“My Curling Dad”…

Growing up… I remember my Dad and Mom being avid curlers! Both are now in their 90’s and Dad is still a very dedicated fan. He now watches all of the events from the comfort of his home instead of the rink.

He enjoyed over 70 years as a curler. I was always so proud to tell everyone that my Dad represented Northern Ontario in the 1956 MacDonald’s Brier Tankard held in Moncton New Brunswick.

For my parents 60th anniversary present, we treated them to tickets for the 2007 Tim Hortons Brier in Hamilton Ontario.

However, I believe the highlight of this curling story is the night my brother and I took my Dad to the Women’s 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts held in St. Catharines, Ontario as a 90th birthday gift.

They acknowledged “Bill Hudgins” on the rink’s giant teletron for his achievements in the sport. This special recognition made him feel proud and happy, it made the birthday event even more meaningful. We are so proud of him and all he has been able to do over the years, in particular, maintaining his passion for the sport and his commitment to cheering on his fellow champions.

Dad’s achievements in the sport included:
– he curled in over 52 clubs in his 70+ years in the sport.
– his team were the only 3 time winners of the Southern Ontario, Banana Belt Bonspiel.
– he has curled across Ontario in both Southern and Northern rinks

Reflections shared by his daughter, Lynda Desmarais (72 years old), his son Reece Hudgins (65 years old)

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The way to spend a February long weekend in Manitoba.

Best way to spend this February long weekend? Meet up with friends, some who have curled last week and some who haven’t curled in 20 years. Make up a foursome team. Travel to rural Manitoba to a two sheet natural ice curling rink in Carroll, MB!

Some who need to travel 15 minutes and some who need to travel 3 hours. And curl our hearts out. And this rink is in a small town unfamiliar to any of us. Feel welcomed by the locals, enjoy a rink burger, and have a bundle of laughs and curl.

THAT is the way to spend a February long weekend in Manitoba.

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Bye-bye hockey!

In 2017, I decided to try curling after going on field trips the year before with my school to Bally Haly Golf and Curling Club.

I was also playing all-star hockey again that year too. I started hockey at age four following in my older brothers footsteps (Noah is currently playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey league with the Drummondville Voltigeurs). Even though I always liked hockey, I started to develop the same love and passion for curling as my brother did for hockey.

On April 18, 2017, I played my last game of hockey in the provincial tournament. I was hanging up my skates and the following season just wanted to concentrate on curling. The next day on April 19, 2017, I was invited as a junior curler to help out at the Team Gushue celebration at Bally Haly. They had just won the 2017 Brier on home ice at Mile One in St. John’s the month before.

That night my Mom and I met CBC Curling reporter Devin Heroux who was at the celebration also. My Mom follows him on twitter as he is a great promoter of curling. We had a big chat with him and I told him I gave up hockey the day before for curling. He told me that Brad Gushue did the same.

Later that night Devin Heroux gave a speech at the celebration gala and he told the audience how he met a junior curler who did the same as Brad. Traded in hockey for curling. That was me. I found this out the next day in a tweet to my Mom.

He also told the crowd maybe this is the next Gushue for the province in years to come. I am only 15 years old and still curling with hopes of maybe someday accomplishing some of the things Team Gushue has. Starting with the U16 and U18 provincials coming up soon.

The sport of curling is a great sport. It’s something I believe I will be doing forever. I am also very lucky to have Mark Nichols as a neighbor and was very lucky to interview him for a school project (Wax Museum) just before the 2017 Brier.

He gave me one of his curling jerseys and I got a picture with him after one of the games that year at Mile One. As junior curlers in St. John’s we are pretty lucky to have these great role models and guys who have had a great impact on Canadian curling and sport in general. We can learn so much from them both on and off the ice!!

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Every Family Day weekend is our Curling Day in Canada

Never thought about curling until I watched it in the Olympics. Always wanted to try but never made an effort and honestly, I was afraid to try.

When our friends daughter passed away from cancer, they started a curling fundraiser event in her name through the Gillie Beans FUNd, to help raise funds for children’s cancer through Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.

It’s now a yearly event every Family Day weekend. It’s still a very hard sport to play but one of the absolute funniest.

Every Family Day weekend is our Curling Day in Canada thanks to the Gillie Beans FUNd.

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Curling is 100% a part of our journey as a couple

When I met my husband we had discovered that we both loved curling. We ended up curling together in a mixed league shortly after meeting and have been curling together since.

When we got married, we took our wedding photos at the Granite Curling club in Winnipeg. The Granite was the first club in the city and is known as the ‘mother club’. Another interesting fact is my husband’s grandfather used to be the head chef there. When we announced the upcoming birth of our first child we did so with little baby curling shoes from Asham’s.

Both my husband and I have grown up in curling clubs. We both have such wonderful memories running around the club, watching our parents curl.

Curling is 100% a part of our journey as a couple. It was the first thing that brought us together; it strengthened our bond when we were dating, and was celebrated when we were married and having kids. We both love the sport and will keep the tradition going to the next generation.

 

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Married at our curling club!

My wife and I got married at our curling club, Cataraqui Golf and Curling Club in Kingston, Ontario.

During the cocktail hour after the ceremony, we were joined by our wedding party to play a celebratory end out on the ice. Unforgettable and unique experience!

 

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javex jug curling

Every year for the past 6 years (this year being year 7 which is being held on February 22nd), my wife and I host our annual javex jug curling spiel on the rink that I have made in our yard.

We have an average of 48 participants which makes for a 24 team spiel with 2 people per team. The game itself is played like shuffleboard. We play 8 ends or the first team to reach 16 points. The points are the same as shuffleboard.

We have a pile of fun no matter the weather. Winners and runners up in each event also receive a trophy and a prize with the first event winners receiving a large trophy with their names on it. The ice surface is 30 feet wide and 8 feet long which allows us to play two games at a time.

I must say in the six years there has only been one repeat winner. Thanks for letting me share our story. ( I tried to include some photos but couldn’t get it to work)

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The home of Al Hackner

I moved to Thunder Bay in 1980 not knowing anyone but one sister and her family. I came from a very small town in Northern Ontario that housed about 400 people.

I had watched curling on television most of my life and thought that the home of Al Hackner would be a sport take up and meet new people.

The first year I put my name on a spare list as this particular league had no openings. It ended out that I curled just about every week that winter and the next year luckily an opening came open. It didn’t take long that I understood the rules and as time went on my skills improved.

Through this choice I got to meet the greatest people who became my personal friends for 20 years. We loved the game so much that we also joined the Kakebeka Falls Curling Club as well as a club in Thunder Bay.

The more we curled the more people we met and all of a sudden we saw ourselves going out of town for bonspiels in many out of town clubs as well as some in the USA.

If it had not been for curling I am not sure how long it would have taken us to meet people and would never have found the love of a great Canadian winter sport.

 

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Live Long, Curl Longer and Prosper!

Hi There! I am the mother of 2 young men and when they were in school I gladly dedicated my life to coaching, managing and driving their sports teams to events. I loved every minute of it and am so thankful they had the opportunity to participate in sports and learn what it means to be on a team.

After they graduated from high school there was a giant void in my life! No practices, no games and no tournaments for me to be involved with! Then I discovered the wonderful world of televised curling! I absolutely love watching our Canadian curling stars on TV and try to attend the major events when they are near. But my husband did not think that was enough and he was right.

He curls in the Men’s League in Vulcan and tried for years to get me involved in actual on the ice curling and not just participating in curling from my easy chair. A couple of years ago I agreed to try curling again, after many decades of not curling, and even though my knees complain and I love it.

We teamed up with a young couple new to our community (our Mixed Team is shown in my submitted picture at the Vulcan Curling Club) and have even won a game. The curling is fun but I now have a social life! The after game refreshments and visiting are a wonderful addition to my life. I was a severe homebody and curling is helping me to be more social and get to know my fellow community members better. It has helped my physical and even more importantly, my mental health.

Thank you curling! Live Long, Curl Longer and Prosper! Joanne Vulcan, Alberta

 

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