Fans of ten different teams responded to the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame & Museum’s invitation to nominate Wild Card teams for recognition in the MCHoF&M Most Notable Teams fund-raiser.
The teams include a pair of Manitoba World Junior medalists; a pair of Brandon’s elite senior women’s teams; a dominant men’s team from the 1940’s; three Manitoba Curling Clubs champions teams; a strong Junior Men’s team from the early 2000’s who won a main event in the MCA Bonspiel; and a rural Brier team rep who won a southwest Manitoba community’s only Manitoba title.
Over $1,400 was donated in recognition of the ten teams as their friends, family, and fans used the MCHoF&M’s fund-raiser as a way to salute teams with special accomplishment in Manitoba curling.
Mert Thompsett’s 1979-82 junior team was the top fund-raiser in the Wild Card group followed by Andrew Wickman’s Fort Rouge 3-time provincial Club Champions and Tracy Andries national Club Champions, also from Fort Rouge.
The World Junior Medallists:
- Mert Thompsett and his Assiniboine Memorial team (Lyle Derry, Joel Gagne, Mike Friesen) became the first Manitoba team to compete at a World Junior championship when they won the Canadian Juniors in 1979 and a Silver Medal at the World Juniors in 1980. With Bill McTavish Jr. replacing Derry, they won Canada again in 1981 and brought home another Silver Medal from the World Juniors in 1982.
- In 2016, Matt Dunstone made it four Canadian Junior titles in a row for Manitoba teams with Colton Lott, Kyle Doering and Rob Gordon. They earned a Bronze Medal at the World Juniors.
The Brandon Senior Women:
- The first Canadian championship ever won by a team wearing the colours of a Brandon club was the 1983 Canadian Senior Women’s title earned by Mabel Mitchell, Mary Adams, Mildred Murray and June Clark. They repeated as Manitoba champions in 1984 and 1987.
- Lois Fowler, Maureen Bonar, Cathy Gauthier, and Allyson Stewart earned Manitoba’s first World Senior Gold Medal. They won the Manitoba and Canadian Seniors in 2014 and the Worlds in 2015.
The Brier Champion:
- Jimmy Welsh (with Alex Welsh, Jock Reid, Harry Monk) went undefeated to win the 1947 Brier, a full decade after Welsh, Reid, and Monk had lost the Brier final with Fred Smith playing third. Between 1937 and 1954, Jimmy Welsh teams played in seven Manitoba finals and won three MCA Bonspiel Grand Aggregates.
The Club Champions:
- Andrew Wickman’s Fort Rouge team has won three Manitoba Club Champions titles, including the 2020 event in Melita – the last event played before the shut-down last spring.
Wickman, Jeff Tarko and Cam Barth have been on all three winners with Mark Blanchard (2016), Brent Baschuck (2018) and Craig Strand (2020) as their seconds.
- Stacey Fordyce and her Brandon team (Christy Erickson, Stacey Irwin, Pam Gouldie) won the Canadian Curling Clubs Championship in 2013 and 2017.
- Tracy Andries and her Fort Rouge team (Crystal Kennedy, Diane Christensen, April Klassen) won the Canadian Curling Clubs Championship in 2016.
The Junior MCA Main Event Winner:
- Adam Norget (Andrew Irving, Jordan Bauldic, Geoff Lang) won one of the two MCA bonspiel main events, the Safeway Lucerne event, in 2005. They made three appearances in the provincial juniors (2003-05-06) and won Junior Men’s bonspiel events in 2004 and 2005 to go along with winning the 2002 Competitive 16 & Under event – the same year they represented Manitoba at the Canada Winter Games.
The Rural Brier Rep:
- On the walls of Manitoba’s most recently built curling rink hangs the Manitoba championship banner of Duane Edwards, Kelly McMechan, Don Williams, and Jack Edwards. Deloraine’s only Manitoba title winners won the 1990 Tankard, posting a 5W-1L record in the event played in the old Winnipeg Arena.
“We have to consider our fund-raiser a success,” says Nicholls. “The People’s Choice voting for the Gordon Hudson team generated over $1,400 and the collective donations for the ten Wild Card nominees was also over $1,400 out of a total of over $8,350.00”
The funds raised will be split between the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame & Museum’s operating fund, dedicated in part to development of a Virtual Museum, and the MCHoF&M’s Foundation invested with the Winnipeg Foundation, to provide long-term funding support.
The portion invested in the Foundation is eligible for matching funds from the Manitoba Heritage Trust. For every two dollars invested, the Heritage Trust will add one dollar.
Following is the ranking of the ten Wild Card teams – ranked strictly by the donations made in their honour.
1: Mert Thompsett (Assiniboine Memorial) – two time World Junior Silver Medalist
2: Andrew Wickman (Fort Rouge) – three time Manitoba Curling Club Champions winner
3: Tracey Andries (Fort Rouge) – Canadian Curling Club Champions winner
T4: Mabel Mitchell (Brandon) – 1983 Canadian Senior Champion
T4: Lois Fowler (Brandon) – 2015 World Senior Champion
6: Adam Norget (Pembina) – 2005 MCA ‘Spiel Safeway Event winner
7: Duane Edwards (Deloraine) – 1990 Manitoba Men’s Champion
8: Matt Dunstone (Granite) – 2015 World Junior Bronze Medalist
9: Stacey Fordyce (Brandon) – two time Canadian Curling Club Champions winner
10: Jimmy Welsh (Deer Lodge) – 1947 Brier Champion