aged 12-17, development opportunities through both coaching sessions and competition.

Games through the season are played in each of the participating clubs with the travel to play in different venues and on different ice also being a development experience.

The Junior Interlake Inter-club Curling League will wind up its 2021-22 season March 20th at East St. Paul, beginning at 10AM.

In 2019, the Bob Picken Masters Bonspiel made grants to Thistle, Oakville, and Riverview (Brandon) Junior development programs. Due to the pandemic, no grants were made in 2020. In 2021-22, grants have been made to the Interlake league and to support CurlManitoba’s Bob Picken Legacy Inter-club Youth League in Winnipeg..

Planning is underway for the fall 2022 Bob Picken-Valour Road Masters Bonspiel at Thistle Curling Club. The committee will continue to support junior curling development in Manitoba. Grant applications, through CurlManitoba, will be received at the beginning of next curling season.

A MANITOBA CURLING FIRST FOR STEPHANIE FEELEUS

(Original for curlmanitoba.org) Newly crowned Manitoba champion Stephanie Feeleus earned a spot in Manitoba curling history when she and her Fort Garry Team Tober teammates won the Telus Juniors Manitoba Junior Women’s Curling Championship last week in Brandon.

The 18-year old Stephanie became the first person to win a Manitoba Junior title after having earlier participated in CurlManitoba’s youth development Hit-Draw-Tap competition. At the age of 13, she finished third in her age group in the first Hit-Draw-Tap competition in 2017 at Portage.

Stephanie Feeleus – 2017 Hit-Draw-Tap Competitor (CurlManitoba Photo)

“It was very intimidating,” she recalled recently. “For a little 13 year old to be in that big arena with people watching, and the lights were so bright. But fun!!”

She calls it a positive memory. “It is the biggest thing you could compete in at that age. I think it gives kids a professional experience, it opens your eyes a little bit to what is possible,” she says.

“They emphasized the fun and there was really no pressure, not like a game. We just had to throw the three shots. I think it can inspire kids to want to do more in the sport,” she says.

Stephanie Feeleus – 2022 Provincial Champion (CurlManitoba Photo)

Do more – Stephanie Feeleus certainly has! A short five years later, she is a Manitoba champion lead – with skip Tansy Tober, 3rd Caitlin Kostna, 2nd Lexa Sigurdson, and Coach Deb Popovic.

After going to the Hit-Draw-Tap event as a member of Pembina’s Junior program, she has played with Team Tober for three years at Fort Garry. It has been a growing process for the team.

“When we started together, we were among the youngest on the Manitoba Junior Curling Tour. We got a few wins and that was good enough because it was a learning experience,” she explains.

This year, as the learning experience continued, they had what would at best be considered ‘a pretty good year’. They accumulated MJCT Rankings points in three events and were the finalist in the Stonewall event.

She is direct in responding to the hypothetical question – how would she have answered if asked in advance what the team’s expectation would have been going into the Telus Juniors?

“Everyone says they would hope to win but as a realistic objective, we would have said that we wanted to prove our seed. We were seeded #3, we would have said we wanted to justify that,” she says.

Team Tober took the longest route to the championship: a 3W-2L round-robin, a tiebreaker game win, and three playoff game wins for a 7W-2L record earned them the Manitoba Championship and the opportunity to represent Manitoba at the national New Holland Juniors later this month in Stratford, ON.

Who knows, maybe there will be a future champion on the ice at the Heather Curling Club on April 10 when 21 young curlers representing all regions of Manitoba will participate in this year’s provincial Hit-Draw-Tap finals.

Over 500 participated across the province in the qualifying rounds in the three age groups: 6-8, 9-10, and 11-13. The number was down somewhat from previous years due to the covid disruptions but is still a substantial show of interest in the competition.

Meanwhile, Team Tober is preparing to go to Stratford.

“We have been throwing a lot of rocks but I don’t think the team has the words yet to describe the feelings we have. We have just been so busy making arrangements and practicing,” Stephanie says.

The team’s “send-off” at Fort Garry CC will take place at 7PM, March 18th.

#throwcurlingstonesnotbombs

I am only one voice but I wholeheartedly support the move by the WCF to remove Russian teams from World Championship competitions and I am proud of the response of Curling Canada in the strong statement of support which it has issued.

As a rules- based organization, the WCF’s constitution (organizational rules) has been followed in the statement which follows – verbatim! (The Curling Canada Statement also follows verbatim!

For clarification – the WCF includes 65-70 members. The Constitution dictates that 10% of members must vote against – within three days – to defeat the rule proposed change. I would be disappointed if more than one votes against!!

WORLD CURLING FEDERATION STATEMENT: The World Curling Federation Board today adopted an emergency ruling following a legal consultation regarding the situation surrounding Russian athletes competing at World Championship events.
 
Using the powers available to the Board under the World Curling Constitution Article 16.13.5 (in full below), the World Curling Federation Board has inserted the following new rule into the Rules of Curling and Rules of Competition:
 
Rule C1(b) The Board of the WCF may remove a team or Member Association from any WCF event if in the sole opinion of the Board their presence at the event would damage the event or put the safety of the participants or the good order of the event at risk.
 
The remaining clauses within Rule C1 shall be renumbered to incorporate this rule addition.
 
This new regulation has been passed to the Member Associations of the World Curling Federation, who now have three days to voice their objections to its adoption.
 
Should there be no objections, then at the conclusion of the three day evaluation window, the World Curling Federation will then begin the process of removing the Russian Curling Federation entries from the upcoming World Championships.
 
The World Curling Federation strongly condemns the military action undertaken by the Russian Government in their invasion of Ukraine and continues to hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the situation.

CURLING CANADA STATEMENT: Curling Canada strongly endorses today’s announcement from the World Curling Federation of an initiative to remove Russian teams from upcoming world championship events, and we urge fellow Member Nations to join us in supporting this WCF announcement, as well as the recent announcement that the 2022 European Curling Championships will be moved from Perm, Russia.

The invasion of Ukraine, a democracy, and an important member of our World Curling Membership, must be met with swift and assertive sanctions that makes a strong statement of our collective values, our ethical stance, and, first and foremost, demonstrates concern for the safety and the freedoms of the people of Ukraine. 

We also urge the WCF to continue working toward addressing longstanding, serious concerns that we and other Member Nations have raised about the culture of sport in Russia. These concerns must be dealt with in order to ensure a level playing field for all athletes, and to remain true to the Spirit of Curling.

WCF Constitution Article 16.13.5…….. “when urgent, take decisions normally assumed by the General Assembly (as per Art.15) except election of Board Members, expulsion of a Member Association, changes to the Constitution and dissolution of the WCF. In addition in emergency situations between General Assemblies, the Board may propose changes to the Rules of Curling and the Rules of Competition. Any changes proposed by the Board in an emergency situation will be circulated to the Member Associations and if more than 10% of the Member Associations, holding full membership and being in good standing object in writing to the Board within 3 working days of notice being given, the rule change will not be implemented and the matter will be referred to the next General Assembly of the WCF. Otherwise the Board’s decision to revise the rule(s) for the emergency situation will stand until the next General Assembly”

CANADIAN SCOTTIES UNDERWAY TONIGHT

Team Einarson (Team Canada)
Photo Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver

Manitoba teams skipped by Kerri Einarson (Team Canada), Tracy Fleury (Wild Card #1), and Mackenzie Zacharias (Team Manitoba) are in Thunder Bay for the national Scotties Tournament of Hearts which begins play this evening. For at least the round-robin session, there will be no fans in the building as Curling Canada implements aggressive protocols to meet current health regulations.

Team Zacharias (Team Manitoba)
Photo Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver

Einarson and Zacharias are in the same pool of nine teams. They will not meet until the final round-robin draw on Thursday evening. Team Fleury will begin play with Selena Njegovan moving up to skip as Tracey Fleury misses the opening games due to a positive test and therefore starting the event in the Covid protocols.

Team Canada seeks to join Jennifer Jones and Vera Pezer as consecutive three-time champions and continue a chase to join Colleen Jones as the only consecutive four time champion.

Team Fleury and Team Zacharias are chasing their own form of Manitoba curling history. Since 1982 (40 years ago), when Scott Paper became the sponsor, only three Manitoba skips have won the Canadian Scotties championship. Connie Laliberte achieved legendary status. Jennifer Jones has already achieved legendary status and continues to write her story with her appearance in the next couple of weeks at the Olympics, and Kerri Einarson could begin to approach legendary status with her third consecutive win.

Zacharias, with her entire World Junior Champion team intact, and Fleury, ranked #1 in the world but with that disappointing final game loss in the Trials, would become just the fourth Manitoba skip to win a Canadian Scotties title. And it would be just the ninth Team Manitoba to win (Laliberte 1984, 1992 & 1995; Jones 2008, 2015 & 2018; Einarson 2020 & 2021) but Jones, of course, also won back-to-back as Team Canada in 2009 & 2010.

Team Fleury was seeded #1 while Einarson was #3 (behind #2 Laura Walker-Alberta) while Zacharias was ranked in the top third of the field at #6.

The draw for Team Einarson (Team Canada) is:

DRAW 2 (Saturday)1:00 PMOntario (Duncan)
DRAW 4 (Sunday)8:00 AMNova Scotia (Black)
DRAW 6 (Sunday)6:00 PMQuebec (St-Georges)
DRAW 8 (Monday)1:00 PMAlberta (Walker)
DRAW 10 (Tuesday)8:00 AMBritish Columbia (Arsenault)
DRAW 12 (Tuesday)6:00 PMYukon (Birnie)
DRAW 14 (Wednesday)1:00 PMNorthwest Territories (Galusha)
DRAW 18 (Thursday)6:00 PMManitoba (Zacharias)

The draw for Team Zacharias (Team Manitoba) is:

DRAW 2 (Saturday)1:00 PMBritish Columbia (Arsenault)
DRAW 6 (Sunday)6:00 PMYukon (Birnie)
DRAW 8 (Monday)1:00 PMOntario (Duncan)
DRAW 10 (Tuesday)8:00 AMNorthwest Territories (Galusha)
DRAW 12 (Tuesday)6:00 PMNova Scotia (Black)
DRAW 14 (Wednesday)1:00 PMQuebec (St-Georges)
DRAW 16 (Wednesday)8:00 AMAlberta (Walker)
DRAW 18 (Thursday)6:00 PMCanada (Einarson)

The draw for Team Fleury (Wild Card #1) is:

DRAW 1 (Friday)6:00 PMNew Brunswick (Crawford)
DRAW 3 (Saturday)6:00 PMSaskatchewan (Barker)
DRAW 5 (Sunday)1:00 PMPrince Edward Island (Birt)
DRAW 7 (Monday)8:00 AMWild Card #3 (Miskew)
DRAW 11 (Tuesday)1:00 PMWild Card #2 (Carey)
DRAW 13 (Wednesday)8:00 AMNewfoundland and Labrador (Hill)
DRAW 15 (Wednesday)6:00 PMNunavut (MacPhail)
DRAW 17 (Thursday1:00 PMNorthern Ontario (McCarville)

NEUFELD WINS SOUTHCENTRAL SUPERLEAGUE

Randy Neufeld continued his winning ways Saturday at Portage when he and his team (Dean Moxham, Devon Wiebe, Brett Moxham) won three games to win the South Central SuperLeague championship.

Neufeld beat Ryan Thomson in the final game, following earlier wins over Mike Zacharias and Dean North.

The Neufeld team had finished in a second place round robin tie, with a 5W – 2L record, in the pre-Christmas league play. Darryl Bachalo and Thomson were also at 5W – 2L, behind David Hamblin’s 6W – 1L record.

Neufeld’s team earned the $1,200 winning share of the $4,000 total league prize purse. Bachalo lost his opening game and dropped to the ‘consolation’ event, where a pair of wins earned his team $600 – the same amount as Thomson’s team picked up for their finalist finish.

LEAGUE ROUND-ROBIN STANDINGS

6-1 David Hamblin
5-2 Darryl Bachalo
5-2 Randy Neufeld
5-2 Ryan Thomson
3-4 Kyle McCannell
2-5 Dean North
2-5 Ryan Hyde
0-7 Mike Zacharias

HOMAN & MORRIS “PROUD & HONOURED”

“Excited to be going”, “grateful for the opportunity”, “proud & honoured to be named Team Canada” – Rachel Homan and John Morris echoed each other’s comments in today’s media availability shortly after the announcement was made that they would represent Canada in the Olympic Mixed Doubles competition in Beijing. They’ll leave Canada in 16 days and in the meantime will do their best to avoid the Omicron virus’s best efforts to derail the plan.

“Whether you’re Curling Canada or an athlete, it’s not how you want it to go down,” Morris said. “I wanted to play against Canada’s best to win it but unfortunately that couldn’t happen.”

“It’s the way it had to be done,” he said and he carefully avoided the question if being selected added extra pressure compared with winning the chance in head-to-head competition.

“Whenever you are Team Canada, regardless of how it happens, there is going to be pressure. I love the pressure – I want to play in it and so does Rachel.”

Homan and Morris have known each other for most of 30 years and when Mixed Doubles was launched in Canada, they began competing together. They have been very successful when they have had the chance to play together, winning some 30 events.

They did not compete in the 2017 Trials simply because Homan’s team had won the 4’s Trials and she was replaced by Kaitlyn Lawes. Lawes & Morris went on to win the Gold Medal in Pyeongchang.

While Homan’s team fell short of the medals in Korea, it must be remembered that she has succeeded at the international level in Asia – specifically in Beijing where she won the World Women’s in 2017. She will draw on both experiences in her return to the Olympics.

Coach Scott Pfeifer, speaking for Curling Canada made it clear that Homan-Morris were a logical choice noting that they have had a long and successful career together and that they both have very strong international and Olympic experience.

Morris & Homan will be on the ice in the next few days in a full training camp designed to get them ready for Beijing. Morris says it will be a different experience from the two previous Olympics where he won gold medals but he knows it will be a great experience. Clearly, they will go planning to soak it all in but also recognizing the need for dedication to best effort to bring back a medal.

While not providing details, Pfeifer says Curling Canada is putting in place contingency plans if it turns out, between now and departure day, that any member of any of the Canadian Olympic curling team contingent are unable to attend.

It was also made clear in the news conference that there will be discussion of timing before the next Olympic Trials process is defined. When this year’s Trials in Saskatoon and Portage were determined, the pandemic was still in the future. With the benefit of lessons learned, the potential for future wholesale cancellation has to be considered in both timing and the entire process.

Also for future discussion, the question of whether Canada’s 4-player team members should be excluded from Mixed Doubles.

“That’s how it is for this quadrennial,” Pfeifer said. “Curling Canada wants them to have full focus on the team game. If they play right to the Gold Medal game in Mixed Doubles, which we expect, it overlaps with the start of the teams’ competition. There is also the physical and mental toll. (For this quadrennial at least) we think it increases podium potential for all of the teams.”

That’s for next time, however. For this time, Rachel Homan and John Morris will be as prepared as they possibly can be when they play their first game at 7PM (CST), February 2 against Great Britain.