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Curling Legends Podcast

A weekly conversation with the players and storytellers who shaped Curling in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
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A weekly conversation with the players and storytellers of the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

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If you are a curler from years ago and want to share a story from your era, please email me at contact@curlinglegends.ca

Mar 20, 2017
Cathy King keeps on curling.  Growing up in Edmonton, she played many sports. Winter evenings included time spent around the dinner table discussing curling strategy with the whole family.  Older brothers Robb and Chris won the 1974 Canadian School Boys and when Cathy skipped her team to a successful National Junior Womens Championship in 1977, curling appeared to be near the top of her list.  After a repeat win in 1978, the only thing missing was a World Championship, but that wouldn't be available to Junior Women for another decade.  A few years out of juniors, Cathy got married, had kids, and life seemed to hold her back from reaching those previous levels of success.  She continued to practice and focus on the game however, and after knocking on the door a few times, Cathy finally won Alberta and reached the Scott Tournament of Hearts in 1995.  Expectations were low, but a hot streak that included 5 games in 27 hours led her squad from 2 tie-breakers to the brink of a Canadian Championship, losing in the last end of a 6-5 defeat at the hands of Manitoba's Connie Laliberte.  Cathy would return to the Scotties 6 more times, including a dramatic extra end victory over Ann Merklinger in the 1998 finals.  The World Championship would elude her that season, but she would return to the International stage as a Canadian Senior Champion and take the gold medal at the Worlds in 2013. Cathy shares stories from her early years as a junior, through the struggles and heartbreaks, including battles with vertigo, to her eventual success, and becoming the first skip to capture the Canadian Curling Triple Crown of a Junior, a Scotties (or Brier) and Senior Championship.  There are a few extra stories included after our talk as well.
 
You can read about Cathy in "Curling: The History, The Players, The Game" by Warren Hansen, and "The Stone Age" by Vera Pezer.  In our conversation, Cathy talks about her father Gord, and here's a link to an Edmonton Journal article by Jeff Holubitsky for more information about his incredible story.
Mar 13, 2017
Don Duguid was curling before the Allies took Berlin.  In 1943, at 8 years old, Don and brothers Gerry and Lorne would throw rocks at the CPR Curling Club where their father was the ice-maker.  Initially Don fell out of the hack with two feet, but eventually his father helped him develop the original Manitoba tuck delivery that is still seen today.  His parents moved him to the Granite curling club and at twenty he was recruited by Howard Wood Sr, then 70 years young.  There was a Brier appearance with Howie Wood Jr. in 1957 and a win with Terry Braunstein in 1965, but by the late 60s Don was ready to spend more time at the office.  Then Rod Hunter called and asked Duguie to skip him, Jim Pettapiece and Bryan Wood and within 18 months the squad would capture two Canadian and World Championships.  Don will share experiences from his playing days and curling schools through to his time as an announcer with the CBC (and later NBC Sports).  We'll also get Don's take on the modern era and speculate where curling might be headed in the future.
 
You can find more on Don Duguid in "The Brier" by Bob Weeks and Sean Grassie's "King of the Rings".  Watch him on YouTube at the 1971 Brier , and you can also hear his coverage in many curling broadcasts from 1972 until the Olympics in 2010.  You can also see Don in a ceremony from years ago in this Duguid Team Speech.
Mar 6, 2017
Jack MacDuff is a true Maritimer.  He now lives in New Brunswick, was born in Nova Scotia but is perhaps best known for his short stay in Newfoundland during the 1970's when he skipped the first and (so far) only Brier winning team from that province.  Growing up in Lunenburg, NS, Jack would finish playing hockey, then swap his skates for Ken Watson curling boots and cross over to the rink to throw rocks until days end.  In those practice sessions, he would play 12 end games against the Richardsons.  Years later, as the driver for Team MacDuff at the 1976 Brier in Regina, Sam Richardson helped provide confidence for Jack and his squad as they accomplished the impossible for Newfoundland & Labrador, winning the Canadian Men's Curling Championship.  Jack will share stories from his early experiences, his first Brier appearance in 1972, and a game by game account of that legendary victory in 1976, along with the week long party that followed.
 
For more on Jack MacDuff, check out  "The Brier" by Bob Weeks and "The First Fifty" by Doug Maxwell & Friends.  Video is available from Jack's recent appearance at the opening weekend of the 2017 Brier in Newfoundland and from the archives, coverage from the 1972 Macdonald Brier and a brief clip from the historic victory in 1976.
 
Mar 1, 2017
Don Barcome always loved to curl.  He was introduced to the game after his family moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota in the mid-60's.  By the age of 11 he was playing with mens teams in the local club league, and by 13 he was skipping against Orest Meleschuk in the fourth event final of the Hibbing Last Chance Bonspiel.  His first taste of International competition came in 1976 when his team of brother Earl and Gary Mueller at front end, along with Gary's brother Dale, traveled to Scotland for the Uniroyal World Junior Championship. They fell just short of a playoff sport, in an event eventually won by the Paul Gowsell rink from Canada. In 1977 Team Barcome returned as USA Champions, this time losing out in the semifinals.  Don shared a finger gesture with the rowdy Quebec City fans during their game against Team Canada, but he still walked away with the award for sportsmanship. With the Mueller brothers graduated out of juniors, Don and Earl teamed with Bobby Stalker at second and Randy Darling at third to finally win gold at the World Championships in 1979.  Don covers those experiences and also shares thoughts on being fifth man for Tim Somerville at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.  We discuss the decline of USA curling in the past and its resurgence in recent years, and Don gives his thoughts on the modern game.
 
You can read about Don's thoughts on the Olympics and his battle with cancer from the Grand Forks Herald and catch his appearance as a "curling expert" in this 2002 Office Depot commercial.  For more on USA Curling, check out Curling Superiority by John M. Gidley.
Feb 21, 2017
Ron Northcott was Alberta curling in the 1960s.  From 1963 to 1969, Ron (AKA "The Owl") won the Alberta Tankard six times, five as a skip.  He went on to win the Macdonald Brier in three of those appearances, ('66,'68 and '69) following each with a victory at the World Championship, including the first ever Air Canada Silver Broom in 1968.  Those Brier championship rinks each had a different third (George Fink, Jimmy Shields and Dave Gerlach), but the dominant front end of lead Fred Storey and second Bernie Sparkes were there to set up every end and sweep every last rock.  Ron will share his thoughts on some of those great final shots, along with his approach to strategy and early use of the corner guard.  We'll discuss Pee Wee Pickering, Hec Gervais, Ray Kingsmith, Warren Hansen, and Sam Richardson, in likely the greatest Curling Legends example of gamesmanship... in an elevator.
 
For more on Ron Northcott, check out  "The Brier" by Bob Weeks, "Curling: The History, The Players, The Game" by Warren Hansen, and "The Stone Age" by Vera Pezer.  Curling Canada has historical videos from the 1964, 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969 Macdonald Briers available on YouTube.  Ron is joined on stage by the Richardsons during the World Mens Curling Championship in 2009 (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4).  There's also a short interview with Ron as part of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame
Feb 13, 2017
Dan Carey didn't think he was too competitive.  Growing up in Winnipeg, he could gauge his drive against older brother Bill, and everything seemed fine. After his hockey aspirations were thwarted by a broken arm, and having seen Bill win a Brier as third for Barry Fry, Dan decided that curling might be the path to feed his hunger for competition.  Following a decade of near misses, Dan re-teamed with Vic Peters in 1991.  Joined by long time playing partner Don Rudd at lead and Vic's teammate Chris Neufeld at second, the Peters Rink stumbled early in the season, but eventually won Manitoba and found themselves in the Labatt Brier final against Russ Howard of Ontario.  Dan shares his thoughts on that game and the strange and unscrupulous happenings from one year later at the 1993 Brier.  He'll explain why the Peters rink often felt labeled as a "black hat" team, and who appeared to wear the white hats. We'll do a deep dive on the 1997 Brier final against Kevin Martin.  Played in the Calgary Saddledome, in front of perhaps the largest crowd in history, the bizarre see-saw game was unlike any before or since.
 
For more on the 1992 and '93 Briers, check out "The Brier" by Bob Weeks.  You can also find more stories of Winnipeg curling in 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 Episode: Ron Northcott
Feb 6, 2017
Vera Pezer has always had a mind for curling.  From her early days in Meskanaw, SK, tossing stones on a two sheeter at the age of 6, Vera developed a lifelong passion for the roaring game.  In our conversation, we cover her development at the University of Saskatchewan where she honed her curling skills and her studies, eventually blending the two as part of her PhD in Sports Psychology.  Vera won 4 Canadian Championships as Team Saskatchewan.  First as third for Joyce McKee in 1969, then skipping Sheila Rowan, Joyce, and Lenore Morrison to three consecutive national victories from 1971 to 1973. Vera then stepped back from curling, but eventually found herself working with the CCA, providing a focus on the mental aspects of the game. After the 1992 Winter Olympics, career again pulled her away from the game, but her passions remained and she directed this energy into writing a book "The Stone Age: A Social History of Curling on the Prairies", published in 2003.  She followed up with "Smart Curling: Perfect Your Game Through Mental Training" in 2007.  
 
Vera tells stories from across her curling career including the Canadian Championships (CLCA and Macdonald Lassies), the 1988 Olympic Trials, and shares her thoughts on the modern game.  You'll also hear about her clash with Orest in curling's original "Battle of the Sexes" in 1972.
 
In addition to her own books, you can find out more about Vera Pezer in "Tales of a Curling Hack" by Doug Maxwell, "Curling: The History, The Players, The Game" by Warren Hansen, and "Some outstanding women: they made Saskatoon a better community".
 
Next Episode: Dan Carey
Feb 2, 2017
In Part 2 of my conversation with Matt Baldwin, we'll cover the 1958 Brier in Victoria, where Alberta landed in a playoff against a young Braunstein rink from Manitoba.  Matt will share the disappointment of perhaps his best rink, when in 1960 he teamed with Hector Gervais, and didn't reach the Brier.  You'll hear about Hector, Garnett Campbell, Ernie Richardson, and Matt's confrontation with Paul Gowsell in the finals of the Vernon Carspiel.  Matt tells stories from the 1971 "Blizzard" Brier in Quebec City and explains how to throw a party at the Chateau Frontenac.  And you'll find out why Matt is the original "Hot Shot" of one-on-one curling.
 
Next Episode: Vera Pezer
Jan 30, 2017
Matt Baldwin begins with a story about Gordie Howe's sister in small town Saskatchewan.  From there we head to Saskatoon and then Edmonton, where he (eventually) graduates with a degree in a new program for petroleum engineering. Matt's curling begins during wartime, develops through university, and in the winter of 1954 he's able to convince a local rival to join forces in playdowns with hopes of reaching the first ever Edmonton Brier.  At 27, Matt became the youngest Brier winning skip (a title now held by Kerry Burtnyk).  He returned to the Brier in 1956, but the long train ride to Moncton, and frequent visits to the Beaver Club, may have hindered his chances.  
 
In Part 1, Matt shares thoughts on the early days, explains his famous long slide in the 1954 Brier and reveals tales from the 1956 and '57 Macdonald Briers.
 
For more on Matt Baldwin check out:  "The Brier" by Bob Weeks, "Curling: The History, The Players, The Game" by Warren Hansen, and "The Stone Age" by Vera Pezer.   Curling Canada has historical videos from the 1954, 1956, 1957 and 1958 Macdonald Briers available on YouTube.
Jan 23, 2017
Paul Gowsell had irrational confidence from an early age.  While other junior curlers were learning the game by challenging their peers, Gowsell was taking cash and cars from the best teams in the world.  When Neil Houston and Glen Jackson graduated from Team Gowsell's junior ranks after their Uniroyal World Championship in 1976, they continued as part of Paul's bonspiel team, even while he and lead Kelly Stearne picked up John Ferguson and Doug McFarlane to win the '77 Canadian Juniors and '78 Worlds.  These Gowsell rinks became infamous for their long hair, beards and crazy pants, but also for ushering in the hair broom era and initiating the rapid end to the corn broom.  Paul shares stories from those junior championships and traveling in his van to cashspiels across Western Canada. You'll hear about the party at the Van Winkle hotel, the brushing controversy in Scotland, Revenue Canada's attempts to tax curling, dealing with the RCMP and tips on how to beat corn broom teams.  
 
You can find more on Paul Gowsell in "The Curling Book" by Ed Lukowich, with Rick Folk and Paul Gowsell, Jean Sonmor's "Burned by the Rock" and "The Brier" by Bob Weeks.  Video from the 1976 World Junior Championships can be found at The Curling History Blog.  
 
Next Episode: Matt Baldwin
Jan 16, 2017
Rod Hunter now resides in Viking, Alberta, made famous for a local family with six brothers who all played in the NHL.  Rod, AKA "The Arrow", found his curling fame in Manitoba, where he qualified for the Brier 4 times from 1970 to 1975, winning twice as vice for Don Duguid.  That same Duguid rink also captured back-to-back Air Canada Silver Broom World Championships in 1970 and '71, going undefeated in 17 straight games.  Rod will share his experiences from those events, the near misses in other seasons, explain why he originally changed from a tuck slide to flat foot and reveal the origins of the Bauer curling shoe.  You'll hear how that Duguid championship run nearly never happened, the reason they stopped at their peak, and how they reunited for the 100th MCA (World's Largest) Bonspiel in 1988.  After our talk, the microphone kept running and we captured a few extra stories at the end of the show, including Rod's memories of Warren Hansen, Ken Watson, the Richardsons, the other trophy awarded at the Silver Broom, "Soupy" Campbell and a great version of the "Orest meets Ernie" story from 1963.
 
You can find more on Rod Hunter in "The Brier" by Bob Weeks and Sean Grassie's "King of the Rings".  Watch him on YouTube at the 1971 Brier , the 1973 Brier, and from a ceremony from years ago in Duguid Team Speech.
 
Next Episode: Paul Gowsell
Jan 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. 

Jean Sonmor's "Burned by the Rock" has a great chapter on Mike Riley and more about Mike and the history of the World's Biggest Bonspiel can be found in Sean Grassie's "King of the Rings". 
 
Next Episode: Rod Hunter

 

Jan 2, 2017
Ed Lukowich has been there in Curling.  "Fast" Eddy has been central to some of the greatest shifts in the history of the game.  He learned to curl in Speers, Saskatchewan, back while the sliding rules were being shaped.  Four decades later he won the Moncton 100, the no-hit bonspiel that ushered in the Free Guard Zone era.  From the Richardsons to Kevin Martin, he's battled Legends from every living generation.  In 1973, with a chance to join a young Paul Savage, Ed may have been one of the first players to move across country solely for a curling opportunity.  You might be surprised to hear who Ed nearly replaced on that Ontario squad (rhymes with wrench).  In 1978, Ed took advantage of new rules that allowed a Calgary player to team with his Medicine Hat rink, and with Mike Chernoff captured the Macdonald Brier in Vancouver. They also won the event with horsehair push brooms, a first, and with Mike calling the game while Eddy threw fourth stones, something not commonly seen back then.  1988 saw Ed become the first ever mens skip to represent Canada in an Olympics, when curling was a demonstration sport at the Calgary Winter games.  Controversy over provincial residence has often been an issue in past seasons, and Ed was embroiled in it in the early 90s when second Rick Vallette shifted his playdown efforts from Saskatchewan to join Lukowich in Alberta, and also during the Merv Bodnarchuk era in BC.  Ed's efforts hatched a professional curling league which eventually became the World Curling Tour and he later became one of the early Canadians to assist a foreign nation in curling, becoming an advisor to USA during the early part of the new century.
 
In its day, Ed's book "The Curling Book" started many youngsters on the path to the roaring game.  He now writes Science Fiction and you can find out more at http://www.trillionist.com/.  Ed's Curling Tips Video bring you back the 1980s and for a read on Merv Bodnarchuk, check out "Merv Curls Lead".  You can also watch Eddy in the 2016 Canadian Masters final.  No surprise, "The Brier" by Bob Weeks and Jean Sonmor's "Burned by the Rock" are essential reading for more on "Fast" Eddy Lukowich.
 
Next Episode: Mike Riley
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