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2015 Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

Wednesday Feb 11 2015

The Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame Inductees for 2015 were introduced at a news event Wednesday, February 11. They include (pictured l-r) Tom Clasper, Team Jennifer Jones-represented by Jill Officer & Janet Arnott, Arnold Asham, Lorne Hamblin and Wheelchair curler Dennis Thiessen - currently in Finland at the World Championship.

DENNIS THIESSEN-CURLER: A multiple Canadian and international curling gold medallist, Dennis Thiessen has been a member of Manitoba’s Championship wheelchair teams from 2005-2014. He is a three time Canadian Bronze Medallist (from 2008 – 2010) and gold medallist in 2011 and 2014. He was a member of the World Wheelchair champion team in 2013 and of the 2014 Paralympic Gold Medal team at Sochi in 2014. Once again, a member of Team Canada – Dennis is competing this week at the World Championship in Finland.

TOM CLASPER-BUILDER: One of longest established, most successful, and perhaps most important – one of the most respected curling coaches in Manitoba and Canada, Tom Clasper has been coaching curling for 33 years – and in that time he has been recognized several times with Coaching Excellence Awards at the National level and at the provincial level. This includes this year when he was chosen by the other coaches at the Canadian Championship to receive the Asham National Coaching Award and at the Manitoba Canola Juniors to receive the Asham provincial Coaching Award. Over the years, Tom Clasper has coached many different teams into provincial championships – he has helped them win provincial titles. He coached Connie Laliberte’s 1994 and 1995 National Scotties champions – Alex Forrest’s 2010 Canadian Junior Men’s champions – and the 2014 & 2015 Canadian Junior Men’s champion Braden Calvert team. He is a Past President of the Fort Rouge Curling Club and a Level 3 Certified Coach.

LORNE HAMBLIN-BUILDER: A man of extraordinary energy when it comes to promoting and marketing the sport of curling. He is a Past-President and Executive Committee member of his hometown curling club – who just this year has been working at bringing people back into the Morris Curling Club through a series of 8-week curling leagues which have introduced curling to a significant number of people and families and re-introduced the sport to many more who have been unable or unwilling to give the time required to our sport under the traditional model of season long commitment. Organizationally, Lorne Hamblin has gone full circle. He was President of the Manitoba Curling  Association in 2004-2005. That year, with a very innovative ‘think outside the box’ inaugural speech, he challenged the Association directors to break the mold of doing things the way they had always been done in favour of new ideas and new concepts. One of them was the Curling Academy concept which made curling a part of curriculum in schools in Manitoba and other parts of Canada. He has been a driving force, and the primary salesman, in the establishment of the DEKALB SuperSpiel in Morris – one of the premier curling events in Manitoba. And along the way, he has also found time for coaching. The first recognition of that coaching prowess came when Lorne & Chris Hamblin coached the 2002 World Junior Champions – the last Junior Men’s title won by a Manitoba team. From that grew opportunities to successfully coach the Swiss National Men’s team at the 2010 Olympics – and the Chinese Men’s team at the worlds prior to 2014 when they qualified for the Sochi Olympics. And most recently, in addition to the Morris Curling Club and DEKALB SuperSpiel responsibilities, coaching the Canadian Deaf Curling Champions as they prepare for their world event in Russia later this year.

ARNOLD ASHAM-BUILDER: A genuine ‘up from the boot-straps’ business success story. From his 1977 start applying the famous RED BRICK SLIDER to curling shoes – working at his kitchen table – Arnold Asham built the curling world’s most dominant curling equipment enterprise. From the start of Asham Curling Supplies in the late 1970’s, Arnold has used the success of his business to allow him to make contributions to the sport of curling world wide. Competitive curlers of all ages and both genders have benefitted from Arnold’s generosity in sponsoring equipment and clothing. And it hasn’t been just the elite curlers who have benefitted – curlers and curling events of all levels have been able to rely on the sponsorship of Asham Curling Supplies. Outside the business, Arnold Asham was a driving force behind the formation of the World Curling Players Association and the world curling tou At the CCA level, he has been the sponsor of the Business of Curling Program and Symposium, of the National Coaching Award,  and of the National Volunteer of the Year Award. At the CurlManitoba level, he has been a long time sponsor of the MCA Bonspiel – and when presented the concept of the Manitoba Open and specifically the HalfSpiel, Asham Curling Supplies came on board as the sponsor of the HalfSpiel. Arnold Asham has long been recognized as an innovator, a marketer and promoter of our sport – as well as being a good curler in his own right. He is already an Honourary Life Member of the Russian Curling Federation in recognition of his efforts to establish curling in that country.

TEAM JENNIFER JONES: Often there are two and occasionally three team inductees into the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame each year. The fact that this year there is only one inductee team is testimony to the fact that our team`s accomplishment is a truly unique accomplishment in the sport of curling. Team Jennifer Jones – Jennifer, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer, Dawn McEwen, 5th Kristen Wall – and their Coach Janet Arnott set not just the curling world – but the entire sports world - on fire with their remarkable undefeated run through the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. The team has a list of accomplishments as long as your curling brush – but it is for this singular achievement that Team Jones was the 2014 Manitoba Team of the Year, that their Gold medal win was acknowledged by the Manitoba Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association as the Impact Sports News event of 2014, And that Team Jennifer Jones – Jennifer-Kaitlyn-Jill – Dawn – Kristen – and Coach Janet are the 2015 Team Inductee into the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame.


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