Jennifer Jones and her St. Vital Curling Club team which, with occasional personnel changes, has been a dominant force in Manitoba, Canadian and World curling from 2005 to the present, has been named Manitoba’s Most Notable Curling Team in Manitoba’s 150 year history.
Undertaken as a tribute to Manitoba’s curling legacy in the province’s 150th year, the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame & Museum (MCHoF&M) set out to publish a list of Manitoba’s most notable 150 teams, short-list them to 25 teams, and then rank those 25 Most Notable Teams.
Team Jones, whose signature accomplishment was an undefeated run to the 2014 Olympic Gold medal, was ranked #1 by an MCHoF&M committee of nearly 30 Manitoba curlers, curling media, volunteers and fans.
Ranked #2 is Don Duguid’s 1970 & 1971 team which won back-to-back Silver Brooms, going undefeated at two world championships with Kerry Burtnyk’s 1995-2001 team, the only Manitoba team to win a world championship at home in Manitoba, ranked #3.
The remainder of the Top 10 Most Notable Teams in Manitoba curling history are:
#4: Jeff Stoughton, 2011-2014 team – 2011 World Champions
#5: Gordon Hudson, 1928 & 1929 team – first team to win back-to-back Briers
#6: Connie Laliberte, 1984 team – first Manitoba team to win a Women’s World title
#7: Jeff Stoughton, 1999-2006 team – 1999 Brier Champion & World Silver Medalists
#8: Connie Laliberte, 1992-1995 team – 1992 & 1995 Canadian Champion, World Bronze & Silver Medalists
#9: Vic Peters, 1992-1997 team – 1992, 1993, & 1997 Manitoba Champ, ’92 Brier Champion and World Bronze Medalists
#10: Ken Watson, 1942-1947 team – winner of six consecutive MCA Bonspiel Grand Aggregates
“Ranking Team Jones #1 recognizes a decade and a half of excellence,” says Peter Nicholls, MCHoF&M President.
“When we identified the teams on our list of 150, we identified teams who had changed no more than one person year-to-year and whose major accomplishments were no more than five years apart. Team Jones has been remarkably stable, with only nine players in the line-up across 15 years and of course the Olympic medal goes along with almost annual championships at Association and Grand Slam competitions,” Nicholls explained.
Others on the list of nominees, notably Connie Laliberte and Jeff Stoughton, had success with two distinctly different teams and both are recognized in the Manitoba 25 Most Notable ranking.
The Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame & Museum’s “official” ranking, and parallel People’s Choice voting as a fund-raiser generated a much needed distraction from the daily Covid-19 news for Manitoba curling fans who became engaged in the project through social media and email promotion of their favorites.
The People’s Choice ranking, a friends-fans-family based ranking (and therefore completely unobjective), named Gordon Hudson’s 1928 and 1929 team as the #1 Most Notable Team with Kerri Einarson’s 2020 Canadian Scotties champions as #2.
“One of our objectives was to draw attention to some of the great teams from Manitoba’s early curling history and the fact the Hudson team from the 1920’s was our People’s Choice top team proves we accomplished that important objective as well,” Nicholls suggested.
Asked why the Hudson family had considered it important to provide visible support for the Gordon Hudson team in this project, Gordon Hudson, grandson of the legendary champion, said it was just the family’s competitive nature.
“This was a unique fundraiser for the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame and Museum, a tremendous cause to be involved in” Hudson said. “Curling occupied such a huge portion of Dad’s life, and obviously that of his Father too. I guess the competitive nature of The Hudson’s had to have The Hudson Team finish #1. I know Dad (Bruce) would have expected it!”
In normal times, Gordon says he is “the only Hudson left who still throws a rock or two”.
While the impact of Covid-19 and the closure of Manitoba curling clubs cannot be projected, as a fund-raiser the project has also been deemed a success. Over $8,350 was generated in People’s Choice voting-donations to support the efforts of the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame and Museum to celebrate and protect Manitoba’s curling heritage.
The complete ranking of the 25 Most Notable Teams is attached.
In addition to the committee’s 25 team nominees, curling fans were invited to name Wild Card teams who they felt should be included on the list or should otherwise be recognized. Ten teams were nominated through this process.
“We have to consider our fund-raiser a success,” says Nicholls. “The People’s Choice voting for the 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.
MANITOBA CURLING’S MOST NOTABLE TEAMS:
1: Jennifer Jones, St. Vital – 2005-2020…Olympic Gold Medal 2014 among many other accomplishments
2: Don Duguid, Granite – 1970 & 1971…back-to-back undefeated World Championships, 1970 MCA Bonspiel Grand Aggregate
3: Kerry Burtnyk, Assiniboine Memorial – 1995-2001… 1995 World Champions, 1998 MCA Bonspiel Grand Aggregate, 2001 Trials finalist
4: Jeff Stoughton, Charleswood – 2011-2014… 2011 World Champions and two more Manitoba championships
5: Gordon Hudson, Strathcona – 1928 & 1929… first back-to-back Brier Champions
6: Connie Laliberte, Fort Rouge – 1984… first Manitoba team to win Women’s Worlds
7: Jeff Stoughton, Charleswood – 1999-2006…1999 World Silver Medalist, multiple Grand Slam titles, 2005 Trials Finalist
8: Connie Laliberte, Fort Rouge – 1992-1995…World Bronze and Silver Medalists
9: Vic Peters, Granite – 1992-1997… 1992 Brier Champion & World Bronze Medalist, 1993 MCA Bonspiel Grand Aggregate winner
10: Ken Watson, Strathcona – 1942-1947… 6-time MCA Grand Aggregate winner
11: Terry Braunstein, Granite – 1958…High School team won Manitoba Men’s and lost Brier final
12: Orest Meleschuk, Fort Rouge – 1972… World champions gave Manitoba 3 Silver Broom wins in a row
13: Billy Walsh, Fort Rouge – 1952 & 1956…a pair of Brier titles in four years
14: Braden Calvert, Deer Lodge – 2014 & 2015… back-to-back Canadian Junior titles ad a World Gold Medal
15: Kelly MacKenzie, Deer Lodge – 1995… first Manitobans to win World Junior Women’s title
16: Chris Pidzarko, Rossmere – 1972-1974…three Manitoba Junior titles and two Canadians
17: Bob Ursel, Granite – 1983 & 1984…first Manitobans to win World Junior Men’s title
18: Howard Wood, Granite – 1925… first Manitoba Men’s champion
19: Kerri Einarson, Gimli – 2020…Canadian Scotties Champion, missed Worlds due to Covid
20: Lloyd Gunnlaugson, Valour Road – 1982-84… only back-to-back-to-back Canadian Senior Champions
21: Ernie Boushy, Heather – 1964-67…Four Manitoba Mixed titles and two Canadians
22: Mike McEwen, Fort Rouge – 2008-2018…dominated Manitoba Men’s curling for a decade
23: Ab Gowanlock, Glenboro – 1938…Only rural Manitoba team to win the Brier
24: Lily Clark, Portage – 1956 &1957…first women’s team to win back-to-back Manitoba titles
25: Joan Ingram, Fort Garry – 1967-73… three Manitoba women’s titles and a Canadian in six years