Monday, January 16, 2017
Monday, January 9, 2017
Mike Riley had a passion for curling, but it never fully consumed him. Mike reached his greatest success when he found balance in pursuing business and travel along with his curling aspirations. As a high school curler, Mike remembers anticipating Christmas more for the Winnipeg Junior Bonspiel than the presents under the tree. As a young skip, he recalls testing his mettle against the legendary Don Duguid rink in the early 70s, and gaining confidence from the experience. Don's teammates Rod Hunter and Bryan Wood later recruited Mike to play third and were rewarded with a Purple Heart in 1975. After being dropped from the squad, Mike was back to skipping, trying to build his own winning team. In 1983, he found the magic ingredients with lead Russ Wookey, second John Helston and Brian Toews at third. The veteran rink quickly jelled into a Manitoba and Canadian Champion, using a rarely seen strategy of drawing around corner guards without last rock. The Riley Rink stunned fans and media alike by defeating Ed Werenich and his Dream Team in the Labatt Brier finals. A return trip to the Brier in 1986 fell short, and following the 1988 Grand Aggregate Trophy in the 100th MCA (the World's Largest Bonspiel), Mike spent more winters sailing the Caribbean than driving to curling clubs. But in 1995 he was recruited by Jon Mead, Hugh McFadyen and Don Harvey and nearly skipped them to a Provincial victory.
Monday, January 2, 2017
Check out the latest episode of Curling Legends Podcast
Thursday, December 29, 2016
In Part 2 of my conversation with Warren Hansen, we'll dive deep into the Winter Olympics. Warren will share how curling came to be a demonstration sport in 1988 and the efforts involved to secure status as a full medal event in 1998. You might be surprised to hear how it was nearly dropped, because of a Canadian, and may have been saved by a Japanese billionaire. Warren will also address the controversy surrounding the Curling Trials for those Calgary Olympics and the clash with Ed Werenich. He'll return to the 1974 Silver Broom and explain how it shaped his future. Warren shares the challenges of putting a Brier in an NHL arena, creation of the Continental Cup and Mixed Doubles, the "Brier Boycott" era and his thoughts on the modern game.
Next Episode: Ed Lukowich
Monday, December 26, 2016
Monday, December 19, 2016
Errol Klinck, better known as "Colonel", started curling in Regina with his father. His grandfather, Ozzie Barkwell, skipped the team representing Western Canada at the first Brier, held in Toronto in 1927. After moving to Winnipeg, Colonel landed a sparing role, filling in for Bryan Wood and helping the Duguid rink capture the Birks Trophy (Main Event) in the 1971 MCA Bonspiel. Errol would skip his own team to the same title in 1974, winning a berth into the provincial Tankard and the Calcutta at the Assiniboine Memorial. The Klinck rink of 1985 had been together a few years, mostly competing in the A Group mens league at the Assiniboine. After escaping club playdowns, and managing to win a city zone berth, they were heading to the provincial Tankard in Dauphin, seeded last out of 32 teams in the double-knockout event. Surprising everyone (including themselves), they began the Saturday night A-Side final as the only undefeated team, with just two wins remaining to capture four Purple Hearts and a trip to the Brier.
Errol shares memories of that Tankard, grandpa Ozzie, and curling in Regina and Winnipeg. He talks about the Eaton Curling Club, reading ice at the Assiniboine, and reminisces on the teams he battled through the years.
For more stories of Winnipeg curling, check out Sean Grassie's "King of the Rings" and "Curling Capital: Winnipeg and the Roarin' Game, 1876 to 1988" by Morris Mott and John Allardyce.
Next Week: Warren Hansen
Monday, December 12, 2016
Neil Houston is now an Event Manager for Curling Canada. He has been instrumental in bringing the Brier to large NHL arenas and showcasing curling at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Over forty years ago, he teamed with second Glen Jackson, lead Kelly Stearne and skip Paul Gowsell to form perhaps the greatest junior team in history. The Gowsell squad stormed through the Canadian and World Juniors, while combating mens teams on the cashpiel circuit...and winning. To the older crew cut players of that era, the strange pants, long hair and beards were a small annoyance compared to their use of push brooms rather than corn.
Neil shares stories of the Gowsell rink and helps separate legend from fact. He also talks about his time on the Lukowich rink and how "Fast" Eddy went from playing second to skipping them to a Brier, Worlds and Olympic medal. We'll hear about 1997 when the CCA gambled by putting a Brier in the Calgary Saddledome, and contemplate the death of the hair broom in competitive curling.
Video from the 1976 World Junior Championships can be found at The Curling History Blog. You can read about the Gowsell and Lukowich rinks in Jean Sonmor's "Burned by the Rock" and "The Brier" by Bob Weeks.
Next Week: Errol "Colonel" Klinck