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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

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

 

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